Thriller Goes to Tennessee

Commodores fall in final minute to Lady Vols

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Junior Chelsie Hall, who finished with a team-high 20 points, took a 3 from the corner that would have given Vanderbilt women’s basketball a lead in the final minute, but it did not fall and Tennessee prevailed in Knoxville 67-63 Sunday afternoon.

Vanderbilt (13-14, 3-11 SEC), which won for the first time in Knoxville last season, nearly knocked off the Lady Vols for the second straight year in Thompson-Boling Arena.

Three Commodores were in double figures, led by Hall’s second 20-point game of the season to go along with her seven rebounds. Fifth-year senior Mariella Fasoula added her seventh double-double of the season with 18 points on 8 of 13 shooting and 13 rebounds while sophomore Jordyn Cambridge added 11 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals.

How it Happened

It was a defensive battle to start as neither team was in double digits after the first six minutes. Tennessee (18-9, 8-6 SEC) eventually built a seven-point lead, but Cambridge hit a 3 at the buzzer to pull within 18-14 after the first quarter.

Tennessee took a double-digit lead with 10 straight points and a 12-2 run to go up 32-18 with less than four minutes to go in the first half. But Hall rattled off 11 straight points and pulled the Commodores within 38-33 at the half.

The Lady Vols led 45-37 midway through the third quarter, but Vanderbilt battled back on the road and held its hosts scoreless for more than three minutes in a 7-0 run that closed the gap to 45-44 with less than three minutes to play in the quarter.

Tennessee brought a 51-47 advantage into the final 10 minutes and it was 55-51 when Vanderbilt scored five in a row to take the lead — Hall made a 3 and Love dropped in a lay up for a 56-55 lead with 6:02 to play.

An 8-0 run gave the Lady Vols a 63-56 edge with 4:04 to go. But once again, Vanderbilt battled back. Cambridge and Hall made back-to-back buckets to pull within one possession and when freshman Koi Love scored on a driving layup it was a one-point game, 64-63, with 1:25 left.

After a defensive stop, Hall was open in the corner and had a chance to put the Commodores on top with 51 seconds to go but it rattled out.

Tennessee scored to make it 66-63 and Vanderbilt had two shots to tie in the closing seconds but each was off the mark.

By the Numbers

Vanderbilt shot 40 percent for the game and held the Lady Vols to 36 percent from the field, but Tennessee had 22 offensive rebounds and led 50-45 on the boards. The Commodores had 20 turnovers to Tennessee’s 14.

Love added eight points and was 4 of 6 in the second half.

On Deck

One week remains in the regular season. The Commodores travel to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to take on LSU at 6:30 p.m. Thursday and return home for senior day against Kentucky at 1:05 p.m. Sunday. The SEC Tournament will begin in Greenville, S.C., March 4-8.

Thriller In Knoxville by Vanderbilt Athletics on Exposure