PUERTO AVENTURAS, Mexico — Mercedes Russell scored 25 points, Jaime Nared had a double-double and surpassed 1,000 career points and No. 12 Tennessee defeated Oklahoma State 79-69 in a battle of unbeaten teams at the Cancun Challenge on Friday.
Nared, who scored the last 10 points as the Lady Vols opened up a 24-10 lead, had 21 points and 10 rebounds, becoming the 45th player in Tennessee history to reach 1,000 (1,005). Rennia Davis had 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Tennessee (5-0) led by double figures in every quarter but couldn’t shake the Cowgirls (5-1), who got 29 points from graduate transfer Loryn Goodwin and 11 points and 11 rebounds from Kaylee Jensen.
Oklahoma State got within four late in the second quarter but trailed 41-31 at the half. A Goodwin layup made it a two-point game late in the third but Russell had consecutive 3-point plays to close the quarter for a 57-49 lead. The closest in the fourth quarter was 70-64 with 4:36 to play but Russell scored the next four points and then the Lady Vols closed it out at the line while OSU missed seven-straight shots before a late layup.
Tennessee made 30 of 57 shots while OSU shot 38 percent but the Cowgirls scored 21 points off 19 Lady Vols turnovers.