Lady Vols’ Upset Bid Falls Short At UConn, 60-45

Tennessee Vols

UT

HARTFORD, Conn. – No. 23/25 Tennessee took a 31-28 lead into halftime but couldn’t hang on, falling to No. 3/5 UConn in front of a crowd of 13,659 at the XL Center on Thursday night, 60-45.
 
The game was the first time the two teams had met since Jan. 6, 2007, when Candace Parker led UT to a 70-64 victory in Hartford in a No. 4 vs. No. 5 match-up. The game was the first of a two-year Basketball Hall of Fame Revival Series, from which a portion of the proceeds benefit the Pat Summitt Foundation, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
 
Rennia Davis paced Tennessee (15-4, 5-1 SEC) with 16 points and eight rebounds, while sophomore Jazmine Massengill turned in 11 points and five assists.
 
UConn (17-1, 7-0 ACC) was led by Crystal Dangerfield with 14 and Aubrey Griffin with 13.

Davis poured in five points in the opening minutes to help UT jump out to a 10-4 lead by the 6:12 mark. UConn quickly battled back, trailing just 12-10 by the media timeout.  Sophomore Rae Burrell pitched in four points following the break to put the Lady Vols ahead by six with under two minutes remaining in the period, but the Huskies answered with back-to-back buckets to cut the lead to 16-14 to start the second frame.
 
Freshman Tamari Key was the first to score in the second quarter, and Davis followed it up with a layup to stretch the lead back to six a minute and a half in. Dangerfield put UConn within five with a 10-foot jumper, but Massengill scored six quick points to stretch UT’s lead to 26-18 with just over six minutes remaining in the half. The Huskies cut their deficit to five with a Megan Walker 3-pointer before the media break and followed it up with two Griffin free throws and a layup to pull within one by the 3:42 mark. Rae Burrell knocked down a jumper to stop the run and put UT up by three with just over two minutes left in the half. In the final minute UConn converted a Tennessee turnover into three points, but Davis answered with a clutch trey on the other end to put the Lady Vols ahead 31-28 at the half.
 
Tennessee out-shot the Huskies 43 percent to 31 percent in the first half, holding them to just 11 of 35 from the floor and two of 10 from behind the arc.
 
The Lady Vols’ shooting went cold in the second half, and they were plagued by turnovers. They remained scoreless for nearly four minutes, while UConn took the lead off a 7-0 run before Davis hit a layup to end the drought and bring the score to 35-33. The Huskies kept the pressure on, launching into a 10-0 run before Massengill scored five points on back-to-back possessions to cut the lead to 47-38. Olivia Nelson-Ododa converted on two free throws for the Huskies to close out the period up 49-38.
 
The teams traded baskets in the opening minutes of the fourth until Nelson-Ododa scored seven-straight points to put UConn up 59-42 with 2:30 left in the game. Burrell scored three points to finish the game, but it wasn’t enough as Tennessee fell, 60-45.
  
Up Next: UT returns to conference play, hosting LSU in a “We Back Pat” game on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Thompson-Boling Arena. The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network.
 
Taming Their Offense: Coming into the contest the Huskies were shooting .478 from the floor and .387 from behind the arc. Tennessee limited them to .315 percent overall shooting and .222 from 3-point range. UConn was also averaging 78.5 points per contest on the season, with the 60 points against UT standing as the third-fewest they’ve scored this season.
 
Double-Digit DavisRennia Davis’ 16 points against UConn was the 18th double-digit performance of the season and the 64th of her career. She is currently fourth in the SEC in scoring, averaging 17.3 ppg.
 
Jaz Taking Care of Business: Jazmine Massengill put up 11 points against UConn while dishing out a game-high five assists and snagging a season-high-tying three steals. It’s the seventh game this season in which she’s tallied five or more assists and the fourth time she’s led the team in steals.

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