No. 23/25 Tennessee fell to No. 3/5 UConn 60-45 at the XL Center on Thursday. The Lady Vols drop to 15-4 on the season and 5-1 in the SEC while the Huskies improve to 17-1 with a 7-0 AAC record.
Rennia Davis had a team high 16 points, along with eight rebounds, while Jazzmine Massengill dropped 11 points and had five assists. Ultimately, this was not enough to allow Tennessee to hold onto their 31-28 halftime lead. UConn’s Crystal Dangerfield and Aubrey Griffin scored 14 and 13 points, respectively, to help put the Huskies ahead.
The Lady Vols took a quick 10-4 advantage in the first quarter off of five Davis points. However, four minutes into the game, UConn pulled within two before the media timeout to make the score 12-10. Rae Burrell came out of the break by scoring four points for Tennessee, but UConn eventually made up the lost ground to cut the lead to 16-14, Lady Vols, before the end of the first quarter.
Tamari Key started the second quarter off with a score under the basket, and Davis added a layup to give Tennessee another six point lead. Dangerfield made a pull-up jumper to cut the lead back down to four, but Massengill immediately scored the Lady Vols’ next six points to put Tennessee ahead, 26-18. The Huskies’ Megan Walker made a three midway into the second, which followed two UConn free throws and a layup that shortened the lead to one. Rae Burrell put an end to the Huskies’ run with a mid range jumper. To end the half, both the Lady Vols and UConn made a three, with Tennessee leading at the break 31-28 .
During the first half, the Lady Vols out-shot the Huskies 43 to 31 percent, holding them to only 11 of 35 from the field and two for 10 from three.
Tennessee started off the half on a dry spell and started turning the ball over, which UConn took advantage of, as they went on a 7-0 run before a Davis layup ended the Lady Vols’ drought and brought the score to 35-33, with the Huskies ahead. UConn would then go on a 10-0 run before Masengill scored on back-to-back possessions for a total of five points to narrow the lead to 47-38.
The two teams went back and forth to open the final period, until the Huskies’ Olivia Nelson-Ododa scored seven-straight points to give UConn a 17 point lead with 2:30 minutes remaining. Tennessee would score to close the game out, but it was not enough, as UConn defeated the Lady Vols 60-45.
Tennessee’s next matchup will be against LSU as the Lady Vols comes home to host the “We Back Pat” game on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Thompson-Boling Arena.