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Starksville, MS –Tennessee earned one of the biggest wins of the Holly Warlick era on Sunday, defeating #3/2 Mississippi State, 82-64, at Humphrey Coliseum.
Jordan Reynolds also had a productive game, tying her career high in points with 17 to go along with eight rebounds and three assists.
Victoria Vivians led the Bulldogs (27-3, 13-3 SEC) with 18 points.
Tennessee’s defense came ready to play out of the gate, holding the Bulldogs to 19 percent shooting and more than a four-minute scoring drought in the first quarter. Nared got off to a quick start on the offensive end of the court, posting nine points to lead UT to an 18-8 advantage at the end of the period.
Tennessee Lady Volunteers Head Coach Holly Warlick during the game between #3/2 Mississippi State and the Tennessee Lady Volunteers. The Lady Vols won 82-64. (Craig Bisacre/Tennessee Athletics)
The Lady Vols kept the pressure on in the second stanza, improving their lead to 16 points going into halftime, 36-20. Tennessee found success beyond the arc, draining four threes in the quarter. Reynolds dropped 10 points in the period to provide a spark on offense.
The third stanza was an offensive battle, as both teams shot over 70 percent from the field. Nared had nine points in the quarter. UT entered the fourth period with a 60-46 lead.
The Lady Vols closed out strong, shooting 50 percent in the final quarter to hand Mississippi State its first home loss of the season in front of a sellout crowd of 10,500.
The win over MSU was Tennessee’s fourth this season over a top-10 team and first against a top-3 squad. The UT program had not enjoyed a victory over a top-3 team since defeating #3/2 Stanford at home on Dec. 19, 2010, 82-72, in overtime. The Lady Vols had not won a game against a top-3 opponent on the road since a #2/2 UT squad took down #1/1 Duke on Jan. 24, 2004, 72-69.
Silencing The Crowd
Jaime Nared and Diamond DeShields posted huge games for the Lady Vols, combining for 50 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists. In front of a rowdy sellout crowd, those two stayed composed and continued to get the ball in the basket at pivotal moments of the game. Nared’s 30 points marked a career high for her and helped Tennessee hand the Bulldogs their first loss at home this season.
Jaime Nared, Jordan Reynolds and Mercedes Russell all played the entire game against Mississippi State. Each of the players had dominant performances on both ends of the floor to lead UT to the win. UT now has had 22 players compete in the entire game this season. Nared now has nine complete games, while Reynolds has five and Russell has two.
UT Lady Vols head to SEC Tournament
Tennessee will head to Greenville, SC, next to compete in the SEC Tournament. The Lady Vols, who are the #5 seed, will face the winner of the #12 Alabama and #13 Vanderbilt in the second round on Thursday in the second game of the day at approximately 1:00pm CT.