KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Lady Vols kept it close up until the break, but the second-half play from South Carolina proved too hard to combat, Tennessee ending behind 74-58 in the SEC Championship.
Jordan Horston was able to snag the first bucket of the night, Tennessee staying within five of South Carolina throughout the whole first quarter.
The Lady Vols were plagued by turnovers in their last few contests but seemed to keep the issue under control early against the Gamecocks, keeping the turnovers to just three in the first quarter.
Horston nailed two as the first-quarter buzzer sounded, keeping the Lady Vols and Gamecocks within two after one.
Rickea Jackson tied things between the two teams for the first and only time in the game as the second quarter got underway, 21-21.
The Lady Vols were able to find a way inside even with the Gamecocks’ size at the beginning, but Tennessee saw their scoring percentage fall to 40 percent in the second quarter, allowing South Carolina to build their lead to as many as 12.
Tennesse’s defense was working, but South Carolina’s ability to get inside the paint also allowed their lead to build.
Making some little costly mistakes in the early parts of the second, the Lady Vols managed to enter the half down just six, South Carolina leading 37-31.
Rickea Jackson was able to cut the Gamecocks’ scoring margin to three early in the second, but South Carolina built it right back up to 10 by the midway point of the quarter.
Tennessee only shot 17.6 percent from the field during the third, giving South Carolina the opening they needed.
The Gamecocks continued down the leading path, jumping out to their biggest edge of the night with 2:04 left in the third quarter, 55-40.
As the second half continued, South Carolina proved why no one has been able to hand them a loss this year, pulling past the Lady Vols by 26 to take the SEC Championship.