- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 2, 2015

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee coach Holly Warlick voiced her displeasure during a second-quarter timeout then didn’t say a word the rest of the game.

As Warlick remained silent, the Lady Vols’ performance spoke volumes.

Diamond DeShields moved into Tennessee’s starting lineup and had 31 points, eight rebounds, five assists and a career-high seven steals Wednesday night as the eighth-ranked Lady Volunteers won 85-49 over East Tennessee State.

Tennessee (6-1) trailed midway through the second quarter. The Lady Vols’ inability to put ETSU away early frustrated Lady Vols coach Holly Warlick enough that her comments during a timeout could be heard from press row, located behind a basket on the opposite end of the floor. Sophomore center Mercedes Russell said she’d never seen her coach so angry.

Warlick didn’t talk the rest of the game and let her assistants handle any instructions during timeouts and halftime.

“I’m not going to coach effort,” Warlick said. “The first two quarters, our fans deserve more. Our former Lady Vols deserve more. … We’ve got to play like the house is on fire. I’m not going to stand on the sidelines and watch us not have any emotion, so I sat down. Good, bad, but I’m not coaching it. So as I feel sometimes they take a couple of games off, I took the second half off.”

Warlick’s lecture to her team occurred with Tennessee leading 20-19. The Lady Vols outscored ETSU 65-30 the rest of the way.

“Not having her voice made us really want to dig down and do it for her because we understand that we upset her,” DeShields said. “You know, if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”

In DeShields’ first start as a Lady Vol, the North Carolina transfer had her third career game of 30-plus points. Te’a Cooper added 23 points and Russell had 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Shamauria Bridges scored 21 points for ETSU (3-5), which lost its third straight.

Tennessee put this game away with its defense. The Lady Vols had 22 steals, their highest single-game total since a November 2012 victory over Alcorn State. Tennessee forced 35 turnovers and outscored the Bucs 56-8 in the paint and 44-9 in points off turnovers.

ETSU coach Brittney Ezell drew a football parallel while describing Tennessee’s defensive dominance.

“I graduated from the University of Alabama, and I told them this must have been how LSU felt when they couldn’t get across midfield,” Ezell said in an apparent reference to Alabama’s victory over LSU in the BCS championship game that capped the 2011 season. “That’s how I felt. I wanted to call timeout and ask our team to punt.”

TIP-INS

East Tennessee State: Reserve guard Mendy McNeese got hurt midway through the second quarter and had her lower left leg heavily wrapped as she sat on the bench throughout the second half. Ezell said after the game that McNeese had a sprained ankle.

Tennessee: The Lady Vols have won their last 44 home games against unranked foes. Tennessee’s last home loss to an unranked team was a 72-71 overtime decision against Arkansas on Feb. 23, 2012.

LINEUP CHANGE

Tennessee shuffled its lineup after a 64-53 loss to No. 6 Texas on Sunday that ended the Lady Vols’ 27-game home winning streak. Tennessee was ranked fourth and Texas eighth at the time of their matchup.

DeShields and Andraya Carter assumed starting roles. Cooper came off the bench after starting Tennessee’s first six games. Jasmine Jones, who started against Texas, didn’t play Wednesday after getting into a head-to-head collision with Cooper in the Texas game.

BRUISED BUCS

Bridges’ 21-point performance was particularly noteworthy because of her health situation. Ezell said Bridges had missed the last couple of days of practice with a high ankle sprain and was feeling ill Wednesday night.

“Imagine what she could do when she feels good,” Ezell quipped.

ETSU also played the entire game without injured point guard Tianna Tarter, who is recovering from a concussion.

UP NEXT

East Tennessee State: at Vanderbilt on Saturday.

Tennessee: hosts Virginia Tech on Sunday.

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