Kingsport Times-News: Lady Vols lose third straight SEC game for first time

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Lady Vols lose third straight SEC game for first time

From staff and wire reports • Jan 13, 2019 at 9:52 PM

ATHENS, Ga. — On Sunday, Tennessee did something no Lady Vols basketball team had ever done before, but it wasn’t an accomplishment.

No. 13-ranked Tennessee fell to Georgia 66-62 for its third straight Southeastern Conference loss. The defeat came on the heels of losses to Missouri and Kentucky — the three by a combined total of eight points. The first two games were at Thompson-Boling Arena, marking the first time the Lady Vols lost consecutive home games since December 1996.

Tennessee (12-4, 1-3) also is mired in its first three-game skid in 33 years — since February 1986 when it fell at Mississippi and at home to Auburn and Louisiana Tech.

Georgia’s Caliya Robinson had 16 points, six rebounds, five assists and two of her six blocks in a critical last-minute possession on Sunday.

The Bulldogs (12-5, 3-1) led 63-62 when Robinson blocked Evina Westbrook’s layup attempt with 19.6 seconds remaining. Robinson then blocked Rennia Davis’ short jumper with one second showing on the shot clock.

Tennessee couldn’t get off a shot before the shot clock expired. The Lady Vols had to foul twice to get Jenna Staiti, a 55 percent free-throw shooter, to the foul line, where she made both with 8.5 seconds remaining.

Meme Jackson put up a 3-pointer from the right corner for Tennessee and Robinson rebounded the airball. She was fouled with a second to go and iced the game with a free throw.

Gabby Connally added 13 points for the Bulldogs and Staiti and Taja Cole each had 12 points and seven rebounds.

Westbrook scored 23 points for Tennessee, which held a 17-point lead late in the first half. The Lady Vols shot 24 percent in the second half and hit just 9 of 18 from the foul line — only 3 of 10 in the fourth quarter.

Rennia Davis had 12 rebounds with six points and Cheridene Green had 10 boards and also scored six points for Tennessee, which stays out on the road for its next game. The Lady Vols play at Alabama on Thursday in an SEC matchup set for a 9 p.m. tipoff.

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