6:45 PM ET, March 3, 2007
DULUTH, Ga. -- There's more than one championship-caliber team in the Southeastern Conference. And Sylvia Fowles is showing the league has more than one star.Fowles scored 19 points and had 20 rebounds as No. 11 LSU (No. 10 ESPN/USA Today; No. 11 AP) held No. 2 Tennessee's Candace Parker to a career-low four points Saturday night in the Lady Tigers' 63-54 victory in an SEC tournament semifinal.Fowles has been overshadowed by Parker most of the year, but the LSU junior took the SEC tournament spotlight with her 19th consecutive double-double."She never wavered," LSU coach Pokey Chatman said of Fowles, who played the full 40 minutes, going 8-for-18 from the field and blocking three shots."She was just strong in there for them," Tennessee center Nicky Anosike said. "I tried to guard her the best I can. She was strong."Anosike had nine points and four rebounds. Parker added six rebounds, but was 2-for-11 from the field. LSU kept Parker well below her 20.3 point average by denying passes to her inside."We got whipped right down the middle," Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said, noting "the great presence that Fowles had.""We didn't have a post game consistently," Summitt said.Tennessee won the regular-season SEC title with a 14-0 mark and was favored in the conference tournament.LSU avenged a 56-51 home loss to Tennessee on Feb. 19."When we played them at our home and lost, we had time to sit down and review and think about things we didn't do well," Fowles said. "We just brought it tonight."Erica White added 17 points and Allison Hightower 12 for LSU (26-6), which advances to the championship Sunday night against the winner of the Georgia-Vanderbilt semifinal late Saturday.LSU held the Lady Vols to 37.5 percent shooting.Tennessee's Sidney Spencer also was 2-for-11 while scoring seven points.Was this LSU's best game of the season?"For this time of the year, you'd have to say yes," Chatman said.Alexis Hornbuckle led Tennessee (28-3) with a career-high 29 points and nine rebounds.Summitt said the game again proved it is difficult to sweep the regular-season and conference titles."The one concern I had coming in was what this is going to mean for our team," Summitt said. "It's happened in the past. When we were able to win the regular season, it's been far more difficult to win the tournament."LSU took a 51-41 lead on a basket by Fowles with 6:43 left. Hornbuckle sank a long 3-pointer with 1:15 left to cut the margin to 55-50, but White and RaShonta LeBlanc each made two free throws to give the Lady Tigers some breathing room.The loss snapped Tennessee's second 11-game winning streak of the season. The Lady Vols lost their first conference game since falling to Florida on Feb. 26, 2006.Tennessee beat LSU in the 2005 and 2006 SEC tournament finals by a combined total of three points. With most seats taken in the 10,309-seat Gwinnett Arena, this semifinal had the feel of a championship.Predictably, Tennessee claimed a big edge in fans, but LSU supporters were heard as the Lady Tigers took the lead late in the first half and held it the rest of the game.Hornbuckle scored 10 points in the first half, including a basket that gave Tennessee a 15-4 lead about 6 minutes into the game. Fowles and the Lady Tigers outscored the Lady Vols 29-14 the rest of the half to lead 34-29 at halftime.Hornbuckle's 3-pointer with 4:05 left in the half gave Tennessee a 29-28 lead. The Lady Vols were held scoreless the rest of the half as Fowles scored three straight baskets.Fowles had 14 points and nine rebounds in the half.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||22-50 (.440)||21-56 (.375)|
|3P Made-Attempted||2-5 (.400)||6-16 (.375)|
|FT Made-Attempted||17-22 (.773)||6-7 (.857)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||11 (0/0)||19 (0/0)|