Facing a 16 point deficit against a South Carolina team ranked No. 2 in the country, things felt bleak for the Lady Vols on Thursday night. Sitting at 12-5 overall and losers of two straight games, Tennessee had to come up with something for a spark.
A 12 point lead for the Gamecocks offered Lady Vols head coach Kellie Harper the perfect opportunity to challenge her team.
“(Harper) said we were playing soft, and I took it personal,” Rennia Davis said. “My first half, I just wasn’t doing enough for the team. I took it personal and my teammates did too. We came out there and I thought we grew up in the second half.”
Davis didn’t score a single point in the first half, but came roaring back with 24 second half points, leading the Lady Vols to a massive upset. A brilliant comeback by Tennessee stopped South Carolina’s perfect run through the SEC slate, bringing them to 17-3 overall.
Rae Burrell kept Tennessee alive early, keeping things within reach for the Lady Vols. She ended with 19 points in 33 minutes, hitting 9-17 shots from the field. Jordan Horston added 12 points and five assists to the cause.
Tennessee erased the lead in the third quarter, thanks to Davis coming alive. The Lady Vols claimed their first lead just before the third quarter ended, before allowing the Gamecocks to come back and establish a four point lead to open the fourth. But back to back three-pointers from Burrell and Davis quickly tied it up at 62, which is where Tennessee took control for good. A Horston layup and a key rebound from Davis, followed by two more free throws put this one away.
The Lady Vols walked away with a huge 75-67 win over South Carolina, adding a victory that will look very good in a few weeks when the NCAA Tournament committee sets the field. Before this win, Tennessee was slated on the four line, per ESPN. We’ll see where they land after pulling this upset.
Tennessee will be back in action at Georgia on Sunday at noon ET.