Seniors Lead Virginia To 69-64 Overtime Victory Over Third-Ranked Tennessee
CHARLOTTESVILLE (AP) – Virginia senior forward Chelsea Shine scored 18 points, including a key basket in overtime, and Virginia stunned turnover-prone No. 3 Tennessee, 69-64, on Sunday (Nov. 20).
The Cavaliers (4-0) came into the game allowing just over 42 points a game under first-year coach Joanne Boyle, and dictated the pace against a Lady Vols team averaging 90.5 points.
Taber Spani led the Lady Vols (2-1) with 22 points, including a 3-pointer 59 seconds into overtime that gave Tennessee a 61-58 lead, but the Cavaliers scored the next 11 points, the crowd at John Paul Jones Arena getting more excited with each basket.
China Crosby had 13 points and Ataira Franklin 12 for Virginia, which beat Tennessee for just the third time in 16 games. Lexie Gerson and Ariana Moorer each scored 10.
Shekinna Stricklen had 16 and Glory Johnson 15 for the Lady Vols, who missed 10 of 21 free throws.
In the overtime, after Spani’s 3-pointer, Moorer hit a pair of free throws, and then a foul-line jumper, one of only three baskets she made in 16 tries. Shine followed a turnover the Tennessee with a short baseline jumper, and Crosby hit 3 of 4 free throws to make it 67-61.
The Lady Vols never had an answer, and each time they failed to score and Virginia came away with the ball, the crowd of 6,450 at John Paul Jones Arena got louder and more excited.
Stricklen had a chance to give the Lady Vols the lead near the end of regulation when she was fouled while scoring, but she missed the free throw, one of 10 misses in 21 tries for Tennessee. The Lady Vols also had 24 turnovers that the Cavaliers turned into 27 points.
Crosby broke a 56-all tie with 36.6 seconds to go in regulation, hitting a desperate shot from the baseline with the shot clock running down. After a timeout, Spani calmly swished a 12-footer from the left baseline with 22.8 seconds to go, pulling Tennessee even again.
Moorer’s last chance drive in regulation was cleanly blocked just before the buzzer.
The Cavaliers tightened their defense and Tennessee continued to be sloppy early in the second half as Virginia opened the half on a 14-6 run. The Cavaliers led by as many as nine and by 47-40 when the Lady Vols began asserting themselves on the offensive glass and rallied.
Tennessee scored eight straight points, taking its first lead since the first half, but Shine scored inside and Crosby’s three-point play boosted the Cavaliers’ edge back to 52-48.
The Lady Vols pulled even three times, but only led once thereafter.
It was the first road game for Tennessee since coach Pat Summitt announced in the offseason that she has been diagnosed with early onset dementia. She received a warm welcome when she came out onto the floor just before the game.
Virginia used a 12-2 run to take a 24-20 lead in a sloppy first half. The Lady Vols turned the ball over at least seven times in the drought, and went almost 5 minutes without scoring.
Spani, who hit the floor hard at one point and went back to the locker room, led Tennessee with 12 points in the half, and Gerson led the Cavaliers with eight.