Women's Basketball
1554362
LSU's Jeanne Kenney
Photo by:Steve Franz, LSU Athletics Staff Photographer
Lady Tigers Stunned in Final Seconds by Tennessee
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Published: February 07, 2013, 11:53 PM (CT)
Updated: February 08, 2013, 07:54 AM (CT)
by Bill Martin (@LSUBillMartin), Associate SID

BATON ROUGE - Tennessee freshman Bashaara Graves picked up a steal and converted a game-winning shot with 0.8 seconds left to cap a wild finish as the 12th-ranked Lady Vols stunned the LSU women's basketball team, 64-62, on Thursday night in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

The Lady Tigers were on the heels of victory with a 62-59 lead and 0:31 to play, but LSU missed two critical free throws that kept the door open for Tennessee. Bianca Lutley missed the front end with 0:31 on the clock, and Graves answered with a shot at the 0:15 mark that cut the LSU lead to 62-61.

The Lady Vols fouled Theresa Plaisance, the Southeastern Conference's leading scorer and one of the league's top free throw shooters. Plaisance missed the front end of her free throw opportunity, and Tennessee tied it at 62-62 on a free throw from Cierra Burdick. 

LSU, looking for a game-winning shot, turned it over with 0:04 to play when Lutley was stolen by Graves, who beat the buzzer with a shot off the glass that gave Tennessee a 64-62 lead. The Lady Tigers still got a great look at the basket in the final 0.8 seconds when Plaisance fired a baseball pass across the floor to Adrienne Webb. Webb caught it and her potential game-winning shot clanged off the iron as the horn sounded.

"I was very proud of our team for putting ourselves in position to win this ball game," said LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell. "We did a lot of really good things, and I don't want a last second shot to overshadow the fight and heart that our team had tonight.

"This team has grown in the last couple of days from Monday night's game and from this day forward we need to continue to grow and learn how to not only put ourselves in position to win basketball games but to finish off the win. We had some tremendous play down the stretch to get us the lead. It's real simple; you make lay-ups and free throws."

The loss dropped LSU to 13-10 overall and eighth place in the SEC standings at 4-6 in league play. The Lady Tigers conclude a difficult week with No. 9 Georgia at 12:30 p.m. CT Sunday in what will be the third straight ranked opponent in seven days for LSU.

Tennessee, coming off a double-digit loss at Missouri, moved back atop the SEC standings. The Lady Vols are now 18-5 overall and 9-1 in conference play after a seventh consecutive victory over the Lady Tigers.

Plaisance led the way for LSU, finishing with 20 points, nine rebounds and five blocks. Freshman Danielle Ballard added 10 points and four steals. Lutley notched double-figures with 13 points.

Junior guard Jeanne Kenney, who sprained her left knee on Monday against Texas A&M, displayed incredible toughness. Though she did not start, she entered the game with LSU trailing by 11 and provided a spark the remainder of the contest. She finished with four points, five rebounds and five assists. She picked up two big charges on the defensive end that brought the crowd to its feet even while playing through pain.

"For me personally, it wasn't a question (on whether I would play)," said Kenney. "If I had to sub myself in, I would've gotten in somehow.  But I'm just trying to stay healthy.  I know we have more games to play and I will take it one day at a time."

The game-winner gave Graves 17 points, while Tennessee guard Meighan Simmons had 18 points.

LSU Head Coach Nikki Caldwell

Opening Statement...
"I was very proud of our team for putting ourselves in position to win this ball game. We did  a lot of really good things and I don't want a last minute shot to overshadow the fight and heart that our team had tonight. This team has grown in the last couple of days from Monday night's game, and from this day forward, we need to continue to grow and learn how to not only put ourselves in position to win basketball games but to finish off the win. We had some tremendous play down the stretch to get us the lead. It's real simple, you make lay-ups and free throws. We missed a lot of easy lay-ups in the first and second half and obviously you have to nail those free throws."

On Jeanne Kenney's knee...
"The thought process was to bring Jeanne in and try to limit her minutes but she played 30 for us. With how banged up she is, that's a testimony to her competitive spirit. When we put Jeanne in, she gives us that leadership. She's very knowledgeable of the game so she can run multiple positions for us. She does a great job of getting the ball to her teammates and she is just solid. I think that it was gutsy when she stands there in transition and there are people coming full speed ahead at her and she stands and takes a charge. Those are just gutsy plays that she has just done over and over for us."

On the LSU-Tennessee rivalry...
"This one will be bitter because we had a chance and we had the right people at the line. We had opportunities when we put the ball inside. We had the right people taking shots so we take ownership of this loss. Credit to Tennessee in switching up their defense and really trying to get their transition game going. I fully felt this game was in our control and even with the runs that they made we knew we were going to have runs in us. We were getting down in the second half I figured it would be a different ball game.

Player Quotes

Jr. G Jeanne Kenney

On playing again after an injury and giving the team a lift...
"For me personally, it wasn't a question.  If I had to sub myself in, I would've gotten in somehow.  But I'm just trying to stay healthy.  I know we have more games to play and I take it one day at a time.  I'll be fine." 

Jr. F Theresa Plaisance

On the difference on the court with and without Jeanne...
"Jeanne's our leader on the court that brings her voice, brings her energy, brings that positive influence, that makes you want to do more and do better.  Having Jeanne on the court is always a plus for us.  She keeps us composed, she handles the ball so well, bringing the ball down.  And that's not even her true position but she does such a great job at it.  Having Jeanne on the court is a must for us because she brings so much more than just stats."

TENNESSEE HEAD COACH HOLLY WARLICK

Opening Statement...
" I'm sure this was a great spectator game, and I thought both teams fought hard. I'm excited that our kids fought back and didn't give up. I think it was a game that you didn't want anybody to lose. I thought (Nikki) Caldwell's team played hard, and our team played hard. That was our goal for us to play hard and compete. We're proud of the game and proud of our young ladies for not giving up."

On Tennessee's ability to pull off the finish of the game...
"I thought when (Cierra) Burdick got fouled, she's one of our better free throw shooters, that she was going to make the two, and then I was just trying to figure out how to stop them. We wanted to go for the ball and if we didn't get it, foul. That was our game plan."

On their game plan in the end of the game...
"We battled and I thought (Bashaara) Graves hit a huge shot for us. It was a physical game. I thought it was back and forth. We would get up and then LSU would get back up. I just thought both teams played hard, and they competed. I'm sure it was a fun game to watch. It was tough to coach."

On having Kamiko Williams back...
"I was surprised. I had no idea until today in shoot around. She was running around and jumping on her ankle and it was fine. She gave us some huge minutes, and I had to burn some timeouts because we were tired."

On the second half ...
"We couldn't stop them. (Theresa) Plaisance, she was awesome. She's a force to be reckoned with. She's outstanding. I thought they hit big buckets when they needed to hit big buckets and we couldn't get stops."

On playing LSU...
"LSU has a great tradition, a strong tradition. Every time we play each other it's a battle. I don't care where we play. Nikki's doing a great job, and I know she needed this win but we both needed the win. Nikki and I are great friends. I love her like a sister. I recruited her, I coached her. I got the opportunity to work with her. It's a little difficult, but when you cross that line we compete. We compete in everything we do and afterward we are great friends. It was a little bittersweet."

Forward Cierra Burdick

On pulling out a win...
"It was great. It was an awesome win. We like to say any SEC win is a great win because this league is so competitive especially on the road. For us we just had to keep fighting and pull it out when people thought the game was over. It speaks a lot for our character as a team. They always tell us not to give up and we didn't. I'm so proud of my teammates.

On how Tennessee played defensively...
"We honestly played a terrible defensive game. We didn't stick to the game plan, as we should of. Our relentless pursuit to keep fighting is what got us this win."

On how Tennessee strayed away game plan...
"There was one period where I was like man they're not missing. They were getting too many open looks. Webb had almost six points back to back off that curl. So it's just recognizing that and shooting the gaps. It's just the little things we wanted to do that we failed to do."

Forward Bashaara Graves

On teams ability to comeback...
"I was thinking we still had time on our clock to get where we wanted and to win the game or at least go into overtime."

On her game winning shot...
"I think we just never quit. Meighan got a tip in the inbounds and that's what turned me around. We got that steal and that possession, and I thought that if we got the possession we were going to win."

On winning after losing...
"It's huge. We wanted to bounce back. Holly said to make this game be proof that Missouri was a fluke. We wanted to come out and just do the best we could. We still have a lot to work on and a lot of improvement to make. I think this is a great statement game to let everyone know that Tennessee isn't going to quit."

 

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