No. 11 Tennessee (10-0) never trailed as they upset No. 2 Texas (7-1) by a score of 82-75 in Thompson-Boling Arena on Sunday afternoon. Senior forward Jaimie Nared led the Vols with 23 points and 13 rebounds. With the win, the Lady Vols are off to their best start since the 2013-14 season.
Evina Westbrook and senior Mercedes Russell paired with Nared to carry Tennessee past the Longhorns with a combined 53 points. The Lady Vols snapped a three-game losing streak in the historic rivalry with Texas on Sunday.
“Tennessee looked like a hungry team, a team that wanted to win this game really bad on their home court,” said Longhorns head coach Karen Aston. “We ran into a team that was very anxious to get a win today.”
Nared sealed the game with 42 seconds left when freshman Anastasia Hayes missed her second free throw attempt and grabbed the rebound off Hayes’ miss and drew a foul. She then made a pair of free throws to put the nail in the coffin. The physical matchup resulted in two technical fouls, three players fouling out and two players suffering an injury.
The game got off to a slow start for a matchup starring two of the highest scoring teams in the nation. The first points of the game did not come until over two minutes into the game, where freshman Rennia Davis knocked down a pair of free throws. Tennessee got off to a quick 10-point lead early in the first quarter as the Longhorns missed 13 of their first 14 shots from the field. However, Texas recovered and closed the gap, trailing just 16-11 going into the second quarter.
Tennessee went up 24-15 in the second quarter. However, the lead was squandered once again when the Longhorns nearly tied it for the first time in the game heading into halftime. A jumper at the buzzer from Texas freshman Jada Underwood made it a 29-27 at the break. The sloppy first half included a combined 14 turnovers by both teams, as they were both shooting just 30-percent from the field.
Texas tied the game for the first time early in the third quarter, but that was as close as they would come. Westbrook would knock down the first 3-pointer of the game to spoil Texas’ chances at taking the lead. The two teams were a combined 0-17 from beyond the arc before Westbrook’s make. This sparked a 7-0 run as the Lady Vols led the Longhorns 48-44 through three quarters.
The script flipped in the fourth quarter, as a shoot-out ensued. While both teams shot around 30-percent in the first three quarters, they both shot over 50 percent from the field in the final quarter. The Lady Vols shot an impressive 75 percent from the field, as Tennessee finished on an 8-2 scoring run to complete the upset over Texas.
“I think this is one of the toughest teams I have been with as a head coach,” Warlick said. “It’s a statement win for our kids, they’re young, and to beat Texas is big for us.”
Warlick and Tennessee will face three ranked teams in their next four contests. The first game of the loaded stretch of games comes at Long Beach State next Sunday.
Edited by Ben McKee
Feature image courtesy of UT Sports