GREENVILLE, S.C. — Tennessee women's basketball could not emerge victorious in its first SEC championship appearance since 2015 as the Lady Vols fell to top-ranked, unbeaten South Carolina inside Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, S.C. on Saturday afternoon.
The Gamecocks captured their seventh SEC title in the last nine seasons.
South Carolina controlled play from the opening tip and never trailed during the game. Tennessee tied the game at 21-21 early in the second quarter, but South Carolina went on a 12-0 to take a commanding lead that the Gamecocks did not concede for the remainder of the contest.
Lady Vol All-SEC selections Jordan Horston and Rickea Jackson filled the stat sheet once again despite the losing effort. Horston posted a team-high 19 points and added nine rebounds and three assists, while Jackson scored 17 points along with nine rebounds.
South Carolina's All-SEC picks Zia Cooke and Aliyah Boston overwhelmed the Tennessee defense at times. Cooke put up a game-high 20 points and SEC Player of the Year Boston added 14 points and five rebounds in South Carolina's victory.
This was the second time ever that South Carolina and Tennessee have met in the SEC title game and the first since South Carolina topped the Lady Vols for their first-ever league title in 2015. Since that game, South Carolina has made it to the finals in all but one SEC tournament.
Tennessee's semifinal victory against top-five LSU will make for an interesting NCAA Tournament selection in terms of the Lady Vols' seeding. The 2023 NCAA women's basketball selection show is scheduled for Sunday, March 12 at 8 p.m.