Tennessee (24-6, 11-5 SEC) lost its star senior Jaime Nared to an apparent hip injury in the fourth quarter of its contest against Auburn (14-15, 5-11 SEC) in Nashville on Thursday. However, the Lady Vols advanced to the third round of the SEC Tournament when freshman forward Rennia Davis banked in a dagger 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds remaining in the game.
Although they lost the All-SEC forward, the No.12 ranked Tennessee finished off Auburn 64-61 and will advance to play the No. 2 seed Gamecocks on Friday at 7 p.m. ET.
Nared tried to return to the game with five minutes remaining, but she clocked out for the night with 4:36 left in the game. She led the team in scoring with with a total of 17 points. Davis, the hero of the game for the Volunteers, logged 16 points and five rebounds.
Janiah McKay led No. 10 seed Auburn on Thursday night with 24 points, while her teammate Daisa Alexander stayed close behind with 16 points. Alexander knotted the game up at 61 with 11.2 seconds to go when she stole a Tennessee inbound pass and took it to the rack for a bucket.
While Tennessee chalked up a whopping 24 turnovers on the night, it still cashed in from the charity stripe. The Lady Vols were 20-of-24 from the free throw line on the night while the Tigers were shot just 4-of-5 from the line.
While Anastasia Hayes and Cheridene Green were the only players off the bench for the orange-and-white tonight, head coach Holly Warlick knew Hayes would the player to create the last shot.
“We wanted to get (Hayes) to the basket because she had been doing so well,” Warlick said. “She attacked and it closed in, she kicked out to (Davis) and she let it fly… I hope she called glass.”
Davis was a perfect 2-of-2 on the night from beyond-the-arc and was the anchor for Tennessee when Nared went out. She created shots all night long and when the big moment came, the freshman cashed in.
“I’m just happy the shot went in,” Davis said. “We had a lot of turnovers, as we did (the first matchup against Auburn), I’m just glad we were able to come out with the win.”
Davis knew when Nared went down that somebody had to step up for the Lady Vols, and when Warlick called her name, she was there to answer.
“I’m just glad I was able to beat that person for my teammates,” Davis said. “I understand that (Tennessee) lost last year in the first round, we didn’t want to do that again, so I’m just happy.”
Edited by Seth Raborn
Featured image courtesy of Tennessee Athletics