July 22, 2024

Lady Vols advance to their 28th elite eight apperance

The Tennessee Lady Vols advance to the program’s 28th elite-eight appearance after dominating Ohio State, 78-62. They will take on the No. 4 seed Syracuse Orange on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

SIOUX FALLS, SD - MARCH 25, 2016 - Mercedes Russell #21 of the Tennessee Lady Volunteers during the Sweet 16 game in the NCAA tournament between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Tennessee Lady Volunteers in Sioux Falls, SD. Photo By Donald Page/Tennessee Athletics

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The Tennessee Lady Vols will advance to the elite eight after defeating Ohio State 78-62 at the Denny Sanford Premier Center Friday night.

The No. 7 seed Lady Vols ( 22-13) continued their hot streak, having won six of their last seven games, and advance to the program’s 28th elite eight appearance. Although Ohio State (26-8) had a successful season, they struggled down the stretch, finishing the season losing four of its last seven games.

Mercedes Russell dominated the court with a career-high 25 points and 15 rebounds, surpassing her previous record of 20 points against Central Arkansas on Nov. 15, and tying her rebound record. Russell also recorded her 11th double-double of the season, tying Mary Ostrowski for the third most double-doubles by a sophomore in a single season.  

Russell wasn’t the only Lady Vol to have a career night. For the fourth time in her career, Diamond DeShields recorded seven assists, while Jamie Nared collected a career-high 11 rebounds. 

Te’a Cooper, Bashaara Graves, and DeShields all scored double figures, combing for 39 points overall. Ameryst Alson led Ohio State in scoring with 21 points.

Tennessee dominated the Buckeyes for the majority of the game, leading for 38 minutes and building as much as a 22-point lead late in the contest. The Lady Vols shot 50 percent from the field and held Ohio State’s highly-efficient offense to 37 percent from the floor.

During her career-best effort, Russell scored 10 of Tennessee’s first 12 points and snagged four early rebounds. Graves added eight points in the opening 10 minutes, giving Tennessee 18 of its 23 first-quarter points from its inside players.

Although the Buckeyes trailed the Lady Vols for the majority of the game, Ohio State was able reduce Tennessee’s lead to seven after a 5-0 run in the third quarter. Tennessee responded with a 15-6 run over the following six minutes, entering the fourth quarter with a 62-46 advantage. 

Head coach Holly Warlick has now led Tennessee to three elite eight appearances in her four seasons with the Lady Vols. Tennessee will face No. 4 seed Syracuse ( 28-7) in a rematch of its 57-55 early-season victory over the Orange on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. Syracuse advanced to the program’s first-ever Elite Eight after upsetting the No.1seed South Carolina on Friday evening. 

Featured image by Donald Page, courtesy of Tennessee Athletics

Edited by David Bradford