Freshman Rennia Davis stepped up to the free throw line with just two seconds left on the clock, down three with three attempts in front of her. The Lady Vols trailed by as many as 15 points on the road to No. 13 Missouri. In front of the largest crowd ever at a women's basketball game in Columbia, Davis collected herself, took a deep breath, bent her knees and missed.
The top 15-SEC matchup ends with a 77-73 final, just the second time the Tigers have beaten the Lady Vols.
Tennessee had one of its best shooting performances of the season from outside, going 8-15 from deep. Jaime Nared absolutely dominated, scoring 14 points in the second quarter alone, 25 for the entire game. Nared wouldn't lead all scorers however, Missouri's Sophie Cunningham scored 32 points while grabbing five rebounds and dropping five assists.
Tennessee dug themselves a big hole in the 1st quarter, trailing 25-13 after the first ten minutes. Only three players scored for the Lady Vols during the first period: Rennia Davis, Evina Westbrook and Anastasia Hayes. Mercedes Russell, in a very bizarre performance, failed to score in the first half. She would total 10 points in the second.
A top-15 loss on the road to Missouri is one thing, but combined with the loss to Alabama at home on Thursday, and the Lady Vols have hurt themselves in the postseason picture. After starting the week tied for second in the SEC with a win over No. 18 Georgia, Tennessee has slid to seventh place in the conference. It puts them in a precarious position: the Lady Vols will need to win out to have a chance at the double-bye in the SEC tournament. The team also has a chance of falling out of contention to host the first weekend in the NCAA tournament. Tennessee will need to finish the season strong to guarantee that.
Tip off against the Gators will be February 22 at 7:00 p.m.