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UT Lady Vols rally from behind only to lose in final seconds to LSU Tigers, 57-56

UT Athletics Department

UT Lady VolsBaton Rouge, LA – Despite a 17-point second half from Diamond DeShields, Tennessee was unable to capitalize at the free throw line, losing 57-56 to LSU Sunday at the Maravich Center in Baton Rouge, LA.

Although the Lady Tigers lost their 10-point halftime lead on multiple occasions in the second half, LSU (9-18, 3-11 SEC) ended its three-game losing streak to Tennessee (16-11, 7-7 SEC), who dropped to .500 in conference play.

Mercedes Russell missed a pair of free throws with Tennessee leading by one with five seconds remaining. Following the second miss, LSU’s Alexis Hyder was fouled with three seconds left. Hyder made both free throws to give the Lady Tigers the 57-56 lead, and Andraya Carter was unable to hit the three-point shot at the buzzer.

Tennessee Lady Vols rallied and took the lead after trailing by as much as 14, but the LSU Tigers came away with the victory Sunday afternoon. (Donald Page/Tennessee Athletics)
Tennessee Lady Vols rallied and took the lead after trailing by as much as 14, but the LSU Tigers came away with the victory Sunday afternoon. (Donald Page/Tennessee Athletics)

DeShields led all scorers with 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting. Bashaara Graves added nine, while Russell and Te’a Cooper scored seven apiece. Alexis Hyder led the Lady Tigers with 15.

The Lady Vols used a 7-2 run to retake the lead at 50-49 following Mercedes Russell’s made free throw with 2:54 remaining in the game, but that lead would slip in the final seconds of the game after Tennessee went 2-for-6 from the free throw line in the final 15 seconds of the game.

Free throws proved to be the difference in the game as LSU shot 82 percent (14-of-17) while Tennessee shot 56 percent (9-of-16) from the line.

DeShields gave Tennessee a second-half spark after scoring eight points on 3-of-4 shooting, including a 2-for-2 mark from the 3-point line, in the first four minutes of the second half. DeShields led the Lady Vols on a 14-2 run that gave Tennessee a 32-30 lead with 2:56 left in the third quarter.

LSU finished the first half on a 12-2 run to take a 28-18 advantage into the locker room. The Lady Tigers led by as many as 14, their largest lead of the game, in that spurt.

LSU was able to instill its defensive will in the first half, holding the Lady Vols to 30 percent shooting (8-of-27) and forcing 10 Tennessee turnovers. The 18 points scored by the Lady Vols marked a season low for first-half points.

Series vs. LSU

Despite Tennessee’s loss, it still holds the all-time series advantage with LSU at 47-14. The Lady Vols dropped to 15-7 against the Lady Tigers in Baton Rouge, LA. The Lady Vols had a three-game win streak over LSU entering Sunday’s game, but the Lady Tigers were able to end that with the win.

For Starters

The Lady Vols started their 11th different lineup of the season, going with Andraya Carter, Te’a Cooper, Jaime Nared, Bashaara Graves and Nia Moore. Moore earned her first start of the season and 11th of her career vs. LSU. Her last start prior to Sunday was against Alabama on February 19th, 2015.

Diamond Shines in Second Half

The team’s leading scorer, Diamond DeShields took over in the second half, scoring 17 on 7-of-12 shooting in the half. She also shot 2-of-4 from beyond the arc and was 1-of-1 from the free throw line in 20 minutes of second-half action.

DeShields’s 17 points accounted for 44.7 percent of the team’s second-half scoring (17-of-38 points).

Miscellaneous Notes

With a three pointer with 9:38 remaining in the third quarter, Diamond DeShields scored her 1000th point. She is the sixth Lady Vol to score 1000 in her second season and she is the 43rd career Lady Vol to record 1000 points.

Bashaara Graves earned her 119th career start against LSU and is now tied for eighth in Lady Vol history with Alexis Hornbuckle and Semeka Randall for career starts. She surpassed Glory Johnson who had 118 career starts. Kortney Dunbar has made a three pointer in seven of her past eight games.

After holding LSU to 36.4 percent shooting on the game, the Lady Vols have now held 21 of their 27 opponents including the last 10 under 40 percent.

Up Next

The Lady Vols will conclude the away portion of the regular season schedule when they face the Alabama Crimson Tide Thursday, February 25th, in Tuscaloosa, AL. Tipoff is slated for 8:30pm ET/7:30pm CT on SEC Network +.

Tennessee is 49-2 all-time against the Crimson Tide and are riding a 42-game win streak dating back to 1984. The Lady Vols are 18-0 on Alabama’s home floor. Led by Jaime Nared and Te’a Cooper, both of whom scored 17 points, the Lady Vols dominated Alabama, 70-42, in their first meeting of the season on January 31st, 2016.

Tennessee has defeated Alabama by double digits in 22 of the last 23 matchups. The lone exception came on February 18th, 2010, when the Lady Vols escaped Tuscaloosa with a 74-67 win.


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