March 7, 2014
DULUTH, Ga. -- Isabelle Harrison scored 21 points, Meighan Simmons and Bashaara Graves each added 14 and No. 6 Tennessee used an overpowering late run to beat LSU 77-65 in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament on Friday night.
UT came back from a 15-point first-half deficit to overtake the Lady Tigers, tying for the team's biggest rally of the season. The Big Orange women also bounced back after trailing by 15 at Alabama on Feb. 2 to win, 64-54.
The second-seeded Lady Vols (25-5) have won five straight and 11 of 12, and advance to Saturday's semifinal round. UT will now face No. 3 seed Texas A&M (24-7), an 86-54 Friday night winner over Auburn, at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in a game that will be televised by ESPNU.
Theresa Plaisance finished with 21 points and Danielle Ballard scored 15 for LSU (19-12). The Lady Tigers, seeded 10th, have lost seven of eight.
Tennessee's 19-0 run late in the second half made it 70-55 lead on Simmons' two free throws, but the game's first 35 minutes were tough on the fifth-leading scorer in school history.
Simmons, who had averaged over 22 points in the previous three games, was just 3 for 16 from the field before her reverse layup from the baseline ended a fast break to force a 55-all tie.
Harrison followed with a runner over Plaisance to make it 57-55 and give the Lady Vols their first lead since 4-3 and bring the large contingent of cheering Tennessee fans to their feet at The Arena at Gwinnett Center.
With 12 rebounds, Harrison recorded her 16th double-double this season, tying her with Chamique Holdsclaw for the most ever recorded by a Lady Vol junior. She now has 22 for her career, tying her for eight in school history with Shyra Ely, Karla Horton and Shekinna Stricklen.
Trailing 4-0, LSU went on a 27-8 run, ending with Jeanne Kenney's third 3-pointer, to take a 15-point lead with 9:29 left in the first half. Plaisance had 14 points to help the Lady Tigers take a 34-22 lead, but Tennessee closed to within six at halftime.
The Lady Vols chipped away at the lead before Cierra Burdick's layup forced a 43-all tie.
LSU coach Nikki Caldwell called timeout to try and settle down her team, and Plaisance followed with a 15-footer on the ensuing possession and a straightaway 3 that made it 48-43 with 11:54 remaining.
But the Lady Tigers couldn't overcome getting outscored 52-18 in the paint and 25-5 on turnovers.
LSU also struggled with inconsistent shooting. After beginning the game 10 for 16, the Lady Tigers missed 27 of their next 37 shots.
Burdick had 10 points and 11 rebounds for her fifth double-double of the campaign and 11th of her career.