March 18, 2017
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Diamond DeShields scored 24 points, and Mercedes Russell and Schaquilla Nunn posted double-doubles, leading Tennessee to a 66-57 win over Dayton on Saturday in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament at the KFC Yum! Center.
UT (20-11) advances to the second round, where it will meet host and No. 4 seed Louisville (28-7) here on Monday. Tip-time for that game has not been announced.
The Lady Vols surged in the third quarter to take command of the game after an exciting a 29-29 first half. UT limited Dayton (22-10) to just 20 percent shooting (4-of-20) from 3-point range in the win.
DeShields was 8-of-14 from the floor and 8-of-10 at the free-throw line and added five rebounds and five assists. Russell posted 14 points and 10 rebounds for her 18th double-double of the year. Nunn had 14 points and matched her career high with 15 rebounds.
Alex Harris and JaVonna Layfield paced Dayton with 10 points each.
Tennessee led 20-9 after the first quarter thanks to a 13-5 run over the final 6:52. DeShields scored 10 points in the first quarter, including six during that run.
The Flyers came charging back in the second quarter. Dayton trailed by as many as 10 points before a layup by Kelley Austria sparked an 18-8 run to knot the game at 29-29 at the break. UT shot just 25 percent (4-of-16) from the floor in the second quarter, while Dayton connected at a 58.3-percent clip (7-of-12). DeShields led all players with 12 points at the half, and Nunn had eight.
The Lady Vols broke loose in the third quarter. A DeShields jumper sparked a 10-3 run over the final six minutes.
UT would not allow Dayton to climb back in the fourth, as the teams traded buckets over the final 10 minutes.
TENNESSEE IN THE FIRST ROUND
- With the win, Tennessee has now logged 41-straight seasons with 20 or more victories.
- The Lady Vols made their 36th all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, defeating Dayton 66-57. UT owns a 29-1 record in the first round.
- With the win, Tennessee now holds a 7-1 record in neutral site games during the NCAA First Rounds. The full breakdown is 22-0 at home, 0-0 in away games and 7-1 neutral-site games.
- Diamond DeShields' 24-point performance marked her 11th season 20-point game of the season and the 35th of her career.
- Diamond now has 1,003 points as a Lady Vol, becoming 44th Tennessee player to score 1,000 points in her career.
- Schaquilla Nunn's 14-point, 15-rebound performance marked her second double-double on the season and the 46th of her career. Saturday was also only her second NCAA Tournament game. She previously played against Duke in 2014 during her career at Winthrop.
- Russell posted her 18th double-double of the year, tying Isabelle Harrison's 2013-14 total for the most ever by a UT junior, and the 29th of her career with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
- Russell's 18 double-doubles on the season also ties Harrison for the second-most in a season by a Lady Vol. Candace Parker holds the record at 21.