TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WATE) — The 11th-ranked Lady Vols dropped their first game of the season in heartbreaking fashion on Thursday in a Top 20 clash against Florida State.
Jewel Spear, the Tennessee senior transfer from Wake Forest, picked off right where she left off on Tuesday by knocking back a three to kick off the scoring with the Seminoles.
Playing their third game in five days started to show, the Lady Vols quickly falling behind as the first half unfolded. Florida State’s ability from three didn’t help matters, securing six triples by the end of the first quarter allowed them to rack up 34 points in the first 10 minutes.
The Seminoles fast-paced tempo took the Lady Vols for a spin. Tennessee had to fight back from a 15-point early deficit. The Lady Vols looked to have adjusted by the second quarter and cut the Seminoles’ margin to just four with a 10-point run to kick off the quarter.
That run was finished with two Rickea Jackson buckets, the senior accumulated 18 points before the break and secured the first Lady Vol double-double of the season less than two minutes into the second half. Jackson finished the game with 31 points and 17 rebounds, the latter being the highest of her career.
Florida State’ knocked down nine three-pointers in the first half and entered the locker room with an eight-point lead. The Seminoles went on to finish the night with 13 three’s.
Tennessee ending up trailing all but 1:10 minutes of the first half.
The Lady Vols defense kicked into gear during the second quarter and that continued into the third. Fighting from behind Tennessee took their first lead since the start of the game after Tess Darby made back-to-back threes. Her effort was a part of a 12-2 Lady Vol run to give Tennessee a two-point advantage.
The senior didn’t stop there, Darby collected eight points in just over 90 seconds to give the Lady Vols a six-point lead with less than a minute remaining in the third.
Florida State knocked Tennessee’s lead down to just two heading into the final 10.
The Lady Vols started to take a page from the Seminoles playbook, upping their three point percentage to 50-percent by the beginning of the fourth, after making just 29-percent at the end of the first.
Florida State and the Lady Vols continue to battle it out in the fourth quarter, the Seminoles trying it up as the three minute mark approached, 86-86.
Nail-biting final minutes ensued. Jackson had a chance with seconds on the clock but it went left. Spear tried for the second-chance but it missed at the buzzer. Florida State took the narrow victory by a score of 92-91.