Lady Vols basketball can't solve No. 3 LSU, Kim Mulkey in front of record-breaking crowd
Angel Reese took her time celebrating a steal and score bucket in the fourth quarter.
Lady Vols basketball contained No. 3 LSU's double-double machine in the first half, but that didn't last. Reese stole the ball from Rickea Jackson and drew the foul as her layup fell through the net. Her three-point play was amidst an 11-0 run to give LSU a 12-point lead halfway through the fourth quarter.
Tennessee (16-8, 8-1 SEC) fought to recover, but it committed six of its 16 turnovers in the fourth quarter. The Lady Vols fell 76-68 to LSU (21-0, 9-0) on Monday in front of a record-breaking crowd of 15,157 at Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The Lady Vols have lost every game against ranked opponents this season. LSU created separation by getting to the free throw line, going 23-for-31 from the free-throw line. Tennessee only shot 12 free throws and made six.
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Jordan Walker led Tennessee with a season-high 19 points and Jackson added 17 points and eight rebounds. Reese notched her 21st straight double-double (18 points, 17 rebounds) and Alexis Morris scored a game-high 31 points.
Tennessee loses battle on the boards
Reese only had one rebound in the first quarter.
Tennessee kept the battle on the boards an even 11-11 after the first quarter and had four second-chance points to LSU's one. Tennessee outrebounded LSU 27-20 in the first half and limited Reese to four rebounds – all of them defensive – and four points in the first half.
But LSU made a quick turnaround on the boards in the second half. Three minutes into the third quarter, LSU grabbed four offensive rebounds on one possession before getting a shot to fall and took its largest lead of the night at 44-34.
LSU ended up outrebounding Tennessee 45-38.
Lady Vols hit from deep to stay close in first half
LSU was outscoring Tennessee in the paint 22-10 in the first half. But the Lady Vols went 4-for-12 from behind the arc and only trailed 34-29 at halftime.
Part of that was due to foul trouble for posts Karoline Striplin and Jillian Hollingshead, who didn't play at all in the second quarter.
LSU didn't get many chances from 3-point range and only went 1-for-5 in the first half. Tennessee only let the Tigers get out in transition a few times and held LSU to fewer than 20 points in the first two quarters.
Tennessee relies on defense to get back in game
LSU was on an 8-0 run when it took a 14-point lead halfway through the third quarter.
But then Tennessee kept LSU from scoring a field goal for the last 5:45 of the third. The Lady Vols ended the quarter on a 13-2 run and the only two LSU points were free throws.
Sara Puckett and Jackson led the way, combining for 14 points in the third. Puckett hit a crucial 3-pointer in the last minute to cut the lead to 50-47 going into the fourth quarter.
Tennessee returns to Knoxville to face Ole Miss (18-4, 7-2) on Thursday (6:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network+) at Thompson-Boling Arena.
This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Lady Vols basketball falls on the road to No. 3 LSU, Kim Mulkey