Feb. 10, 2005
By MARY FOSTER
AP Sports Writer
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Seimone Augustus and Sylvia Fowles considered going to Tennessee.
Both ended up at LSU, and on Thursday night it made all the difference for the top-ranked Lady Tigers.
Augustus scored 25 points and Fowles finished with 17 rebounds and five blocked shots, helping LSU beat No. 5 Tennessee 68-58 in a Southeastern Conference showdown.
Tennessee coach Pat Summitt could only heap praise on the players that got away, starting with Fowles.
"She really controlled a lot of the defensive side," Summitt said. "She made a difference with her size and ability to block shots. It is a devastating blow when the ball winds up in the fourth row of the bleachers."
It was the first time LSU (22-1, 8-0) beat Tennessee (18-4, 8-1) in two years. The loss snapped a 10-game winning streak for the Lady Vols and a 42-game SEC regular-season winning streak that dated to a loss at Vanderbilt on Feb. 2, 2002.
With a sellout crowd looking on, the Tigers shot 52 percent, including almost 58 percent in the second half, while holding Tennessee to 31 percent from the field.
Scholanda Hoston scored 16 for the Tigers.
"We didn't win the war on the boards," LSU coach Pokey Chatman said. "But we won the war in the paint. That's a stat we always look at. When you can beat Tennessee in the paint 34-14 good things are happening. It means you're running a good offense."
The crowd was the largest in LSU women's basketball history - 15,233 - and the fourth-largest in the history of the Pete Maravich Center.
It's a rivalry that LSU has long yearned to even up.
The first time LSU reached an NCAA regional final in 1986, it lost to Tennessee. Both times LSU won the SEC Tournament (1991 and '03) it had to beat Tennessee. When LSU finally reached its first Final Four in April in New Orleans, Tennessee was waiting. The Lady Vols' 52-50 victory sent LSU home. It was one of the 32 games Tennessee had won in 40 previous meetings with the Lady Tigers.
LSU opened the game with a 7-0 run and Tennessee trailed for nearly the entire first half. But LSU turned the ball over with 7 seconds left and Sade Wiley-Gatewood hit a 3-pointer to give the Lady Vols their first lead of the game, 28-27 at the half.
"It was a lot of fun," LSU guard Temeka Johnson said. "It's something that I've been waiting for. It's been a long time coming."
Tennessee stretched its lead to four on 3-pointers by Loree Moore and Brittany Jackson early in the second half, but LSU answered with a 10-1 run to go up 44-39. Augustus' jumper with 9:32 remaining gave the Tigers a 50-43 edge.
"We knew they were going to fight back," Augustus said. "We wanted to make sure we came out in the second half and didn't let them have the momentum."
LSU, with the top scoring defense in the SEC, held Tennessee to a pair of field goals for a 6:18 stretch. By the time Zolman's 3-pointer went in with 4:11 left, the Tigers led 59-48.
"We left the wrong people open," Zolman said. "We went over it in practice. We went over it in the locker room. And we knew exactly what we had to do from our scouting report. When it came down to having to execute it, we didn't do it."