Lady Vols use late surge to beat Arkansas, 59-46
Led by Mercedes Russell's 15th double-double of the season, Tennessee took care of business over Arkansas, 59-46, in Thompson-Boling Arena on Sunday.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (UTsports.com) -- Led by Mercedes Russell's 15th double-double of the season, Tennessee took care of business over Arkansas, 59-46, in Thompson-Boling Arena on Sunday.
After a 2:52 scoring drought by UT to start the first quarter, Russell got things going for the Lady Vols (17-10, 8-6 SEC) by scoring the first five points. She finished the day with 13 points and 10 rebounds, passing Candace Parker for the third most double-doubles by a junior in Tennessee history.
Jaime Nared broke out of her recent shooting slump to account for a game-high 19 points behind 3-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc. She added nine rebounds and two steals in the contest despite early foul trouble.
All-SEC forward Jessica Jackson shouldered much of the scoring burden for the Razorbacks (13-14, 2-12 SEC), accounting for 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 4-of-5 from behind the arc. However, Tennessee's defense kept the remaining Razorbacks in check, with Jackson's teammates shooting just 33 percent from the field. Malica Monk was the only other Razorback who scored in double figures with 11.
Alexa Middleton started slow in the game but picked up momentum in the second quarter, connecting on her first 3-pointer with 2:36 remaining in the period. She continued to serve as a spark for Tennessee's offense in the second half, finishing the contest with 15. Sunday marked the third consecutive game Middleton has recorded double-digit scoring and the ninth time this year.
Going into the fourth quarter, Tennessee only led by two at 37-35. The Lady Vols stretched out their lead courtesy of back-to-back threes by Nared to put the game out of reach.
The Lady Vols will look to continue their momentum Thursday, when they host the Florida Gators on Senior Night in Thompson-Boling Arena. The game tips off at 7 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on SEC Network.
HOT STREAK: Alexa Middleton has registered double figures in her third straight game and for the ninth time this season. Over the last nine games, she has scored 10.6 points per game on 47.5 percent shooting (39-of-82).
DOUBLE-DOUBLE MACHINE: Mercedes Russell logged her 15th double-double of the season, passing Candace Parker for the third most double-doubles by a junior in Tennessee history, trailing Isabelle Harrison (18) and Chamique Holdsclaw (16). She is 10th in career double-doubles in Tennessee history with 26.