Lady Vols defeat LSU 74-65 to snap six-game losing streak
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee’s longest losing streak in nearly half a century is finally over.
Rennia Davis scored 24 points to break out of her personal slump Sunday as Tennessee defeated LSU 74-65 to snap a six-game skid.
Tennessee (13-7, 2-5) hadn’t lost six straight games since 1970.
“There’s a time and place for everything,” Davis said. “Of course, I didn’t want to lose six games in a row, but maybe we needed that. Maybe we needed to see that we needed to get back to Tennessee basketball, we needed to play hard every possession, we needed to get defensive stops, we needed to make them turn over the ball.”
Davis shot 8 of 15 from the floor and 8 of 8 from the free-throw line to match her highest scoring total of the season.
Although she is Tennessee’s second-leading scorer this season, Davis had shot a combined 8 of 43 from the floor in the four games leading up to this one. The 6-foot-2 sophomore had averaged just 5.3 points during that stretch.
“I tried to come into this game with my mind cleared,” Davis said. “I put a lot of pressure on myself for the most part just because I know that this team needs me as we need everybody else. But this game, I just tried to just come in and just play and do what I’m capable of doing. I tried to use my size to my advantage on the smaller guards, shoot over the top and shots were just going in.”
Kasiyahna Kushkituah had a career-high 14 points, Jazmine Massengill scored 12 and Zaay Green added 10 for Tennessee (13-7, 2-5 SEC). Cheridene Green had eight points and 10 rebounds.
The Lady Vols won despite missing all 13 of their 3-point attempts.
Khayla Pointer scored 17 points and Mercedes Brooks had 13 for LSU. Ayana Mitchell added 12 points and 10 rebounds.
LSU (12-7, 3-4) committed 25 turnovers to lose for the third time in its last four games.
“I think our inability to take care of the ball gave them so many transition opportunities,” Pointer said. “When you give a team like Tennessee this many baskets in transition, you put yourself in a pretty deep hole.”
Tennessee took the lead for good less than three minutes into the game, though the margin was never larger than 11 points.
Massengill helped protect the lead by shooting 6 of 6 from the free-throw line over the final 1 ½ minutes. Before that stretch, the freshman guard had gone just 6 of 19 from the foul line this season.
“Down the stretch we got stops and down the stretch we made free throws,” Tennessee coach Holly Warlick said. “In the past some of the games we weren’t able to finish, we didn’t do those things. We stepped up and got it done. I’m really excited for this basketball team.”