(1) Tennessee 89, (7) Connecticut 80
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Sidney Spencer scored a career-high 21 points, including four key free throws in the final 2 minutes Saturday afternoon, and top-ranked Tennessee outlasted No. 7 Connecticut 89-80 to add another classic game in this storied rivalry.
Candace Parker, Tye'sha Fluker, and Shanna Zolman each added 13 points, and Alexis Hornbuckle had 14 rebounds, 10 points and nine assists for the Lady Vols (15-0).
UConn (12-2) lost for the first time in Knoxville since 2001 and dropped back-to-back games to Tennessee for the first time since 1998 and 1999. The Lady Vols ended their six-game losing streak to the Huskies last year.
UConn leads the all-time series 13-8, which includes six matchups in the Final Four.
In a game that featured plenty of stars, it was Spencer who was clutch for the Lady Vols. The junior's previous career high was 14 points, and she had no points last year in Hartford.
Tennessee led most of the second half, but couldn't extend it past six points until late. UConn cut it to 77-75 with 2:44 left on Barbara Turner's pair of free throws. In response, Spencer made four free throws in a row.
Charde Houston had a jumper for the Huskies with 1:18 remaining, but Parker scored and Zolman had two free throws. UConn kept up the pressure, and Ann Strother was fouled shooting a 3 and made two of three free throws to cut it back to six.
But Houston's free throw with 8.7 seconds left was the Huskies' final point.
The Lady Vols had few answers for Strother, who finished with 25 points and was 5-of-15 from beyond the arc. Houston scored 19 points, and Brittany Hunter added 12.
Tennessee had trouble shooting the ball, but Spencer was 6-of-9 from the floor. Zolman didn't make a field goal until late in the second half, and the rest of her points came from going 10-of-10 at the line.
The Huskies had 17 turnovers, nine of which came on steals by the Lady Vols.
Tennessee got a big break early in the second half when Houston picked up her fourth foul with 14:25 to go. The Lady Vols were having trouble keeping her from scoring even though they used two and sometimes three defenders in the paint.
But a minute later, Parker when to the bench after tweaking her left ankle, which she hurt earlier this season but has been playing on with heavy tape. Both players returned to the game and fouled out.
Parker, playing in her first game against UConn, missed a chance for a dunk early in the first half when she got the ball on the break following a turnover. Palming the ball, she went up for a lay-in surrounded by four Huskies and missed as the crowd let out a big groan.
The Huskies led 41-39 at halftime after the lead changed several times.
Tennessee, which shot 38.5 percent from the floor in the opening half, had it first, but UConn used a 10-0 run to go ahead by five with 12:07 left in the first half. The Lady Vols stayed in it while the Huskies had three turnovers in a row and regained the lead with 7 1/2 minutes to go and stretched it to six.
Sparked by four straight points by Houston, UConn had a 7-0 run to take it back.