No. 14 Lady Vols trounce Saint Francis 111-44
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Tennessee ended its slump in emphatic fashion.
Isabelle Harrison returned from a five-game absence and Jaime Nared scored 20 points Wednesday night as the 14th-ranked Lady Vols trounced winless Saint Francis (Pennsylvania) 111-44 to avoid their first three-game losing streak since February 1986.
Tennessee (5-2) was back at home after falling 67-63 to Chattanooga and 72-59 to No. 4 Texas in its first two road games of the season.
''(Against) Chattanooga and Texas, we didn't play hard,'' Tennessee coach Holly Warlick said. ''We had no fight in us. We've got talent, but talent doesn't always win. You've got to play with heart and you've got to be passionate about what you do. I thought those two games, we were neither. Tonight, we played with a lot of heart and we played hard.''
Tennessee recorded its highest point total since a 136-26 rout of Puerto Rico Mayaguez on Nov. 29, 2002. The Lady Vols also out-rebounded Saint Francis 71-28 and matched their fourth-highest rebounding total in school history.
''We definitely needed this,'' Tennessee guard Andraya Carter said. ''It wasn't just the win. It was how we won, the energy on the bench, the energy on the court, really good shots and ball movement, the way we played together as a team.''
The Lady Vols got a boost from Harrison's return.
Harrison, a first-team all-Southeastern Conference selection last season, hadn't played since spraining her right knee in a season-opening 97-52 victory over Penn on Nov. 14. The 6-foot-3 senior center wore a brace on the knee Wednesday as she scored five points and pulled down seven rebounds in 13 minutes.
''I feel a little rusty,'' Harrison said. ''I hadn't been at game speed in a while. I've just got to keep working on it.''
Nared was one of six Lady Vols to score in double figures. Jasmine Jones had 16 points, Cierra Burdick had 15, Carter had 12 and Bashaara Graves and Alexa Middleton each added 11. Graves also had 11 rebounds and Burdick had 10.
Alexa Hayward scored 26 points for Saint Francis (0-5), which only got points from five players. The senior guard went 6 for 19 from 3-point range and became her school's all-time leading 3-point shooter by increasing her career total to 238.
''Playing here is a dream,'' Hayward said. ''Growing up, you always hear about Tennessee. It's cool that I can say I set that record here on their court, in the presence of greatness.''
Saint Francis: This marked the Red Flash's first game against a ranked opponent since a season-opening 117-77 loss to No. 13 Penn State last year.
Tennessee: This represented the first time the Lady Vols had ever faced a Northeast Conference team.
Saint Francis: Hosts George Mason on Saturday.
Tennessee: At Lipscomb on Sunday.
The 67-point difference represented Tennessee's largest margin of victory since a 110-42 rout of Lipscomb last season.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
''I thought that we would play well today because yesterday I thought we had the best practice we'd had all year long. If you had to rank a team No. 1, we'd be the No. 1 team in the nation in practice, but we've got to carry that over to the game. I thought tonight we stuck to our game plan and played hard.''-Warlick.