KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Diamond DeShields had 16 points and Bashaara Graves hauled down a career-high 19 rebounds, but the No. 12/11 Lady Vols fell to Florida, 74-66, on Thursday in Thompson-Boling Arena after a second-half surge by the Gators.
Tennessee (10-4, 1-1 SEC) led 35-29 at the half. Florida (13-2, 1-1 SEC) knotted the game at 53-53 by the end of the third quarter and outscored the Lady Vols in the fourth, 21-13, to earn its first win over UT since Feb. 8, 2009.
Thursday’s game also marked Tennessee’s first loss to Florida at Thompson-Boling Arena since Feb. 26, 2006.
DeShields scored in double figures for the 11th-straight game on 6-of-21 shooting from the field and 4-of-4 shooting from the free-throw line. Andraya Carter had 13 points and four rebounds and Jaime Nared added 10 points and six boards.
Eleanna Christinaki led Florida with 18 points on 8-of-16 shooting and also had eight assists and six rebounds. Carlie Needles had 15 points and January Miller added 11.
After the Gators outscored the Lady Vols in the third quarter, 24-18, Florida pulled ahead midway through the fourth thanks to strong outside shooting. UF was 9-of-18 from 3-point range and 5-of-9 in the second half.
Florida went on an 11-4 run to start the second quarter and tie the game at 29-29. UT closed the first half with a 6-0 run over the final three minutes to take a 35-29 lead into halftime. Nared and Te’a Cooper led the Lady Vols with seven points each and Graves had 10 rebounds before the start of the second half.
Tennessee controlled the game in the first quarter. With the game tied at 7-7 four minutes in, Nared hit a free throw and Cooper stole the ball on Florida’s next two possessions to spark a 13-2 Tennessee run.
Graves Dominates The Glass
- Graves ranks second in among active SEC players with 888 career rebounds.
- Graves passed Tennessee great Dana Johnson (884) for 13th place on the Lady Vols’ all-time rebounding list.
- Graves’ 19 rebounds marked the fifth time this season and the 31st time in her career that she has rebounded in double figures.
Series Against The Gators
- With the loss, Tennessee is now 48-4 all-time against Florida. The loss ended UT’s 11-game winning streak against the Gators.
- The loss also ended the Lady Vols’ five-game home winning streak against Florida.
- Tennessee’s 25 first-quarter points were its most since scoring 26 in the first quarter against Chattanooga on Nov. 23, 2015.
- Te’a Cooperand Andraya Carter each had three steals in the game. Cooper has had three steals or more in a game five times this season. Carter has posted three or more steals four times.
- The Lady Vols next host Auburn on Jan. 10 at Thompson-Boling Arena.
- The game will have an ESPNU broadcast with tip-off slated for 2 p.m. ET.
· UT is 40-10 all-time against Auburn and the Lady Vols have won the last eight times the teams have squared off.