Tennessee's Second Half Surge Downs Kansas, 84-73, to End KU's NCAA Tournament Run
March 24, 2012
DES MOINES, Iowa–A 23-point performance from junior Angel Goodrich could not stop a second half surge from the No. 7/9 Tennesse Lady Vols as they defeated KU, 84-73, in the NCAA Sweet 16 Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa. The loss knocked the Jayhawks out of the NCAA Tournament after their best run since 1998.
Kansas finished the season 21-13 overall while the Lady Vols improved to 27-8.
Along with Goodrich’s stellar performance, senior Aishah Sutherland knocked in 19 points and eight rebounds. Freshman Chelsea Gardner nabbed her second double-double of the season, contributing 14 points and grabbing 10 boards.
Tennessee, who out-scored KU 54-38 in the second half, was led by sophomore Meighan Simmons’ 22 points.
Following an opening basket from Tennessee, the Jayhawks scored six-straight points to put KU up four early in the first half. By the first media timeout, Gardner had already amassed eight of her 14 points as Kansas held a 10-8 advantage with 15:18 left in the first period.
Out of the timeout, a fast-break layup from freshman Natalie Knight sparked an 8-2 run by the Jayhawks, sending them into the next media break at 11:28 with an 18-10 lead over the Lady Vols. With a three-pointer each for Goodrich and sophomore Tania Jackson and a layup by Sutherland, KU extended its lead with another 8-2 run, making the score 26-12, Kansas, with 8:59 remaining in the opening half.
The Lady Vols responded with a quick 10-2 run of their own, forcing Kansas head coach Bonnie Henrickson to call timeout and cutting KU’s lead to six with 6:27 to go in the first. Goodrich retaliated with her second three of the contest, but UT came right back with seven-straight points to make it a two-point game, 31-29, KU.
KU headed into the lockeroom holding a five-point advantage, 35-30, over UT after Sutherland scored the team’s final four points of the half. Goodrich led all scorers with 12 points off of 5-of-8 shooting in the first 20 minutes. Sutherland was also already in double digits, contributing 10 of her 19 points before halftime. As a team, the Jayhawks shot 50 percent from the field, including 42.9 percent from behind the arc.
Sutherland got the second half started right for KU, scoring on a jumper just nine seconds in. The Lady Vols took over from there, going on a fast 9-2 run and tying the score at 42-42 with 15:44 to play. After the media timeout, UT scored on jumper to take its first lead since the game’s opening bucket. The basket sparked an 11-4 run from Tennessee, making it 53-46, UT, with 11:07 remaining.
Kansas cut the deficit to three with back-to-back baskets from Gardner and Sutherland before the Lady Vols went on another 10-3 run to extend their lead to 10, 63-53, with 7:08 left in the contest.
Out of the under eight-minute timeout, Sutherland scored on a couple of layups before Tennessee amassed a 9-3 swing, giving UT a 78-62 advantage over the Jayhawks. KU responded with back-to-back buckets from Sutherland and junior Monica Engelman but the Crimson and Blue could not overcome the deficit, ultimately falling 84-73.