Davis Ties Career High, Fuels No. 10 Lady Vols’ 75-66 Victory Over Ole Miss

Freshman forward Rennia Davis tied her career high with 18 points and senior forward Jaime Nared recorded her eighth double-double of the season to lead the 10th-ranked Tennessee women’s basketball team to a 75-66 victory over Ole Miss on Thursday night at Thompson-Boling Arena.

The Lady Vols ended a two-game skid by holding the Rebels to just 37 percent shooting and finishing the game with a 20-4 edge in fastbreak points.

Nared’s 15-point, 10-board double-double was the 17th of her career, while Davis matched her season-best scoring output from the Alabama State game on Dec. 3.

Freshman guard Anastasia Hayes came off the bench to score 16 points, including a pair of fourth-quarter three-pointers that helped the Lady Vols pull away from the Rebels.

Redshirt senior center Mercedes Russell added 13 points and freshman guard Evina Westbrook dished five assists, as Tennessee improved to 17-3 overall and 5-2 in the Southeastern Conference.

Ole Miss dropped to 11-9 overall and 1-6 in the SEC despite a career-high 31 points and seven three-pointers from junior guard Madinah Muhammad.

Muhammad’s 22 points and six three-pointers in the first half kept the Rebels in the game after Tennessee scorched the nets for 30 points in the first quarter to tie the school record for points in quarter in an SEC game.

Ole Miss tied the game 49-49 at the 2:54 mark in the third quarter after junior guard Alissa Alston (19 points) converted back-to-back layups.

Tennessee answered with a 14-2 run sparked by Hayes, however. The rookie reserve point guard found Davis for a layup to put UT in front, 55-49, with one minute remaining in the third quarter. Tennessee took a 57-51 lead into the fourth quarter when Davis made another layup after Russell dished out of a double team.

The Lady Vols stormed past the Rebels for good early in the fourth quarter when Hayes made a three-pointer from the corner to make the score 60-51 with 9:10 left in the contest.

Nared’s three-point play 30 seconds later extended the Orange and White lead to 12, 63-51.

Hayes drilled another triple with just over three minutes left in the contest to give UT a 71-55 lead.

The Lady Vols started the game red hot, making 67 percent of their shots in the first quarter en route to a 30-20 lead.

Davis had nine points in the opening frame, while Russell made all four of her field goal attempts as Tennessee converted 12 of 18 shots in the first quarter.

Tennessee led by as many 15 the first quarter, 30-15, after Hayes stole the ball and made a layup with just under a minute to go.

Ole Miss closed the gap to two behind a 14-0 run to close the first half. Muhammad made four consecutive three-pointers in the final five minutes of the second quarter as UT took a 40-38 lead into halftime.

The Rebels threatened in the third quarter, but never took the lead.

After Ole Miss pulled within 1 on a Shelby Gibson three-pointer, Russell responded with a turnaround jumper to put Tennessee ahead, 44-41.

When Alston tied the game 49-49, Westbrook drew a foul on the other end and split the free throws before the play-making of Hayes and Davis put the game out of reach.

Next Up: The Lady Vols embark on a stretch of three road games in their next four contests with a Sunday matinee at LSU. Tip-off at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center against the Lady Tigers is set for 12:02 p.m. CT (1:02 ET). SEC Network will have the telecast.

A Potent Offense: Tennessee scored 30 points in the first quarter against Ole Miss, tying the most the Lady Vols have ever scored in any quarter against an SEC opponent. It marks the seventh time this season UT has scored 30+ points in a period. Over the course of the previous two seasons, the Lady Vols scored 30+ points in only five quarters.

Points in the Paint: UT outscored Ole Miss in the paint 42 to 34, making this the 15th time this season the Lady Vols have scored more points in the paint than their opponent. On the season, Tennessee has totaled 838 points in the paint compared to 630 by opponents.

Russell With The Hot Hand: Russell opened the game 5-of-5 and went on to shoot over 54 percent from the floor, knocking down 6 of her 11 attempts for 13 points. Over the last six games she’s 48-of-72 for a field goal percentage of .667. On the year, she’s shooting .646, up from .562 during the 2016-17 season.

Points Off The Bench: Tennessee’s bench combined for 24 points compared to just 10 points scored by Ole Miss’ bench. In SEC play, UT’s bench has outscored its opponents in five of seven games thus far (Mississippi State, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt and Kentucky).

10 Million Fans: Tonight’s attendance of 9,016 brought the total number of fans to attend a Lady Vol basketball game (home and away) to 10,000,786 since attendance began being officially recorded in 1978.

Angie Cox Article Lower 650 Ad 2016

Source: University of Tennessee Athletics