Thursday, February 27, 2014

No. 10 Lady Vols 72, LSU 67

Meighan Simmons highlighted a 31-point performance with a clutch 3-pointer in the final minute, and No. 10 Tennessee held off LSU, 72-67, on Thursday night after the Lady Tigers had erased a 21-point halftime hole.

Simmons hit five 3s in all and also made a couple free throws to help seal the victory for the Lady Vols (23-5, 12-2 Southeastern Conference), who won for the ninth time in 10 games.

Cierra Burdick added a career-high 22 points and 10 rebounds, and Isabelle Harrison 11 points and 11 rebounds for Tennessee, which had to rescue the victory after allowing LSU to tie the score with 3:28 to go.

Jeanne Kenney scored 17 of her 21 points in the second half, including two 3s and the tying free throws during LSU's late 10-0 run. Theresa Plaisance added 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Lady Tigers, who've lost five straight.

Trailing by 42-21 at halftime, LSU managed to make the game far more competitive over the final 20 minutes.

Plaisance, who'd started 2 of 10 form the field, hit a pair of 3s early in the second half, the first capping a 7-0 run to start the period.

Kenney got more involved in the offense as well, and her second 3 of the half pulled LSU to 59-52 with 5:53 left. Kenny pumped both arms at her side as the crowd rose to its feet. Two possessions later, Kenney burried another 3 from the right corner, and DaShawn Harden's steal of Andraya Carter's pass and fast-break layup gave the Lady Tigers eight straight points to make it a one-possession game at 59-57 with 4:35 still left.

Kenney completed the comeback, tying the score on two free throws with 3:28 to go.

Simmons free throws broke the tie a minute later, and her 3 with 57 seconds left made it 68-63.

Tennessee had a 10-point lead just more than 4 minutes into the game when Burdick's 3-point play on a layup as she was fouled made it 12-2. The lead was up to 20 when Simmons's third 3-pointer of the half made it 28-8.

LSU struggled in seemingly all areas during the opening 20 minutes, when the Lady Tigers shot 22.2 percent (6 of 27), turned the ball over 11 times and were outrebounded 26-14.

By halftime Tennessee appeared to be in complete command. Simmons had 19 points, eclipsing her average of 15.7 points per game, and Burdick has 15, nearly double her average of 8.3 points. Tennessee, meanwhile, had shot 50 percent (17 of 34) as a team, never trailed and took its 21-point lead into halftime.

No comments: