A disappointing regular season seemed to be back on track with Tennessee in the Elite Eight. With South Carolina out of the way, only fourth seeded Syracuse, a team the Lady Vols had already beaten early in the season, stood in the path to the Final Four.
Tennessee couldn't get it done Sunday. Syracuse out-shot, out-defended and out-hustled Tennessee to an 89-67 blowout.
The Lady Vols played well early in the game, getting the ball inside to Mercedes Russell and Bashaara Graves in the first quarter, beating Syracuse's 2-3 zone.
After a Diamond DeShields bucket put Tennessee up 26-20, the game changed.
Alexis Peterson nailed back-to-back three's to give Syracuse a 28-26 lead and Holly Warlick called timeout. The Lady Vols never pulled any closer than that margin.
Graves and Russell combined for 9 points in the first quarter and 9 points in the final three quarters combined.
Tennessee had no answer for Peterson who scored 29 points on 11-of-20 shooting.
A 21-9 run to close the second quarter had the Orange up 41-35 at halftime.
Cornelia Fondren took over for Syracuse in the third quarter, giving the Orange an 11 point lead early in the second half.
Diamond DeShields pushed Tennessee back into the game with a pair of three pointers to narrow the Syracuse lead to 54-51.
Lady Vols fall to Syracuse in Elite Eight
The Orange answered with a couple of Maggie Morrison buckets and a Fondren and-one to elevate the lead back to 10.
Early in the fourth quarter, Tea Cooper's three pulled Tennessee within four, but that would be the Lady Vols' final rally.
Brianna Butler began raining three's from all over the court and the Lady Vols couldn't take care of the ball (21 turnovers).
The Orange knocked down 14 of 30 three-point attempts.
Syracuse earned its first ever trip to the Final Four.