Lady Vols basketball rallies from 17-point deficit, upsets LSU in SEC Tournament semifinal

Lady Vols basketball rallies from 17-point deficit, upsets LSU in SEC Tournament semifinal

GREENVILLE S.C. – Everything Lady Vols basketball has been building this season felt like it was cratering on Saturday at Bon Secours Wellness Arena.

No. 3 seed Tennessee was trailing No. 2 seed LSU by 17 points early in the second quarter of the SEC Tournament semifinals. The Lady Vols were turning the ball over left and right, and the Tigers’ confidence grew with every possession.

But the game is never over with this Tennessee team. The Lady Vols launched a comeback that made every loss this season worth the trouble. It was a full team effort, led by Rickea Jackson’s 26 points to upset LSU 69-67.

Tennessee (23-10) advances to its first SEC Tournament final since 2015 when it was SEC regular season co-champions with South Carolina. The Lady Vols last won the SEC Tournament in 2014. Tennessee will face No. 1 seed South Carolina (31-0), which has won six of the last eight SEC tournaments. The Gamecocks made it to the SEC Tournament final last season, but were upset by Kentucky.

LSU (28-2) was led by 22 points from Angel Reese and 20 points from Alexis Morris.

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Lady Vols come out flat, dig themselves into hole

Tennessee had about the worst start it could have against LSU.

The Lady Vols looked like a shadow of the team they have been in February, committing five turnovers in the first quarter and shooting only 25%. LSU couldn’t miss and led 22-10 after the first.

One and a half minutes into the second quarter, LSU extended its lead to 17 points. Lady Vols coach Kellie Harper called a timeout, and Tennessee came out of it with renewed energy and effort.

But it wasn’t enough to overcome the flat start and 13 first-half turnovers, and LSU led 40-26 at halftime.

Tennessee gets back on track with third quarter run

The Lady Vols got themselves back into the game in the third quarter, outscoring LSU 21-11.

They committed only two turnovers and outrebounded the Tigers 9-7, led by Horston’s four. Tennessee switched to a zone defense and was able to limit LSU’s scoring. Reese was the only one to find success with nine of the Tigers’ 11 points.

LSU shot just 18.8% in the third after shooting 51.4% in the first half. Tennessee went on an 11-1 run at one point and built momentum going into the fourth quarter only trailing by four points.