Tennessee Lady Vols escape LSU with 64-63 win: Three takeaways

The Tennessee Lady Vols barely beat the Tigers. Here’s what we learned from the women’s basketball Volunteers’ victory.

Tiara Young missed a potential game-winning layup layup with one second left, and the Tennessee Lady Vols overcame four missed free throws in the final 20 seconds to hold on to a 64-63 win at the LSU Tigers Sunday afternoon. This was the sixth straight win for Kellie Harper’s team.

Neither team ever led by more than two scores in this one. UT led 64-60 with 28 seconds to go, but Young hit a jumper and an and-one to cut it to 64-63. Rocky Top then suffered four straight missed free throws from two different players but was still able to run out the clock with two offensive rebounds. When LSU finally got the ball back, there were only 14 seconds left.

With the win, UT improves to 8-1 overall and 2-0 in the SEC. LSU falls to 4-6 overall and 2-2 in the SEC. Up next for the Tennessee Lady Vols is a Thursday matchup with the Georgia Bulldogs. Here are three takeaways from their Sunday win.

1. Little mistakes offensively nearly proved costly.

As you could guess by what we mentioned in our opener, UT was awful at the foul line in this game. They shot 13-of-22 overall, and it was the worst at the end. Kasiyahna Kushkituah missed the first two free throws with 22 seconds left and the Lady Vols up 64-63, but they got a second chance after an offensive rebound. Jordan Walker, a combo guard, then missed two of her own.

In addition to the missed free throws, turnovers were a huge problem. This team committed 19 on the night, bringing back shades of the issues they had last year when it came to taking care of the basketball. LSU deserves credit for coming away with 14 steals, but Walker just had a bad game, as she had four of those turnovers, and seven players overall had multiple turnovers.

2. Interior play was dominant.

We don’t just mean defense and rebounding here, although that was the difference. As we already mentioned, the Tennessee Lady Vols overcame those missed free throws thanks to two offensive rebounds, allowing them to run out the clock. They outrebounded the Tigers 39-25 on the day and had an amazing 17 offensive rebounds. Oh, Tamari Key and Rae Burrell each had four blocks too.

Speaking of Key, she had the type of game everybody has been waiting for her to have, finishing with 12 points and six rebounds. Despite her missed free throws, Kushkituah had eight points and seven rebounds off the bench. If Kushkituah made two of her three missed free throws, she would have had double figures as well. Rennia Davis did her part with nine rebounds as well.

3. Rae Burrell was the one consistent star.

Key and Kushkituah both struggled from the foul line, going 0-for-2 and 4-for-7 respectively. Jordan Horston did have 11 points, but she had four fouls, two turnovers and only one assist. Davis had an off-night, going 3-of-9 from the field, 2-of-4 from the line and scoring only eight points. Her rebounding did make up for it, though.

Anyway, only one player truly carried the team. Burrell led the way with 18 points. She went 2-of-3 from beyond the arc, didn’t miss a free throw and, as we already mentioned, had two blocks. Without Burrell, the Tennessee Lady Vols would have been even worse from the foul line. As a result, we had to name her specifically as the player of the game, offsetting numerous issues.