No Championship for You: Lady Vols 71, Arkansas 72 (OT)

We're running out of words for this year's edition of the Lady Vols. A very lackluster first half again spelled their doom as they trailed Arkansas 31-26 at halftime despite forcing four shotclock violations. The Razorbacks, despite not being a good shooting team, were well above 50% in the opening 20 minutes, including a blistering 5-8 start from three (again, this from a 28% 3-point team). Eventually in the second half, the Lady Vols found enough of a run to close the gap and trade the lead with Arkansas until the Razorbacks forced overtime.

And again, a slow start. Arkansas ran up a 6-point difference in the beginning of overtime, with the Lady Vols again missing close-in shots and Shekinna Stricklen missing four overtime free throws in a row. Tennessee closed the gap enough to have a chance at the end, but an attempt to intentionally miss a free throw by Ariel failed as she sank the shot to trail by one point. Arkansas managed to hold on until the final three second bled off.

In the regular season picture: Kentucky beat South Carolina in a close game and now has sole possession of first place in the conference. They play Mississippi State on Sunday, so the chances of a season-ending upset are slim. Kentucky is the regular season champion this year. (Aside: when was the last time three losses was good enough to win the SEC?)

Now, some firsts for the year...

  1. Tonight marked the first time Tennessee lost to Arkansas at home.
  2. Earlier in the season, Tennessee also lost to South Carolina at home for the first time ever.
  3. Neither Stricklen nor Johnson scored in the first half.
  4. Kentucky won their first regular season SEC title ever.

That's probably good enough for now. Florida rolls in on Sunday for senior night, and Florida will want to end the SEC season 9-7 and with an outside hope at the NCAA tournament. The way this season has gone, it'll be interesting to see if Jekyll Tennessee or Hyde Tennessee shows up.

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