No. 22 Tennessee was defeated by the No. 1/2 South Carolina Gamecocks 69-48, in Colonial Life Arena on Sunday. The Lady Vols drop to 17-5 on the season and are now 7-2 in SEC play, while South Carolina improves to 21-1, and 8-1 in the SEC.
Rennia Davis led Tennessee in scoring with 18 points, and also recorded 10 rebounds, as she recorded another double-double. Tamari Key finished with a career-high nine blocks during the contest. That mark sets a new Lady Vol freshman single-game record.
Davis’s double-double for the game gives her eight all season, and her 26th of her career. She is 11th all-time in career double-doubles in the Tennessee program.
Zia Cooke of South Carolina finished with a game-high 20 points. Destanni Henderson and Aliyah Boston finished with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
The Lady Vols started off slow by turning the ball over two times during their first two possessions. Tennessee’s first basket came courtesy of a Lou Brown layup, which tied the game at two. Key recorded three of her nine blocks during the first three minutes of play to help keep the score close at 8-4, before the first media timeout. The Lady Vols came out of the break getting a three from Rae Burrell. South Carolina answered with five points to take an eight point lead. After that, they went on a 6-0 run to take a 21-9 lead into the second quarter.
In the first four minutes of the second quarter, both teams combined for just three points. Tyasha Harris helped to break scoreless streak, the Davis answered to set the score at 24-13, in favor of South Carolina. Harris got the call again and made a three to start a 10-2 run for South Carolina to put the score at 34-15. Kasiyahna Kushkituah and Jazmine Massengill combined for four unanswered points at the end of the half to cut the deficit to 38-23.
Tennessee started off the half by scoring six points to push their run to 10-0 and also cut the lead to nine. After a couple of minutes, South Carolina pushed their lead back up to 14, but Davis scored five straight points bring the game closer. Henderson caught fire for the Gamecocks, as she scored seven points to help give South Carolina a 9-0 run. The scored entering the final period was 56-36 South Carolina.
The final quarter started with both teams trading baskets. The Lady Vols started on a 5-0 run to bring Carolina’s lead to 16. However, LeLe Grissett stopped Tennessee’s momentum with a three-point play and Carolina eventually sealed the 69-48 victory.
The Lady Vols’ next opponent will be No.9/8 Mississippi State on Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. in Thompson-Boling Arena.