Nared leads No. 13 Lady Vols to 89-60 rout of James Madison
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee’s young roster already is showing signs of growth.
Jaime Nared had 25 points, nine rebounds and five assists Wednesday as the 13th-ranked Lady Volunteers trounced James Madison 89-60 for their second straight lopsided victory to open the season.
“It was good to see us grow in this game — and (to see) us keep growing,” Nared said. “I’m excited to where we can go.”
Nared and Mercedes Russell are two seniors leading a group that also features four freshmen who were part of a recruiting class ranked No. 1 in the nation by multiple services.
Tennessee’s youth revealed itself Sunday with a 24-turnover performance in a season-opening 87-49 victory over East Tennessee State. The Lady Vols showed they’re quick learners Wednesday by reducing their turnover total to 13.
The Lady Vols (2-0) also showed strong ball movement by assisting on 21 of their 33 baskets.
“This team is a very unselfish basketball team,” Tennessee coach Holly Warlick said. “They’re happy for each other’s successes. And it makes me happy. It makes me smile.”
Freshman Rennia Davis had 17 points and eight rebounds as the Lady Vols never trailed. Russell had 14 points and eight rebounds. Cheridene Green added 10 points.
Lexie Barrier scored 14 points, Kelly Koshuta had 13 and Kamiah Smalls added 10 for James Madison (1-2).
After trailing by 16 early in the second quarter, James Madison reduced the margin to 37-26 with 3:19 left in the half. Tennessee called a timeout at that point and responded with an 11-2 run to lead 48-28 at halftime.
The lead never dropped below 15 the rest of the way.
“Coming in here, I knew it would take an A-plus effort for us, and we just didn’t bring that exactly,” James Madison coach Sean O’Regan said. “I thought we fought, but in the end we’ll get back to it, learn from it, find our weaknesses and improve.”
James Madison: The Dukes have struggled from 3-point range so far this season, and the pattern continued Wednesday. James Madison was 5 of 21 from beyond the arc and has made just 23 percent of its 3-point attempts (14 of 61) this season.
Tennessee: The Lady Vols’ four freshmen did a much better job of taking care of the ball Wednesday after combining for 16 turnovers in the season opener. Anastasia Hayes had three assists and eight turnovers Sunday, but she had eight assists and three turnovers against James Madison.
Tennessee had outlasted James Madison 81-69 in its 2016-17 season opener while withstanding a 39-point performance from Precious Hall, who would go on to average 24 points per game that year to rank third nationally.
Hall has since completed her college career. Although James Madison remains talented enough to be selected as the preseason Colonial Athletic Association favorite, this game showed the Dukes are still adjusting to life without her.
“I think (Tennessee) has earned the right to be in the top 10,” O’Regan said. “They’ve got everything. They’ve got leadership. They’ve got balance. They’ve got talent. I love Hayes. I think she’s going to be a great point guard for them.”
James Madison: Hosts St. Joseph’s on Sunday.
Tennessee: Hosts Wichita State on Monday.
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