Lady Vols rally falls short in 80-77 loss to LSU
image via Wade Rackley / Tennessee Athletics
The Tennessee Lady Vols have said repeatedly this season they needed to play a full 40 minute game and avoid the lapses that seem to be standard this season. They’ve said it, but they haven’t yet done it.
LSU went on a 20-4 run midway through the second half to seize control of the game, then fended off a furious Tennessee rally in the final 4:37 to win the SEC opener for both teams, 80-77.
The Lady Vols led almost the entire first half despite being outshot and outrebounded in the first 20 minutes. It was in that first half that forward Bashaara Graves suffered an injury to her lower right leg. She wound up playing just 17 minutes.
“She’s a huge, huge aspect to our offense and defense,” said Isabelle Harrison. “We don’t have another strong post player like that and we she got hurt it really affected us.”
Tennessee opened the second half with a turnover, a harbinger of what was to come. LSU quickly made up the halftime deficit, and never trailed again.
“Our defense wasn’t very highly motivated to play until probably like the last six minutes of the game,” said a visibly displeased Holly Warlick. “There’s a time when you’ve got to open up and play defense whether it’s half court or full court and we just didn’t get the job done.”
With 4:37 on the clock, the Lady Vols trailed by 16 points when they mounted a comeback. Isabelle Harrison got them within two points with a basket and then after a steal, hit the first of 2 free throws to make it a one point game. She missed the second, LSU got the rebound and then iced the win with a pair of free throws for the final 80-77 margin.
“Maybe I just got too much thinking in my head and I just should’ve concentrated on that,” Harrison said, “and it frustrates me a lot.”
“It is a team sport,” Warlick added. “We have to learn from it. We have to turn around and play Georgia Saturday. We can’t dwell on this too long. We will go back and watch the tape to see what we can do. We will get better.”