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No. 7 Tennessee coasts past Kentucky 63-49 in SEC opener

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Evina Westbrook scored 17 points, Mercedes Russell added 16 and No. 7 Tennessee started quickly against Kentucky and didn't let up in rolling to a 63-49 victory Sunday in the Southeastern Conference opener for both schools.      Playing their first game since beating then-No. 18 Stanford 10 days ago, the Lady Vols (13-0) scored the game's first 10 points and led 26-7 after one quarter. Their lead grew to as many as 23 midway through the third as they remained unbeaten while handing the Wildcats (8-7) their sixth consecutive loss.      Westbrook got things rolling with three of Tennessee's five 3s in the opening quarter for 11 points. The Lady Vols didn't hit again from long range, but teammates contributed from inside the arc to lead comfortably.      Jaime Nared had 11 points and 10 rebounds while Rennia Davis added 11 rebounds and 9 points for Tennessee, which controlled the rebuilding Wildcats in nearly every category, from rebounding (50-31) to inside points (30-24). Tennessee's only downsides were 40 percent shooting and 21 turnovers, though Kentucky converted them into just eight points.      Maci Morris had 18 points for the Wildcats, who shot just 30 percent in the first of three games this season on the home floor of the successful men's team.      BIG PICTURE      Tennessee: Entering the game ranked third nationally in rebounding at nearly 50 per game, the Lady Vols matched their average with their third-largest margin this season. Their defense meanwhile held an opponent at or below 30 percent for the fifth time this season.      Kentucky: The Wildcats started 3 of 16 from the field and improved only slightly in shooting 30 percent or below for the second time in three games. Their lone bright spot was forcing a season-high 21 turnovers.      UP NEXT      Tennessee hosts Auburn on Thursday and Vanderbilt on Sunday.      Kentucky visits Texas A&M on Thursday.

 

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