Isabelle Harrison scored 21 points, Meighan Simmons and Bashaara
Graves each added 14 and No. 6 Tennessee used an overpowering late run
to beat LSU 77-65 in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference
tournament on Friday night.
The second-seeded Lady Vols (25-5) have won five straight and 11 of
12. Tennessee will face the Texas A&M-Auburn winner in the semifinals.
Theresa Plaisance finished with 21 points and Danielle Ballard scored
15 for LSU (19-12). The Lady Tigers, seeded 10th, have lost seven of
Tennessee's 19-0 run late in the second half made it 70-55 lead on
Simmons' two free throws, but the game's first 35 minutes were tough
on the fifth-leading scorer in school history.
Simmons, who had averaged over 22 points in the previous three games,
was just 3 for 16 from the field before her reverse layup from the
baseline ended a fast break to force a 55-all tie.
Harrison followed with a runner over Plaisance to make it 57-55 and
give the Lady Vols their first lead since 4-3 and bring the large
contingent of cheering Tennessee fans to their feet at the Gwinnett
With 12 rebounds, Harrison recorded her 16th double-double this season.
Tennessee finished second in the SEC regular season to No. 5 and
top-seeded South Carolina, a 67-48 winner over Georgia.
Trailing 4-0, LSU went on a 27-8 run, ending with Jeanne Kenney's
third 3-pointer, to take a 15-point lead with 9:29 left in the first
Plaisance had 14 points to help the Lady Tigers take a 34-22 lead, but
Tennessee closed to within six at halftime.
The Lady Vols chipped away at the lead before Cierra Burdick's layup
forced a 43-all tie.
LSU coach Nikki Caldwell called timeout to try and settle down her
team, and Plaisance followed with a 15-footer on the ensuing
possession and a straightaway 3 that made it 48-43 with 11:54
But the Lady Tigers couldn't overcome getting outscored 52-18 in the
paint and 25-5 on turnovers.
LSU also struggled with inconsistent shooting. After beginning the
game 10 for 16, the Lady Tigers missed 27 of their next 37 shots.
Tennessee junior point Ariel Massengale missed her 11th straight game
since getting hit in the face during a 20-point win over Florida on
Jan. 23. She sat on the bench, but was not expected to play this
Burdick had 10 points and 11 rebounds.