Knoxville, TN – No.12/13 Tennessee came alive on offense, with six players scoring in double-digits as the Lady Vols beat Alabama State, 104-51, Sunday afternoon in front of a crowd of 8,004 at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Tennessee (8-0) relied on offense in the paint and winning the turnover battle convincingly to produce the team’s best offensive showing since scoring 110 versus Troy last year. Senior center Mercedes Russell led the charge vs. Alabama State (1-7), scoring 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the floor. She now is hitting 69.3 percent (61-of-88) for the season.
UT Lady Vols senior Mercedes Russell scored 22 points and had 6 rebounds in win over Alabama State Sunday. (Tennessee Athletics)
Junior guard Meme Jackson fired in 19, coming up a point shy of her career best. Freshman forward Rennia Davis filled the stat sheet with 18 points, nine rebounds, and five assists.
Senior forward Jaime Nared and freshmen guards Anastasia Hayes and Evina Westbrook also hit double figures, contributing 14,13 and 11 points, respectively. Redshirt junior forward Cheridene Green grabbed 10 boards, continuing her strong interior play.
Tennessee relied on suffocating defense to get its offense going at a breakneck pace in the first quarter. A quick steal and score by Westbrook helped get Tennessee off to a 12-0 start. All seven Lady Vols that played during the quarter scored on the way to an impressive 30-12 lead.
The Tennessee offensive explosion continued in the second stanza of the game, as Russell completely took over, scoring 16 of UT’s 31 points. The Lady Vols outscored Alabama State 36-10 in the paint and had zero turnovers to the Hornets’ 14 at the half, taking full advantage of a clear advantage in team length and athleticism. The teams entered the half with the Lady Vols in command, 61-26.
The offense didn’t match the pace in the second half, but the Lady Vols still came away with a satisfying 104-51 win. The 53-point triumph stands as the largest victory margin of the season.
For Alabama State, Mya Milner and Courtney Lee were able to find offensive success despite a pressuring defense from Tennessee, scoring 17 and 15 points, respectively.
Dominating The First
Tennessee’s 30 first-quarter points against Alabama State tied for the fourth most points ever scored in any quarter by a Lady Vols team. UT bettered that in the second frame, scoring 31 to improve the fourth-best all-time total. Through eight games UT has outscored opponents in the first quarter 182-99.
All five of Tennessee’s starters scored at least one basket by the 7:12 mark, and the Lady Vols finished with six players in double figures. Every player who entered the game for UT scored at least two points.
A Tale of Turnovers
The Lady Vols didn’t have a single turnover in the first half while forcing 14 Alabama State turnovers. Tennessee converted those ASU miscues into 25 points. On the game, UT had only four turnovers while forcing 23. Four turnovers is the fewest managed by any Lady Vols team in recorded history.
Up Next for Tennessee Lady Vols
The Lady Vols play the third game of a four-game home stand with a match-up versus Troy on Wednesday. Tip-off is set for 7:00pm and the contest will be available for streaming online via SECN+.
SectionsAssociations, Basketball (Women), Colleges, Featured Story, NCAA, Southeastern Conference, Sports, University of Tennessee
TopicsAlabama State, Anastasia Hayes, Cheridene Green, Evina Westbrook, Jaime Nared, Knoxville TN, Lady Vols, MeMe Jackson, Mercedes Russell, Rennia Davis, SEC, Southeastern Conference, Tennessee, Tennessee Lady Vols, Thompson-Boling Arena, Troy, UT, UT Basketball, UT Lady Vols, UT Women's Basketball