No. 11 Tennessee scored the third-most points in school history on Wednesday night to beat Troy 131-69. Seven different Lady Vols reached double figures in scoring in front of the Thompson-Boling Arena crowd.
“I thought everybody contributed and did some really nice things for each other which led to an outstanding performance of our team,” Lady Vols head coach Holly Warlick said following the game.
The Lady Vols (9-0) jumped out to a quick 12-0 lead for the second straight game as they built an 18-7 lead at the media timeout in the first quarter. Behind 14 first quarter points from Jaime Nared, Tennessee led Troy 34-15 at the end of the first frame. Nared was 5-for-7 from the floor while Mercedes Russell added nine points on 3-of-3 shooting.
Nared would go on to finish with a season-high 27 points after scoring 20 in the first half. On the night, the senior forward was 10-of-14 from the floor and 3-of-4 from deep.
“I thought Jaime set the tone for us,” Warlick said. “She just had an outstanding game.”
Nared credit’s the team’s mentality for their early season success and the reason the team has clicked so well.
“We have a different mentality this year,” Nared said. “Everybody wants to get better. Nobody is stagnant with the fact that we’re 9-0 now. Everybody wants to get better.”
After a strong second quarter performance, the Lady Vols led Troy 61-30 at halftime after closing out the half on a 9-2 run. At the half, all nine active Lady Vols had scored and the team grabbed 31 rebounds on their way to 73 for the game, third-most for a single game in program history.
It was much of the same in the second half for Tennessee as they shot 63 percent from the field on its way to 70 second half points. They would reach the 100-point mark with 1:16 remaining in the third quarter. At the 6:19 mark of the fourth quarter, the Lady Vols led by 73.
Tennessee scored 54 baskets on the night and assisted on 38 of them, ranking second most in program history. The Lady Vols shot 91 shots on the night – the fourth most shots the Lady Vols have taken in school history – due to Troy’s (4-2) fast-paced offense.
In their second straight game with at least 100 points, the Lady Vols freshmen phenomes shined once again. Evina Westbrook tallied 12 assists on the evening, while fellow freshman guard Anastasia Hayes scored 12 points and totaled a career-high in assists (9) and rebounds (7).
Freshman forward Rennia Davis would add 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting. Davis would haul in 10 rebounds to tally yet another double-double. Center Kasiyahna Kushkituah scored six points and grabbed five rebounds.
While the freshman shined, so did Tennessee’s veterans. Senior forward Kortney Dunbar was 7-of-10 shooting on her way to 17 points as she hauled in eight rebounds. Junior’s Meme Jackson and Cheridene Green both added 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Tennessee now turns its attention to Texas (7-0), who is ranked second in the country.
“Now, we know Texas is a different beast,” Warlick said. “They can’t be ranked number two in the country without being outstanding, and we understand that. It’s going to be a great challenge for us and something that I think our kids are looking forward to.”
The Lady Vols and Longhorns will square off in Thompson-Boling Arena at 3 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.
“It will be a great challenge for us,” Warlick said. “We were talking about it in the locker room; we’re excited for the challenge.”
Edited by Seth Raborn
Feature image courtesy of UT Sports