Lady Vols top LSU for SEC crown

Sunday, March 9, 2008 at 11:03pm

Tennessee had a score to settle with LSU.

For the Lady Vols, redemption came at the perfect time Sunday, as No. 2 seed UT defeated No. 1 seed LSU 61-55 in the championship game of the Southeastern Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament at the Sommet Center.

The Lady Tigers beat the Lady Vols in February and captured the regular-season SEC crown.

Tennessee, however, conceded nothing.

“We knew we were better,” UT forward Nicky Anosike said. “We just wanted to show it on the court.”

Tennessee won its third tournament championship in four years and will enter this month’s NCAA Tournament as one of the favorites to win the national title.

SEC Tournament Most Valuable Player Candace Parker scored a game-high 28 points to lead the Lady Vols [30-2] and sank a go-ahead jump shot with 1:56 remaining.

Sylvia Fowles led LSU [27-5] with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

The Lady Tigers scored only one point in the final 3:35 while the Lady Vols made five of six free throws in the final 45.7 seconds.

“Our defense was as strong as it’s been all season long,” Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said.

Parker, UT’s top player, delivered when it counted most. Her jumper to beat the shot clock broke a 54-54 tie and gave Tennessee a lead it would not relinquish.

“That was the difference in the game,” LSU coach Van Chancellor said. “They were in disarray, and they threw it to her and she made a shot.”

The two teams traded blows down the stretch as the lead changed hands eight times in the final 10:34.

Tennessee tied it at 54 with 2:48 to go on a 3-pointer by Shannon Bobbitt, setting up Parker’s big shot.

“We’ve seen each other all year,” Lady Tigers guard Erica White said. “This time of year, it’s all about heart. They just wanted it a little more.”

LSU looked inside to Fowles on its next two possessions but came up empty. A 3-point attempt by Quianna Chaney also missed the mark.

LSU coach Van Chancellor isn’t sure Sunday’s game settled the debate of which team is the SEC’s best.

“If Tennessee is good enough to win a national championship, we are, too,” he said. “I don’t see much difference in the two teams. Wherever they are, we’re right there.”

Summitt, however, said the Lady Vols' triumphant weekend in Nashville might have set the stage for a national-championship repeat.

“If they play as they did in this tournament, it’s a team that has a chance to win a championship,” she said. “Right now they can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Filed under: Sports
By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 6:00

What a great bunch of ladies.Take the whole team to the Olympics.

By: WayneJ on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Put LSU & UT in opposite brackets and they'll get to the finals and we can do it again. That one last night was one for the ages much like UT-UM on the men's side the other night. Good to see UT this good with both teams at long last. GO VOLS AND LADY VOLS!