Strong second half lifts Tennessee past Middle Tennessee


The Lady Vols outscored the Blue Raiders 48-23 in the final two quarters.

Tennessee guard Tess Darby, left, guard Rennia Davis celebrate scoring over Middle Tennessee State forward Courtney Whitson during the second half of a college basketball game in the first round of the women’s NCAA basketball tournament at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas, Sunday, March 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Stephen Spillman)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Rennia Davis scored 24 points and grabbed 14 rebounds and No. 3 seed Tennessee used a dominant second half to beat 14th-seeded Middle Tennessee 87-62 in the first round of the women’s NCAA Tournament.

The Blue Raiders looked like they could pull off a shocker early on when they were tied with the Lady Vols at 39 at halftime. But a bid to become the first No. 14 seed to win an NCAA Tournament game was worn down against Tennessee’s size and length.

Anastasia Hayes led Middle Tennessee with 26 points. Rae Burrell scored 22 for Tennessee and Jordan Walker had nine points and 14 rebounds.

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