For the second straight year, the LSU Lady Tigers found out the hard way.
On Sunday evening, playing on floor
where they won the tournament in 2003, LSU fell to
"Coach told me to dribble some time off, then we went into our isolation play,'' said Parker. "I knew they would not double down because of our outside shooters. I was taller so I just shot the ball over her.''
LSU's answer was to go to senior to Seimone Augustus, but her free throw lane jumper missed and UT rebounded with 9 seconds left.
"I wasn't open into the basket,'' said Augustus, who finished with 24 points. "Spence, I believe, I don't know which player it was but she held off. I didn't want to take a chance at drawing a foul, losing the ball, whatever the case may have been, so I stopped and shot the jumper.''
It took UT three tries to get the ball inbounds – Scholanda Hoston nearly stole the first one was but was ruled out of bound and the Lady Vols had to use a timeout to save a five-second call on a second try. They were finally successful and ran out the final 3 seconds to send the most of the crowd of 8,255 into celebration.
"I credit our team for still putting ourselves in a position to have a shot a winning the basketball game,'' said LSU coach Pokey Chatman. "But when you give up 10 three-pointers in this environment this late in the year, it's going to be a struggle, uphill battle.
"You know, so often we get lost in things, this basketball game that has such elite athletes on the court, it gets lost in the shuffle. So often the mental to physical is a four to one.
"And the mental part of that is as
close to 40 minutes as possible. Whenever you face a touch opponent like
The Lady Vols had two less field goals and one less free throw than LSU, but used the 3-pointer as the equalizer. With Sylvia Fowles taking away the inside game – seven blocks, including four in the opening minutes – they had to look elsewhere and they found their answer outside the 3-point arc.
UT was 10 of 19 in the game, but was 6 of 10 in the first half.
"They dominated inside,'' said Zolman, who also had eight assists. "When that wasn't going as well as it has in the past, Sid stepped up tremendously from the outside. She had a lot of open looks was able to knock them down.''
The Augustus miss was the second by LSU in the closing minute. Leading
62-61 with 32.2 left, point guard Erica White missed the front of a one-and-one and set up the game winner by Parker.
"It was a one-on-one matchup,'' said Scholanda Hoston, who guard Parker on the play. "They cleared out. I forced her to her left where I felt it was a little less of a comfort zone for her. She shot a fade-away one-handed jumper and it went in.''
Parker finished with 20 points.
"Well, first of all, I've said many times that I think Candace Parker, I don't think there's any question who the freshman player of the year should be. People are talking about all the names out there. In my opinion, there's only one that can do what she can do. … You know there so many dimensions to her game that it's very difficult for teams to say ‘We're going to stop her because she's going to be on the low block."
Unlike in the previous tournament
games, LSU would go on runs but
LSU was up 62-58 with 49 seconds left but Zolman's 3-pointer 14 seconds later set the Lady Vols up for the victory.
Fowles finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
In the first half, LSU led by as many as 22-15 and trailed by as many as 36-30.
"Well I think in a game like this it's a team that obviously has an opportunity to have the ball last and win the game because of it,'' said Summitt. "We chose to foul. We knew we would get the ball back one more time to score. I guess I trusted our team offensively. I thought we struggled during the second half.
"LSU is a great, great basketball team. I think we both should get a No. 1