Thursday, February 14, 2008

(7) LSU 78, (1) Tennessee 62

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- When LSU fell behind early by 19 points, coach Van Chancellor was afraid to look at his cell phone.

"Well, when it was 21-2, I didn't want to answer my cell phone," the first-year coach said. "I thought it might be the athletic director telling me I no longer had a job."

Chancellor had nothing to worry about. The No. 7 Lady Tigers overcame the deficit and grabbed the Southeastern Conference lead with a 78-62 win over top-ranked Tennessee on Thursday night.

LSU (21-3, 10-0 SEC), which remains the only SEC team without a conference loss, also handed Tennessee it's worst conference loss at home since a 72-56 setback to Georgia in 1985.

Sylvia Fowles led a balanced offensive attack with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Erica White added 16 points, Quianna Chaney had 14 points, RaShonta LeBlanc had 11 and Ashley Thomas and Allison Hightower both added 10.

It was the first time in history six LSU players have achieved double-figure scoring.

The Lady Vols (22-2, 8-1) held a 33-30 halftime lead, but the Lady Tigers came out with a 5-1 run to grab a 35-34 lead as LeBlanc drove to the hoop with 16:34 left.

LSU shot 60 percent during the second half compared to Tennessee's 28.6 percent. The Lady Tigers also took advantage of 17 Tennessee fouls in the second half, sinking 17 of 26 at the line.

Tennessee jumped out to a 21-2 lead on an Angie Bjorklund 3-pointer with 13:17 left in the first half as LSU hit only two field goals and a free throw in the first 8 1/2 minutes while missing 14 shots.

"We actually kept our composure as a team," Fowles said. "Nobody fussed with each other, nobody got on each other about anything."

Candace Parker led Tennessee with 26 points and had 10 rebounds. Nicky Anosike had 10 points and 12 rebounds.

The Lady Tigers chipped away at the margin with five 3-pointers and took a 30-29 lead on a tip in by Sylvia Fowles with 1:38 left in the half.

"Honestly, I don't know how to explain it," Tennessee guard Alexis Hornbuckle said. "I hope we can figure it out before it's too late."

The Lady Tigers forced 15 steals and capitalized with 25 points off 19 turnovers by the Lady Vols.

LSU has won two straight in Knoxville and two straight over Tennessee. The Lady Tigers extended their winning streak to 12-straight games.

Tennessee was coming off a controversial last-second win over Rutgers on Monday night. Coach Pat Summitt said earlier in the week that the Lady Vols were spent emotionally and physically after that game.

"I can't figure this group out," she said. "We got a win over Rutgers. They went in understanding that we could win the league tonight if we took care of business. That didn't seem to matter very much."

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