BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Alexis Morris scored a career-high 31 points, stirring a raucous sellout crowd with a series of clutch transition layups in the fourth quarter, and third-ranked LSU remained unbeaten with a 76-68 victory over Tennessee on Monday night.
Angel Reese had 18 points and 17 rebounds for her program-record 21st straight double-double for LSU (21-0, 9-0 SEC). Reese highlighted her performance with a transition layup while being fouled during a decisive 11-0 run after the Lady Vols had pulled as close as 53-52 in the fourth quarter.
Jordan Walker scored 19 points and Rickea Jackson had added 17 for Tennessee (16-8, 8-1), which has lost two straight, albeit to teams both ranked in the top five.
Jordan Horston scored 11 for Tennessee, which nearly rallied from a 14-point deficit in the second half before the Tigers’ final surge kept the Lady Vols at arm’s length in the final minutes.
LSU led by as many as nine in the first half after Last-Tear Poa’s 3 made it 32-23 late in the second quarter.
Tennessee closed to 34-31 after Jackson scored inside. But 3s by Carson and Morris helped LSU start to pull away again. Morris’ free throws ignited an 8-0 run, capped by Reese’s driving layup that made it 48-34 in the middle of the third quarter.
Tennessee went more than four minutes without scoring before Jackson’s layup made it 48-36.
Tennessee then began defending the entire length of the court and it had a disruptive effect on the Tigers, who did not hit a field goal for the last 5:45 of the third.
That allowed Tennessee to pull to 50-47 on Puckett’s 3 in the final minute of the period.
The Vols were as close as 53-52 after Jackson’s free throw, but Morris responded with a driving leaner while being fouled for a three-point play. Soon after, Reese converted a steal into a transition layup as she was fouled. Morris then scored twice more in transition, sending the crowd, and coach Kim Mulkey, into a triumphant frenzy.
Tennessee: The Lady Vols continued to be a victim of their difficult schedule. They now have a half-dozen losses against ranked teams and most of those losing margins were single digits. … Tennessee shot 8 of 19 from 3-point range to keep the game close, but did not match up well inside.
LSU: Energized by a record crowd of 15,157 in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, the talented Tigers led for all but a few minutes and always seemed to have a response for each Tennessee push. LSU outrebounded Tennessee 45-38, outscored the Lady Vols in the paint 38-30 and scored 23 points at the foul line to Tennessee’s six.
Tennessee: Hosts Mississippi on Thursday.
LSU: Hosts Georgia on Thursday.