Nared leads Lady Vols in fourth quarter dominance over Vandy
NASHVILLE (UT Athletics) — Seniors Mercedes Russell and Jaime Nared combined for 50 points to lead #12/13 Tennessee (19-4, 7-3 SEC) to a hard-fought 74-64 victory on the road at Vanderbilt (6-18, 2-8 SEC).
Russell logged her 41st career double-double and 11th this season, scoring 20 points while reeling in 11 rebounds. Additionally, she recorded a career-high four steals.
Nared, a finalist for the Cheryl Miller Award, tallied her ninth double-double of the season and 18th of her career, pouring in 16 points and grabbing five rebounds in the final five minutes of the game. She tied her career high of 30 points and grab a team-high 14 rebounds on the day. She connected on 15 of 17 free throw attempts, tying for the fourth-most ever by a Lady
Vanderbilt was led in scoring by freshman Chelsie Hall who had 19 points, six rebounds and five assists.
A finalist for the Lisa Leslie Award, Russell scored Tennessee’s first six points to help propel UT to a 10-5 lead with 3:53 remaining in the first quarter. Vanderbilt went on a 6-0 run following the media break to take a one-point lead off two free throws by Cierra Walker before Nared answered, knocking down a three-pointer to put the lead back at 13-11 at the end of the first stanza.
Russell opened the second quarter with a short jumper to help move the Lady Vols out to a 17-13 lead before Vandy rallied, cutting the lead to 19-18 on a Chelsie Hall trey with 4:40 to go. On the next possession, Nared converted on a three-point play to kick off an 11-8 run to give UT a 30-26 lead at the half.
Hall again nailed a three to cut the lead to one in the opening minutes of the second half for the Commodores, before Meme Jackson answered with a steal and a layup for Tennessee. Vanderbilt rallied, taking its largest lead of the game at 39-36 following the media timeout off a Walker jumper. A Rennia Davis three tied the game at 41 all with 1:16 to go in the quarter. Anastasia Hayes followed it up with a layup to send UT into the final stanza with a 43-41 lead.
Vandy was first to score in the fourth, knotting the game at 43 via a Hall layup. The two teams traded buckets until an Evina Westbrook layup set off an 8-1 run that put Tennessee up 56-50 with 3:27 to go in the game. Bell knocked down a jumper to cut the lead to five with 1:44 to go, but a quick 6-0 run put the score at 64-53 with 1:22 to play and the Lady Vols rode out a 74-64 victory.
Next Up: Tennessee travels to Arkansas on Thursday, tipping off at 8 p.m.(7 CT) on SECN+.
Crunch Time Jaime Nared: With Tennessee holding just a one-point lead with 4:43 to play, Jaime Nared poured in 16 points and grabbed five rebounds in the closing minutes out the game for Tennessee. She was 10 of 10 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter alone. Her 30 points and 14 rebounds move her to nine double-doubles on the year and nine 20+ performances. Five of her nine 20+ point games came against ranked opponents.
Dominating the Paint: Tennessee outscored Vanderbilt 36-28 in the paint and pulled down 41 rebounds to the Commodores’ 29. The Lady Vols have out-rebounded their opponents in 17 of 23 games.
Russell Doubles Up Again: In moving her season total to 11 and her career tally to 41 double-doubles, Mercedes Russell carded double-figure points and rebounds for the third straight game. It marked the second time this season she has posted double-doubles in three consecutive games.
Hayes Re-Emerges: After going through a stretch of seven games with only one double-figure point total, Anastasia Hayes has hit double-figures in three of the past four contests. Her seven points in the third quarter, including a three-pointer, helped the Lady Vols separate from the Commodores.