No. 14 Tennessee won its season home-opener against the ETSU Buccaneers on Sunday afternoon inside Thompson Boling-Arena, 87-49. The Lady Vols’ dominance was in full display throughout the game.
The win marks head coach Holly Warlick’s fifth-straight season opening win after losing to UT-Chattanooga in 2012 in her head coaching debut.
Both teams struggled to settle into the game early in the first quarter. One of the first few points in the game came when ETSU’s Britney Snowden hit a three-pointer to put her team up 6-5. Freshman Evina Westbrook would then score to put Tennessee up 7-6. After the Westbrook basket, the Buccaneers were unable to regain another lead for the remainder of the game. At the end of the first quarter, the Lady Vols led 19-6.
Tennessee started to settle in more comfortably, building a 37-16 lead heading into intermission. The Lady Vols defense limited the Buccaneers offense to only 10 points in the second quarter.
ETSU could not keep up as the Lady Vols continued to dominate the last two quarters, leading by as many as 43 points. The Buccaneers were able to cut the Lady Vols’ 43-point lead by scoring five more consolation points, as the game finished with a score of 87-49.
The highly-regarded freshmen class comprised of Westbrook, Rennia Davis, Anastasia Hayes, and Kasiyahna Kushkituah combined for 33 of Tennessee’s 87 points in their first regular season college basketball game. Hayes led the freshmen in scoring with 17 points.
Despite all the talk surrounding the new faces of the Lady Vols program, it was the veteran and senior leaders Mercedes Russell and Jaime Nared that led the way with double-doubles in the win. Russell finished with a team-high 20 points and was 8-for-10 shooting from the field. In addition, Russell and Nared finished with 13 rebounds a piece, and Russell logged 13 points.
The Lady Vols will continue their regular season with another home game on Wednesday, Nov. 3. They are set to take on James Madison inside Thompson-Boling Arena. The game will air at 7 p.m. ET on SECN+ and WatchESPN.
Featured image courtesy of UT Sports
Edited by Seth Raborn