LSU knocks off No. 1 Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.- LSU shook off an early 21-2 defecit at No. 1 Tennessee and took sole control of the SEC standings with a 78-62 win over the Lady Vols. It was LSU's second straight win over Tennessee.

Nothing was going well for the Tigers early on as Tennessee's Candace Parker needed only four minutes to break double digit points. It didn't matter where they were on the floor, Tennessee was making shots early, 70 percent in the first five minutes. LSU was forced to call two timeouts to try and stop the Lady Vol run. LSU head coach Van Chancellor encouraged his players to keep playing hard, but after he saw little change he challenged them personally in the second timeout.

"When it was 21-2 I didn't want to answer my cell phone, I thought it may be the athletic director taking my job," Chancellor said after the win.

The 19-point lead quickly evaporated as LSU began to create turnovers and hit their outside shots. At one point late in the first half the Tigers even took a brief lead, before Tennessee went up three at the break.

The second half was back and forth until LSU went up for good 39-38 behind an Allison Hightower jumper from the right baseline with 14 minutes remaining. Hightower finished with 10 points on the night and received praise from her coach after the game.

"She's the best sixth player in the country," Chancellor said. Hightower provided some instant offense off the LSU bench in the second half hitting two straight mid-range jumpers on back-to-back possessions.

Tennessee often seemed frustrated on the offensive end in the second half. There was often very little offensive motion and then a desperate shot to avoid a shot clock violation. Parker had little help from her teammates. Alexis Hornbuckle, Shannon Bobbitt and Alberta Auguste combined to go 6-of-28 from the floor.

LSU stretched the lead to double digits with four minutes remaining and even briefly to 18 behind transition buckets and some late free-throws.

Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt voiced her displeasure with her team after the game.

"I am not happy with much of anything that happened tonight," Summitt said in the post-game press conference. "This is unacceptable." Only three days after her team almost blew a double digit lead against Rutgers the Lady Vols once again let a big lead dwindle.

"This team is not a team that gets excited to play 40 minutes," Summitt said. "They pick and choose when to play hard."

Parker finished with 26 points, but was inaffective offensively for long stretches of the first and second half as LSU made a defensive switch matching her up with Sylvia Fowles. The 6-6 Tigers center was a force in the second half totaling 17 points and 14 rebounds. She managed to get great position on the Lady Vol post players to score around the bucket. LSU had six players finish in double figures.

With the win LSU moves into first place in the SEC standings with a 10-0 record. They hold the tie-breaker for the league regular season title over the Lady Vols.

Player of the game: LSU's Sylvia Fowles who finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds dominated the paint in the second half and helped limit Candace Parker for the final 30 minutes of play.

Next up for LSU: Sunday vs. Mississippi

Next up for Tennessee: Sunday at Vanderbilt

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