The Tennessee Lady Vols will be moving on to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, after beating Dayton Saturday afternoon by a score of 66 to 57. Tennessee is now 29-1 all-time in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. With the win, the Lady Vols have also achieved at least 20 wins for the last 41 consecutive seasons.
The Lady Vols opened the game with a fast-paced 1st quarter, with many of the Lady Vols points coming in transition. Dayton seemed to be playing with a lid on the basket, and the scoreboard read 20-9 in favor of Tennessee after the first quarter. In the second quarter, UT’s offensive pace slacked off, and Dayton took advantage. At the end of the first half, the game was all knotted up at 29 apiece. Tennessee play in the third quarter set them apart, and moved them closer to the win. Scoring 22 in the 3rd quarter, the Lady Vols also kept Dayton in check, with 13 third quarter points. At the end of 3 quarters, Tennessee retained a 51 to 42 lead. The scoring leveled off in the fourth and final quarter, with both teams scoring 15 points. In the end, the Lady Vols came out on top, with a score of 66 to 57, in favor of the orange and white.
Leading the way for the Lady Vols, Diamond Deshields put up 24 points. Deshields also contributed 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals. The combination of Mercedes Russell and Schaquilla Nunn in the post, proved to be lethal for the Dayton defense. Both players scored 14 points, while Nunn led the team in rebounds with 15, and Russell added 10 more. Russell was also able to contribute 1 assist, 1 steal, and 1 block. Lady Vols guard Jaime Nared had a good game with 8 points and 7 rebounds.
Dayton’s top performances came from Alex Harris and JaVonna Layfield. Both players scored 10 points. Harris also contributed 14 rebounds, and 1 block.
Following the game, Lady Vols head coach Holly Warlick commented on Tennessee’s play saying, “Just loved our effort tonight…I loved our energy, and I loved our resilience.”
Next up, the 5th seed Lady Vols (20-11) move on to play the 4th seed Louisville Cardinals (28-7) at the KFC YUM Center in Louisville, Kentucky for the second round of the NCAA Tournament.