“We Back Pat” night saw the No. 23 Lady Vols play host to the surging LSU Tigers inside of a rowdy Thompson-Boling Arena. The 15-4 Lady Vols bounced back from Thursday’s loss at No. 3 UCONN with a 63-58 win over LSU.
The night to recognize Pat Summit and her career at the University of Tennessee is often played against the LSU Tigers as the Tiger’s head coach Nikki Fargas played a key role in the success of the Lady Vols’ as she was a player for Tennessee from 1990-94, and an assistant coach from 1998-99 and again from 2002-08.
Fargas has built the Tigers into a solid program in Baton Rouge as they have enjoyed recent success knocking off No. 10 Texas A&M and No.11 Kentucky in the month of February as they come to Knoxville at 4-2 in the month, only losing those two games by 4 points each.
The Lady Vols started the game off on a rough stretch going down 4-11 after LSU sparked a quick 7-0 run led by senior forward Ayana Mitchell who scored the Tiger’s first 11 points. Rennia Davis and the Lady Vols answered with a 10-0 run of their own to take a 14-11 lead. LSU ended the first quarter knocking down a 2-point jumper to go into the second trailing the Lady Vols by one.
The second quarter was a sloppy one for Tennessee. The Lady Vols shot a rough 43% from the free throw line, only knocking down six of their fourteen chances. They also turned the ball over four times and committed five fouls.
Despite the sloppy play on the offensive end, the Lady Vols held LSU to only four made field goals on seventeen attempts. Excellent defensive play created many opportunities on the fast break as Rennia Davis took advantage and was a perfect 4 of 4 from the field along with going 4-for-4 from the free throw line to score 12 of Tennessee’s 16 points in the second quarter. Davis led the Lady Vols on an 8-1 run to finish the half with a 30-26 lead.
Tennessee continued its defensive stand into the second half holding LSU to shooting just 37% from the field. Seemingly no Tiger could breakthrough the Lady Vols’ defense except for senior forward Ayana Mitchell. Mitchell racked up 11 points in the second half to finish the game with 25 points along with 12 rebounds, 5 of which were off the offensive glass.
LSU was able to limit Rennia Davis to just 2 points in the fourth quarter, but Jazmine Massengill stepped up and hit three big shots, scoring all of her 7 points in the fourth. Massengill’s solid fourth quarter finished off the Tigers as the Lady Vols rebounded from their loss to UConn on Thursday to beat LSU by a score of 63-58.
“What we just had to do was very difficult,” head coach Kellie Harper said postgame. “We were coming off a very tough game and I knew this matchup was going to be an extremely physical game. I am extremely proud of what they did, hats off to our players.”
Rennia Davis finished with 30 points, which is good enough for fourth best by a player in an SEC game this season.
“It is very nice to have a player you can rely on,”Massengill said postgame when asked about the performance of Davis. Davis also tallied eight rebounds and was a perfect 10 of 10 from the free throw line.
Other notable performances include Lady Vol freshman Jordan Horston racking up 9 assists and 6-foot-5 freshman center Tamari Key blocking 4 shots. For LSU, junior guard Khayla Pointer had 12 points and notched 3 steals on the evening.
The Lady Vols will be back in action on January 30thagainst Vanderbilt in Nashville.