KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (release) -- A 20-0 run to start the 2013-14 season sealed a dominating 115-31 victory for the No. 4 Lady Vols over Carson-Newman in the team’s lone exhibition on Monday night in front of 10,507 at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Led by sophomore forward Bashaara Graves, Tennessee had six double-digit scorers and all nine Lady Vols who saw the floor registered a bucket.
Graves – last season’s SEC Freshman/Newcomer of the Year – led UT with a 21-point, 11-rebound double-double. She hit nine points from the free throw line, finishing the night 9-of-10 from the stripe. The 6-foot-2 Clarksville, Tenn., native was 6-of-8 from the floor and added five steals.
Making their Lady Vol debuts, freshmen Jordan Reynolds and Mercedes Russell scored 17 and 16 points, respectively, while shooting a combined 13-of-23 from the floor. Reynolds added six rebounds and four steals and the 6-foot-6 Russell finished with a game-high four blocks.
Senior Meighan Simmons (14 points) and juniors Isabelle Harrison (12) and Cierra Burdick (12) also reached double-digits.
Junior point guard Ariel Massengale led the game with 11 assists. Andraya Carter and Nia Moore added nine points each.
Tennessee was superior in all areas of the game, dominating the Lady Eagles on points off turnovers, 49-0, and points in the paint, 60-8. UT forced 33 Carson-Newman turnovers on the night.
The Lady Vols also captured the rebounding battle, 58-32, and outshot Carson-Newman 51.9 percent to 15.8 percent.
The Lady Vols held the Division II Lady Eagles without a field goal for the opening 10:56 of the game en route to a 51-17 halftime score. In addition to the 20-0 run after tip-off, UT used a 16-0 stretch to turn a 34-10 lead into a 40-point, 50-10 advantage with 2:37 to go in the period.
Tennessee shot 45 percent in the half, while holding Carson-Newman to just 10.7 percent from the field and forcing 18 Lady Eagle turnovers in the half.
Simmons, a Co-SEC Player of the Year last season, extended the lead to 30 points at 40-10 with a fastbreak layup with 4:41 remaining in the first half. The Lady Vols hit the 50-point mark with 2:37 to go in the period, as Graves converted a fastbreak layup to give UT a 40-point lead. The Lady Eagles closed the gap with a 7-1 run over the final 2:14.
It was more of the same in the second stanza as Tennessee used early runs of 12-0 and 15-1 to build an 80-24 lead with 12:46 to go. A layup from Russell with 6:14 on the clock put the Lady Vols over the 100-point mark. The Orange and White extended its advantage to its biggest of the contest at the final 84-point margin of 115-31.
Tennessee officially opens the 2013-14 regular season on Friday, Nov. 8 at Middle Tennessee in Murfreesboro. Tip-off is slated for 8 p.m. ET at the 11,520-seat Murphy Center. The Lady Vols came out on top in an overtime battle in Knoxville a year ago, topping the Blue Raiders 88-81 on Nov. 28, 2012.
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