Tennessee Women Fall To No. 4 Mississippi State

Sunday, January 8, 2017
Mississippi State's Morgan William drives around a Tennessee defense of Meme Jackson (10) and Jordan Reynolds (0). William led the Bulldogs to a 74-64 win over the Lady Vols Sunday afternoon at Thompson-Boling Arena with 21 points.
Mississippi State's Morgan William drives around a Tennessee defense of Meme Jackson (10) and Jordan Reynolds (0). William led the Bulldogs to a 74-64 win over the Lady Vols Sunday afternoon at Thompson-Boling Arena with 21 points.
- photo by Dennis Norwood

Tennessee's valiant second-half comeback attempt fell just short in a 74-64 loss to No. 4 Mississippi State on Sunday afternoon at Thompson-Boling Arena.


The Bulldogs (17-0, 3-0 SEC) ended the Lady Vols' six-game winning streak while getting their first-ever victory over UT in Knoxville (1-16). MSU has now won three straight games in the series dating back to last season.

Diamond DeShields led all scorers with 25 points and was one of three Lady Vols in double figures. It was the third 20-plus point game this season for DeShields and the 27th of her career. The Georgia native also finished the game one rebound short of her sixth career double-double, finishing with nine boards.

Mercedes Russell also had another strong performance for Tennessee (10-5, 2-1 SEC), recording her 10th double-double of the season with 17 points and 14 rebounds. The Big Orange were just the second team this season to out-rebound the undefeated Bulldogs, finishing with an 48-39 advantage on the boards.

The Lady Vols were aggressive on both ends of the floor and did the majority of their offensive damage from the charity stripe, going 30-for-35 from the free-throw line on the afternoon. UT also held MSU to just 37 percent shooting from the floor, well below their season average of 48 percent.

The Bulldogs also had three players score in double figures, led by Morgan William who finished with 21 points and four assists. Victoria Vivians finished with 20 points while Teaira McCowan finished with 14 points and nine boards.

After trailing for the majority of the first half, Mississippi State finished the second quarter on a 13-2 run to take a 41-34 lead at the break. The Bulldogs made UT pay for turning the ball over, scoring 10 points off nine Lady Vol turnovers in the first half. MSU also finished the half with an 11-2 advantage in fast break points.

The dynamic duo of Russell and DeShields paced Tennessee, as both finished with 12 points in the first half. The Lady Vols were almost perfect from the free-throw line, converting 14 of 15 attempts to stay within striking distance heading into the locker room.

Tennessee battled back throughout the second half and cut the deficit to one after DeShields made an incredible block that led to a layup by Jordan Reynolds on the other end with 6:42 to play. UT took its first lead of the second half on a DeShields layup with 3:04 left to play, however, MSU outscored the Lady Vols 13-2 the rest of the way to seal the victory.

Redshirt junior center Mercedes Russell recorded her 10th double-double of the season on Sunday with 17 points and 14 rebounds. It was the 21st of her career, which ranks 13th all-time at Tennessee.

Despite the loss, the Lady Vols made Mississippi State work hard for its points all game long. The Bulldogs were out-rebounded for just the second time this season and were held well below their season field goal percentage of 48 percent, shooting just 37 percent on the afternoon.

Tennessee continues SEC play with a trip to Oxford, Miss., to take on the Ole Miss Rebels on Thursday at 7 p.m. ET. The game will be streamed live on SEC Network +/WatchESPN.

Tennessee's Mercedes Russell (21) is fouled as she shoots by Mississippi State's Teaira McCowan. Russell scored 17 for the Lady Vols, while McCowan netted 14 for the undefeated Bulldogs.
Tennessee's Mercedes Russell (21) is fouled as she shoots by Mississippi State's Teaira McCowan. Russell scored 17 for the Lady Vols, while McCowan netted 14 for the undefeated Bulldogs.
- Photo2 by Dennis Norwood


McCallie's Leo Procise To Become Head Diving Coach At GPS

McCallie football and track and field coach Dr. Leo Procise will become the varsity head diving coach at GPS in 2018-19. Dr. Procise, who also teaches AP biology at McCallie, previously coached diving at several high schools in Indiana and was the assistant coach at Indiana International School of Diving. While at IISD, Procise taught diving skills to athletes of all ages and skill ... (click for more)

Georgia Northwestern Signs Gracie Goode For Volleyball

Teams at Georgia Northwestern have signed athletes from Dade County High School in previous years for basketball, golf, and cheerleading.   Now they have completed the full set as the Lady Bobcats have their first-ever volleyball player from the Trenton school.   Senior Gracie Goode became the newest member of the GNTC spike squad after recently signing ... (click for more)

City Stormwater Board Approves Water Quality And Development Fee Increases

The city Stormwater Regulations Board on Monday recommended that the city approve water quality and land development increases sought by the Berke administration, though board members said there had not been enough time for the board and the public to study the fee hikes. Bill Payne, city engineer, said the water quality fee increase would amount to an average $11 per year per ... (click for more)

Blakemore Gets 23-Year Prison Term For Selling Heroin That Caused Death Of Red Bank Man

Federal Judge Sandy Mattice on Monday sentenced Darius Jermaine Blakemore to 23 years in federal prison for selling heroin to a Red Bank man who overdosed and died.   Blakemore, 29, had gone to trial on the case, but it was announced in the middle of the trial that both sides had agreed to the 23-year term. Blakemore had faced 30 years to life.   Blakemore ... (click for more)

Liberal Conspiracy Afoot

According to Roy Exum’s Sunday column, there are now upwards of six or seven Democrats in Hamilton County, and all of them have secretly maneuvered their way onto the boards of a couple of dozen local organizations. Unlike Republicans, some of them serve on multiple boards and some of them serve with one another on the same boards. This is outrageous. We all know that boards and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Is This Civil War II?

Jack Minzey, by all accounts, was a beloved professor at Eastern Michigan and, as the head of the university’s School of Education, wrote many books and papers. Some were on the Civil War – he was an avid student of our nation’s worst moment – and his beliefs how to better public education will be quoted for years. Dr. Minzey died at age 89 last month and just last week, the ... (click for more)