KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — This time, Alyssia Brewer delivered with Kelley Cain sidelined by another injury.
Brewer scored a career-high 23 points, Glory Johnson had 16 points and 12 rebounds and No. 6 Tennessee beat George Washington 93-53 on Tuesday night.
Cain missed much of the Lady Volunteers’ loss to Ball State in the opening round of the NCAA tournament last season after she hurt her knee. Brewer struggled in that one as Tennessee slipped to its worst postseason finish in history.
Cain suffered a concussion Saturday against UCLA, leaving the Lady Vols’ without their starting center against the Colonials. But Brewer finished with a strong effort, helping Tennessee (6-0) dominate inside.
“Last year it was the same scenario against Ball State, and I didn’t step up like I needed to,” Brewer said. “It’s all in my hands if I carry it over or not. I plan on doing that, but I need to stay consistent.”
Brewer got an earful from coach Pat Summitt regularly during practice last season as Tennessee struggled and was pushed hard during the team’s physical offseason conditioning program.
“I think she needed this game,” Johnson said. “Just watching her struggle in practice—sometimes she’ll do good things in practice, but she’ll dwell on the negatives.”
Johnson had a double-double by halftime and rested for much of the second half when Brewer took over. Shekinna Stricklen had 17 points.
“If we can rely on that, along with Kelley and Glory and Taber (Spani) doing some good things in the mix, I feel better about our post game,” Summitt said.
Tennessee led 54-24 at the break and finished with 54 points in the paint.
Kay-Kay Allums led George Washington (2-4) with 16 points. Tiana Myers and Megan Nipe both had 11.
The Colonials dropped to 0-10 against Tennessee, but Allums thought it was a good experience for her team.
“I love playing against the best. To be the best, you’ve got to beat them,” she said.
Like Tennessee, George Washington has been forced to deal with injuries early in the season. The Colonials lost starting point guard Danni Jackson on Friday when she broke her left leg in a 78-47 loss to Michigan State.
“They lose a player, they replace her with another high school All-American,” coach Mike Bozeman said. “I’m proud of the class that my young group came in here and played with.”