(From the USD sports desk)
CANCUN, Mexico-No. 12/14 Tennessee took control and jumped out to an early lead as the Lady Vols defeated South Dakota 69-49 in the Coyotes’ third and final game of the Cancun Challenge on Saturday at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya.
Tennessee (6-0) was South Dakota’s first contest against a ranked opponent since the 2014 NCAA Tournament opening game with No. 5/6 Stanford. Tennessee had four players in double figures in the game with freshman guards Rennia Davis and Anastasia Hayes, members of the Lady Vols’ No. 1 recruiting class, pacing the team with 12 points each. Senior forward Jaime Nared scored 11 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Senior center Mercedes Russell added 10 points.
South Dakota (3-3) edged Tennessee in the second half, 31-28, as both teams swapped out their starters midway through the third period. The Coyote bench scored 27 points in the game with freshman guard Monica Arens pacing the team. Arens was the only Coyote in double figures, scoring 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting in the second half.
South Dakota returns stateside to host Bellevue at 7 p.m. Wednesday inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center in Vermillion.