For the first time in 23 years, the Lady Vols lost their opening game of the SEC tournament with a 72-64 loss to No. 12 Alabama.
Despite an early 6-0 run, the Lady Vols got off to a slow offensive start. The Crimson Tide took a 15-14 lead on a pair of free throws heading into the second stanza.
Both team struggled offensively in the second quarter with multiple scoring droughts. The Lady Vols shot 35 percent from the field and didn’t grab an offensive rebound until 2 minutes before halftime when Diamond DeShields grabbed her own board.
Six players scored for the Lady Vols in the first half but all stayed within single-digit points.
Tennessee took a 29-22 lead into the break and increased their lead into double digits
Scoring droughts plagued the Lady Vols in the third quarter as well and they were outscored 21-10. Tennessee took a 4:56 field goal drought and a 4-point deficit into the final quarter.
Jamie Nared made it a 2-point game with 1:12 left to play but they weren’t able to close the gap.
Diamond DeShields and Mercedes Russell both fouled out of the game in the final minutes.
Alabama moves on to play Kentucky in the quarterfinals.