Lady Vols Complete Perfect SEC Run
The Lady Vols got on top early and stayed on top throughout the game, but 23 turnovers including numerous unforced errors, kept the contest closer than expected. Gwen Jackson paced Tennessee's offense with 23 points, while Shyra Ely contributed 18 points and a career-high 17 rebounds. Kara Lawson added 16 points and three assists as the Lady Vols shot 54.7 percent from the field and knocked down 21-of-24 free throws. But underdog Kentucky (11-15, 4-10) was able to stay within striking range behind SeSe Helm's game-high 25 points and the Lady Vols inability to take care of the basketball. After No. 3 Tennessee (26-3,14-0) got out to a 17-6 advantage, it suffered through a seven-minute span in which it missed 8-of-12 shots and committed most of its 14 first half turnovers. They Wildcats cut UT's advantage to 23-21 when Rita Adams knocked down a 3-pointer with 5:23 remaining and tied the game at 23 all when she followed with a steal and layup. Tennessee responded by picking up the pace and applying more defensive pressure on the ball, closing the first half on an 11-3 run for a 34-26 lead at intermission. The Lady Vols opened the second half in similar fashion and built a 48-32 cushion. However the Lady Vols couldn't stand prosperity and Kentucky wouldn't go away. UT's offense started to sputter again and the Cats slowly clawed their way back into contention. A basket plus a free throw by Adams closed the gap to 62-58 with 6:28 remaining, before Tennessee regained control and eventually pushed its advantage to the final 15-point margin of victory. Tennessee's win ran its streak over Kentucky to 22 straight and 17 straight on the season. It was also the third time in six years that the Lady Vols have gone through the SEC regular season undefeated. Success in the SEC Tournament has proved more elusive for Tennessee which enters the conference's post season affair on Friday at Alltell Arena in Little Rock.
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