A furious second-half comeback fell just short as #4 Tennessee was beaten at Chattanooga for the second consecutive time, 67-63, on Wednesday night. The Lady Vols (4-1), rallied from a 16-point halftime deficit to tie the game on four occasions late in the second half, but UTC (4-2) made four free throws in the final minute to secure the win.
Junior Jasmine Jones returned to action and led the dramatic comeback. She scored 16 of her career-high 19 points in the second half. Jones grabbed eight rebounds, the most of any player in the game.
Senior Ariel Massengale was the only other scorer in double-figures for the Lady Vols with 11 points. The Lady Vols were limited to just 37.7 percent from the floor.
Chattanooga’s Keiana Gilbert led all scorers with a career-high 27 points. Destiny Bramblett added 12 points.
Alicia Payne put UTC ahead, 64-63 with 52.3 seconds remaining as she made the second of two free-throw attempts. Jasmine Joyner also made the second of a pair of foul shots with 14.8 remaining, that put the Mocs up 65-63.
Jones had a chance to tie the game for Tennessee, but her shot wouldn’t drop with five seconds left. Ka’Vonne Towns made both of her free throws with 2.7 seconds left to seal the victory for Chattanooga.
The game was tied at 57, 59, 61 and 63 setting the stage for the Mocs to claim the win.
The Lady Vols chipped away through the second half before Jones finally tied the game at 57 on a jumper with 4:31 left in the game. Tennessee cut their deficit to one possession on a jumper by Massengale with 8:10 on the clock at 54-51, but UTC continued to hold the lead for the next few minutes before Jones’ back-to-back filed goals tied the game for the first time.
The Lady Vols trailed by 16 at the half, 37-21, as the Lady Mocs shot 58.3 percent from the floor in the first half as compared the Tennessee’s 31.0. The Mocs also outrebounded the Lady Vols, 19-12 as they controlled the half throughout. Gilbert had 14 to lead all scorers in the first half. Massengale as Tennessee’s top scorer with five points in the first 20 minutes.
Playing at Chattanooga has been a challenge for the Lady Vols. In Holly Warlick’s debut as Tennessee’s head coach in 2012, she suffered an 80-71 defeat at McKenzie Arena.
Tennessee was eyeing their largest comeback since rallying from a 33-13 deficit at Rutgers in 2009, but they were not able to pull of the rally. Last season, the Lady Vols came back from 15-point deficits on two occasions to win.
Tennessee returns to action at #6 Texas on Sunday, Nov. 30. That game tips at 6:30 p.m. ET and airs on Fox Sports Net and can be heard on the Lady Vol Network.