Tennessee stuns LSU with massive 17-point comeback win
Greenville, S.C.- No. 3 seed Tennessee (23-10, 13-3 SEC) upset No. 2 seed LSU with a miraculous, 69-67, comeback win in the semifinals of the SEC Women's Basketball Tournament on Saturday at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina.
LSU pulled away early, but the Lady Volunteers dug themselves out of a 17-point hole to stun the No. 4 Tigers.
The dominance from Rickea Jackson and Jordan Hortson would not be denied. Jackson posted her fourth double-double this season with 26 points and 10 rebounds, while Horston gave the LSU defense fits with 17 points and 10 boards.
Angel Reese logged a double-double (22 points, 11 rebounds) as well, but committed a costly six turnovers. Alexis Morris scored 20 and added five assists with five steals. Morris scored seven in the fourth, but it was too late to save the Tigers.
Morris continued her hot shooting from the three, making her first attempt from behind the arc to lead the Tigers to an early 6-0 lead.
Both teams continued to trade baskets and turnovers as their offenses tried to get settled and find a flow.
At the conclusion of the first frame, it was clear the game would be determined by which duo of LSU's Morris and Reese, UT's Horston and Jackson could lead their respective teams to victory. Morris and Reese accounted for 16 of the Tigers' 22, while Horston and Jackson held eight of the Lady Vols' 10 points in the first.
Reese only had four points in the first half when the teams met in the regular season and had already totaled nine points just in the first quarter.
The Lady Vols were forced to call a quick timeout to start the second as Kateri Poole drained a three and Flau'jae Johnson made a jumper following a Jasmine Carson steal to go on a 5-0 run, 27-10.
Lack of quality shot selection and ability to convert open opportunities held the Lady Vols back as they didn't make their first three of the game until Tess Darby hit one with three minutes remaining, 35-23.
LSU went into the break with a 40-26 advantage, marking its 24th time this season leading by double digits at halftime. It was only Tennessee's third time trailing by double figures at halftime.
The Tigers picked the Lady Vols' pockets 10 times in the first half, as Morris led the way with four steals.
UT went on a 9-4 run to start the third led by Horston hitting a turnaround fadeaway jumper to bring the lead within single digits, 44-35.
Coming out of the timeout, Darby got fouled at the three-point line and converted all three free throws, swinging the momentum Tennessee's way, 44-38.
Around two minutes left in the quarter, the Lady Vols inched within three, but the Tigers wouldn't let the lead decimate anymore and headed into the fourth up 51-47.
Jillian Hollingshead entered the second half with only two points but went to work in the paint and provided a spark for the Lady Vols with five points in the third.
Tennessee outscored LSU, 21-11, in the third, which was LSU's worst point differential in a quarter.
The Lady Vols started to put the pressure on the Tigers as a Reese turnover led to a Horston layup, bringing the score within two and was soon tied with a Jackson jumper, 56-56.
Tennessee earned its first lead of the game as Horston hit a pull-up jumper with five minutes remaining, 60-58.
UT gained its largest lead of the night, 4, but Morris, who hadn't scored since the second quarter, scored five straight to bring the Tigers within one, 66-65.
LSU had a chance to take the lead with 22 seconds left but Reese was called for an offensive foul.
Darby was fouled and went one-and-one at the line, giving LSU another chance, 69-67.
Morris hailed a three in the final seconds but missed wide.
This was Jackson's eighth straight game with 20 points, setting the longest streak by a Tennessee player in the past 20 seasons.
Jackson and Horston become the first Lady Vol teammates to record double-doubles in a conference tournament game since 2014. This was the second occurrence this season that Jackson and Horston posted a double-double in the same game -- the first time was Feb. 16 at Arkansas.
Reese tallied her 28th double-double this season, snapping a tie with Sylvia Fowles for the most in a single season in LSU history.
This matched the second largest comeback in SEC Tournament history.
Tennessee snapped its 11-game losing streak to AP ranked opponents.
Tennessee will face 1-seed South Carolina in the championship of the SEC Women's Basketball Tournament on Sunday at 3 P.M ET. This game will be aired on ESPN.