NASHVILLE -- Unable to overcome a cold-shooting first quarter, the Vanderbilt women fell to rival Tennessee, 70-57, on Thursday night at Memorial Gym.
The Commodores (10-5, 0-2), who dropped their fourth straight game, made just 3-of-14 shots from the floor in the opening 10 minutes, and trailed 20-7 at the end of first quarter. Vanderbilt played even with the Lady Vols (10-4, 2-0) the rest of the way, but could not erase the early deficit.
All five starters finished in double figures for the Lady Vols, who won their sixth straight game. Diamond DeShields led Tennessee with 16 points and Mercedes Russell posted a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Jaime Nared added 12 points, Jordan Reynolds had 11 and Meme Jackson had 10 to help the Lady Vols defeat the Commodores for the sixth consecutive time.
For Vanderbilt, freshman LeaLea Carter continued her recent surge. She scored a game-high 17 points, representing her third double-digit showing in the past five games. Fellow freshman Cierra Walker added 10 points, and Marqu'es Webb had 11 rebounds and five points.
The Commodores finished just 19-of-55 from the floor (34.5 percent) and were forced into 21 turnovers while being held to their lowest point total of the season.
Tennessee also endured a tough night from the floor, going 22-of-62 (35.5 percent). But the Lady Vols were 21-of-27 at the foul line (77.8 percent), compared to Vanderbilt's 14-of-22 (63.6). The Commodores came into the game shooting 76.4 from the line, the second best mark in the conference.
The Commodores trailed 23-7 early in the second quarter but used a 13-2 run to narrow the gap to 25-20 with 4:10 to play before halftime. Tennessee answered back with a 8-0 run to push the lead back to 13, and the Lady Vols eventually carried a 36-26 lead into the half.
Tennessee built its largest lead of the night, 45-27, on a free throw by DeShields at the 7:39 mark of the third quarter. Vanderbilt responded with a 15-5 surge, ignited by Walker's long 3-pointer, to trim Tennessee's lead to 50-42 with 1:15 left in the period. But the Lady Vols again had the answer, rebuilding an 11-point lead on a layup by Nared with 8:24 to play in the game, and Vanderbilt never got closer than nine the rest of the way.
Vanderbilt visits Georgia on Sunday.