#12 Lady Vols Defeat #14 A&M, 82-67

Senior Jaime Nared scored 23 points and No. 12/13 Tennessee allowed just eight points in the fourth quarter in an 82-67 win over No. 14/12 Texas A&M on Thursday night at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Five players reached double figures for the Lady Vols (18-4, 6-3 SEC), who returned to the win column after dropping three of their previous four matchups. Mercedes Russell recorded 18 points and 13 rebounds to earn her 40th career double-double, while Anastasia Hayes netted 16 points, Rennia Davis scored 11 and Meme Jackson added 10.

UT showed a strong defensive effort in the second half, forcing 12 A&M turnovers and yielding no field goals over the final 3:21 of the game.

Chennedy Carter scored 25 points for the Aggies (17-7, 6-3 SEC), while Jasmine Lumpkin added 22 points and seven boards as the two teams split their regular-season series.

After A&M converted a layup to grab a 59-57 edge at the end of the third quarter, the Lady Vols answered with an 8-2 run to reclaim the lead early in the fourth period. Tennessee shot 8-for-12 over the final 10 minutes, including back-to-back 3-pointers in the closing moments which put the game away.

The opening quarter featured efficient offensive play, with both teams shooting 52 percent from the field. Lumpkin netted 12 points in the period for A&M, while Nared and Davis scored seven apiece to lead UT to a two-point advantage at the end of the frame.

The scoring did not cease during the second quarter, as two players from each team reached the 10-point mark. Lumpkin continued to perform for the Aggies on the offensive end and finished the half with 22 points on 10-of-11 shooting. After a largely back-and-forth half that included 22 lead changes, the Lady Vols closed out the final minute with a 7-0 run to take a 45-41 lead into the intermission. Nared paced Tennessee at the half with 13 points.

Both squads upped the defensive intensity in the third period, with UT forcing six A&M turnovers and the Aggies holding the Lady Vols to 12 points. After each team went through scoring droughts for two-plus minute stretches, a Danni Williams layup broke the deadlock and gave the Aggies a two-point edge going into the fourth period.

Tennessee used a balanced effort on both ends of the floor throughout the fourth quarter to pull away from A&M. After taking a four-point lead by way of an early 8-2 run, UT locked in defensively and held the Aggies scoreless for a stretch that lasted 3:49. The Lady Vols were able to gain some separation at the free throw line, going 7-for-8 from the charity stripe in the quarter. With under two minutes remaining, a Hayes 3-pointer from the corner gave UT its first double-digit lead of the night.

Up Next: The Lady Vols travel to Vanderbilt on Sunday, playing at 2 p.m. ET (1 p.m. CT) on ESPNU.

Big Quarters: Tennessee’s 25 fourth-quarter points are the most Texas A&M has given up in any quarter to an SEC opponent this season. Prior to tonight, the greatest number of points the Aggies had conceded in any single quarter to an SEC team was 21 against both Auburn and Georgia, making UT’s 23 first-quarter points the second-most they’d allowed. Conversely, the Lady Vols held TAMU to only eight points in the fourth quarter, their lowest quarter total of the season.

Big Game Nared: Senior Jaime Nared scored 23 points on the night, putting her at eight 20+ points this season and 17 in her career. Of her eight 20+ games in the 2017-18 season, five have come against ranked teams.

Good Company: With 18 points and 13 rebounds against Texas A&M, Mercedes Russell joins Chamique Holdsclaw (57) and Candace Parker (45) as the only Lady Vols with 40 or more double-doubles. Tonight’s effort was her 10th of the season, ranking her sixth all-time among UT seniors.

Westbrook Dishing: Evina Westbrook has logged 13 assists over the course of the last two games and is averaging 5.0 assists per game on the season. That average ranks No. 1 all-time by a UT freshman.

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Source: University of Tennessee Athletic Department

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