KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Kara Lawson scored 26 points, 19
in the second half, as third-ranked Tennessee beat No. 6 Vanderbilt
75-68 Saturday night to even the season's series between the
The Commodores (22-6, 8-4 Southeastern Conference) beat
the Lady Vols 76-59 on Feb. 2 to end a nine-game home losing
But Vanderbilt couldn't end its losing streak in Knoxville,
falling to 0-17.
Tennessee (22-3, 10-2) looked vulnerable after losing Tuesday
to Texas and barely beating Mississippi State on Thursday.
Lawson was the hero in that game, scoring 29 points to jump-start
the Lady Vols' struggling half-court offense.
On Saturday, she answered Vanderbilt's second-half surges
with driving cuts to the basket.
Vanderbilt, trailing 58-53 with 6:55 left, went ahead 61-60
on Chantelle Anderson's two free throws to finish a quick
6-0 run. Tennessee got the lead back on the next play when
Lawson scored on the inbounds pass.
The Commodores got as close as 69-68 with 1:30 left on Zuzi
Klimesova's three-point play. The Lady Vols gave the ball
to Lawson again, and she drove to the basket to increase the
lead to three.
Vanderbilt missed a chance to tie it with 41 seconds left
when Tia Battle's 3-pointer clanged off the rim. Michelle
Snow got the rebound, and Lawson hit two more free throws
at the other end with 18.9 seconds to go to seal it.
Shyra Ely scored 13 points before fouling out for Tennessee,
which has won 39 straight SEC games at home since 1996.
Anderson led Vanderbilt with 20 points despite committing
four fouls. Jillian Danker added 16 points, including four
3-pointers, and McElhiney had 12. Klimesova added 11 points
and seven rebounds.
Anderson's matchup with Snow in the post got most of the
attention heading into the game, but Lawson's performance
surpassed Anderson's ability to score easily over Snow.
Snow finished with just two points on 1-of-8 shooting from
the floor with three fouls.
Tennessee was ahead 52-43 with 11:49 left after a 7-0 run
started by Michelle Munoz's three-point play. Most importantly
for Tennessee during the spurt was the fourth foul Anderson
picked up with 12:33 to go that sent her to the bench.
But even without Anderson, Vanderbilt scrapped to regain
the lead with a 10-0 run, fueled by a driving layup by McElhiney
and her two free throws that made it 53-52 with 8:28 to go.
Lawson responded with a driving layup and foul to give Tennessee
the lead back on the next play. The Lady Vols pushed their
lead back to five points two minutes later.
After leading most of the first half, the Commodores were
down by one point at halftime.
Vanderbilt was ahead by seven twice in the first half. But
the Lady Vols kept chipping away at the lead, finally tying
it at 22 after Brittany Jackson hit a 3 and Courtney McDaniel
scored inside with 4:52 left.