Something about Georgia Tech brings out the best in Bashaara Graves.
Tennessee’s sophomore forward had a career night at the Yellow Jackets’ expense Sunday, tying her career high for points (23) and setting a new personal standard for rebounds (18). She led and Tennessee followed to an 87-76 women’s basketball victory before a crowd of 10,364 at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Graves had 18 points and 12 rebounds against Tech last season.
The opponent and setting also inspired a strong showing from Kaela Davis. Georgia Tech’s freshman forward scored a game-high 28 points. Her 3-pointer pulled the Yellow Jackets within 63-58 with 10:54 left. But she scored just three points thereafter.
Graves scored two early baskets with power moves to the rim, setting the scoring tone for No. 4 Tennessee (4-0).
One way or another, the Lady Vols were getting the majority of their early points from close range. Isabelle Harrison, for example, turned an early miss by Meighan Simmons into a 3-point play.
Freshman Jordan Reynolds fed classmate Mercedes Russell for a pair of layups. Andraya Carter later soared above a foul lane crowd to snag an offensive rebound and fed Russell for another easy basket.
Overall, Tennessee scored 22 points from the foul lane in the first half and had a 15-9 edge in second-chance. Along with Graves, Harrison had 10 rebounds.
The output was enough for Tennessee to lead by as many as 18 points. But it wasn’t enough to shake free from Georgia Tech (2-1).
Tech’s Davis scored 12 of her points in the first half. With her twin brother, UT men’s player A.J., cheering for her from an end zone seat, she scored the last basket of the half, pulling Tech within 44-35.
Whiteside came to Davis’ assistance with 11 first-half points. She scored seven from the free throw line.