#18 Kentucky Claws Past #8 Lady Vols, 75-71
Sunday, February 16, 2014
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Kentucky won in Knoxville for the first time since 1985 as the #18 Wildcats upset #8 Tennessee, 75-71, before a season-high 15,664 fans at Thompson-Boling Arena. The Lady Vols saw their six-game winning streak come to an end as well as their 16-game home court win streak vs. Kentucky. The Wildcats last won at UT on Jan. 23, 1985. It was just Kentucky's third win in Knoxville in 25 all-time meetings.
Tennessee is now 20-5 overall and 9-3 in the SEC, falling two games behind first-place South Carolina in a loss column. Kentucky moved to 19-6 overall and 7-5 in the league.
The game served as UT's annual `Live Pink, Bleed Orange' Game as part of ESPN's basketball showcase for `Play4Kay.'
Junior Isabelle Harrison posted her 12th double-double of the season with 20 points and 16 rebounds.
Sophomore Bashaara Graves had her best game since early in the season, as she netted 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
Meighan Simmons added 13 points for Tennessee, her eighth game in a row in double-figures.
Kentucky had three players in double-figures led by Jennifer O'Neill, who tallied 24. DeNasha Stallworth had 17 and Janee Thompson added 15. The Wildcats received a strong showing from their bench, led by O'Neill, outscoring Tennessee, 33-10.
The game featured six ties and nine lead changes.
Kentucky regained the lead for good on a steal and breakaway layup by O'Neill with 2:23 left in the game. That put the Cats up 70-69. O'Neill knocked down another jumper with 1:39 left as she scored six consecutive points for Kentucky.
Bria Goss made a free throw with 35 seconds left to put the Cats up by four points, 73-69. Graves quickly answered for Tennessee with a layup with 26.1 left to make it a two-point game.
After Thompson missed a free throw with 13 seconds left, Harrison grabbed her 16th rebound of the game to set up a possible winning shot.
After each team called timeout with 5.4 seconds remaining. Tennessee lost possession of the ball and Kastine Evans came away with the ball with four-tenths of a second on the clock. She made both free throws to secure the win for Kentucky.
Down by as many as eight points in the second half, the Lady Vols clawed back to take a 65-64 lead on a Harrison spinning outback layup with 5:43 left in the game.
Freshman Jordan Reynolds added a pair of free throws to give the Lady Vols a 67-64 lead, finishing off a 15-4 spurt with 4:30 left.
For the first 28 minutes, the game was separated by no more than five points. Kentucky took an eight-point lead at 56-48, scoring seven consecutive points on a 3-pointer by O'Neill and a pair of jumpers by Linnae Harper and Stallworth.
Kentucky outscored the Lady Vols 18-6 during a stretch midway in the second half to take a 60-52 lead with nine minutes left as Bria Goss converted a pair of free throws.
The first half was within two possessions for the entire 20 minutes as Kentucky led 38-34 at halftime. Harrison led Tennessee with 12 first-point points while Kentucky had a pair of players in double-figures as O'Neill (13) and Thompson (11) topped the Cats' scoring chart.
Each team held five-point leads for the largest margins of the half.
Kentucky now trails the all-time series, 49-10.
Tennessee returns to action on Thursday night as Auburn comes to Thompson-Boling Arena for a 7 p.m., tip-off. That game airs on CSS and can be heard on the Lady Vol Network.