Rennia Davis Leads Lady Vols to Upset of No. 15 Notre Dame

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    (Photo via Tennessee Athletics)

    Rennia Davis tied her career-high in points with 33 to lead the Lady Vols past No. 15 Notre Dame 74-63 in South Bend on Monday night.

    The Fighting Irish jumped out to a 5-2 lead, but Tennessee went on a 15-2 run thanks to nine points from Davis to take a commanding 17-7 lead midway though the first quarter. The Lady Vols (3-0) would not trail the remainder of the game.

    Davis scored 18 points in the first half on 7-of-12 shooting from the field and 2-of-5 from the 3-point line. She also chipped in six rebounds, three of which were on the offensive end. Davis’ contributions gave Tennessee a 36-28 lead at the half over the Irish.

    The junior forward remained on fire in the second half as well. Davis started the scoring with back-to-back 3-pointers on her way to 15 second half points. She was 3-for-4 from behind the 3-point line over the final two quarters.

    Davis finished 5-for-9 from three for the game and 12-of-20 from the floor. With 10 rebounds, she recorded a double-double and became the first Lady Vol since Candace Parker to have 30 points and 10 rebounds in a win over a ranked opponent. Parker’s performance also came against Notre Dame (2008).

    Notre Dame (2-1) trailed by double-digits the entirety of the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, the Irish were able to cut it to single-digits twice, but each time Tennessee immediately pushed the lead back to double-digits. The Lady Vols outscored Notre Dame 38-35 in the second half.

    Tennessee handed Notre Dame its fourth home loss in 115 games. The Fighting Irish were previously 111-3 at home with all three home losses coming to Connecticut.

    Here are a couple of takeaways from the Lady Vols’ monumental early season win.

    Lost for the year

    The Lady Vols announced just before tip-off that sophomore guard Zaay Green tore her ACL in practice on Saturday. As a result, she’ll be out indefinitely.

    “We all hurt terribly for Zaay because of how hard she has worked to improve her game and help our program this season,” Harper said in a press release. “This is an unwanted challenge for Zaay, but I know she will put all of her energy and focus into rehabbing her knee and getting back on the course as soon as possible.”

    As a freshman last season, Green averaged 9.6 points per game and 4.0 rebounds. She was named to the SEC All-Freshman team as a result of her performance.

    This year, Green was averaging 13 points through two games.

    Making up for the turnovers

    Turnovers were an issue for Tennessee against the Fighting Irish. The Lady Vols turned it over 28 times, which led to 19 points for Notre Dame. Normally, 28 turnovers guarantees you a lost. The Lady Vols made up for it in other areas, though.

    Tennessee blocked 12 shots, which allowed the team to outscore the Irish in the paint 26-16. The Lady Vols also dominated the boards, winning the rebounding battle 55-28. They had 15 offensive rebounds.

    The 12 blocked shots were the fourth-most in a game in program history.

    The Lady Vols were very efficient shooting the basketball while also forcing Notre Dame to shoot a poor percentage from the floor. Tennessee shot 47 percent from the field and finished 8-for-19 (42 percent) from three. The Irish, on the other hand, shot 31 percent from the field and 28 percent from three.

    All hands on deck

    Davis scored 45 percent of Tennessee’s points, but everybody chipped in to help pull off the upset.

    Jazmine Massengill filled up the stat sheet. The sophomore guard only scored five points, but she grabbed a team-high 13 rebounds, dished out a team-high nine assists, and blocked a team-high four shots. The nine assists were also a career-high.

    Elsewhere, freshman Tamari Key scored 11 points, had five rebounds, and blocked four shots. Senior Lou Brown had a team-high plus/minus of 22, and Jordan Horston scored 12 points, grabbed seven rebounds, tallied five assists, and picked up four steals. Kamera Harris added six points and four rebounds.

    Up Next

    The Lady Vols return home to face Tennessee State in Thompson-Boling on Thursday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET. It’ll serve as the first of six straight home games.

    Ben McKee
    Ben McKee is a graduate from the University of Tennessee and has a degree in Journalism and Electronic Media. He grew up an Army brat and lived in Alabama for a bit, but he bleeds orange. He covers Tennessee football, basketball, baseball, and the Lady Vols for RTI, and he's also a co-host on the RTI Live Show and RTI Podcast. You can also hear Ben on the morning sports radio show "The Swain Event." He's the producer and co-host along with former Vol wide receiver Jayson Swain.