The Lady Vols (15-10, 6-6 SEC) and the Gamecocks (24-1, 12-0 SEC) combined for a physical and exciting contest with several trips to free-throw line. Tennessee went 17-of-22 (77.3 percent) from the stripe and South Carolina shot 22-of-30 (73.3).
Tennessee enjoyed a 43-30 rebounding advantage, marking just the fourth time this year that a team has outrebounded South Carolina.
DeShields scored 15 of her 21 points in the second half and finished 7-of-17 on the night with four rebounds and two assists. Graves tallied 13 points and 10 boards, marking her sixth double-double of the season and the 27th of her career.
South Carolina’s A’Ja Wilson dominated the game with 25 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the floor and a 9-of-11 effort on free throws. Khadijah Sessions had 13 points and Tiffany Mitchell added 12 points.
The Gamecocks led by as much as 13 points in the fourth quarter, but Tennessee battled back with an 11-4 run over the final minute. DeShields knocked down a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The third quarter featured four lead changes and the Gamecocks extended their lead to 44-39 after closing with a 12-4 run over the final three minutes. Wilson scored 10 points in the third quarter.
After trailing for most of the first quarter, South Carolina outscored Tennessee, 16-9, in the second quarter to take a 24-21 lead into the break. The Gamecocks closed the half with a 12-5 run over the final four minutes. Wilson led all scorers with 11 points at the break and Alaina Coates dominated the glass with seven rebounds.
Neither team shot well in the first half. Tennessee shot 32.1 percent (9-of-28) from the floor and South Carolina shot 32.0 percent (8-of-25). South Carolina’s lone 3-pointer of the first half was Khadijah Session’s buzzer-beater from the right wing to give the Gamecocks the halftime lead.
Tennessee led after the first quarter, 12-8. The Lady Vols limited South Carolina to 4-of-17 (23.5 percent) shooting in the first 10 minutes of the game.
Series vs. South Carolina
- Tennessee is 47-6 all-time against South Carolina and 21-2 against the Gamecocks in Thompson-Boling Arena.
- South Carolina has won the last three games in the series.
- UT held South Carolina to eight first-quarter points, marking the 19th time this year that Tennessee has held its opponent to under 10 points in a single quarter. The Lady Vols’ best defensive quarter was the second quarter against Arkansas on Jan. 14 when they limited the Razorbacks to six points.
- Diamond DeShieldshad 21 points on the night and is now five points away for 1,000 for her career.
- DeShields scored in double figures for 17th time. Her 21 points also marked her fifth time this year and the 19th time in her career that she has scored 20 or more.
- Tennessee has held 18 of its 25 opponents under 40 percent shooting
- Bashaara Graveswas 9-of-10 from the free-throw line. She now has 379 career free throws made, moving her into eighth place on UT’s all-time free-throws made list. She passed Tonya Edwards (371) and Dana Johnson (377).
- A’ja Wilson’s 25 points ties for the most scored by a UT opponent this year. Arkansas’ Jessica Jackson had 25 points on Jan. 14.
- Tennessee held Alaina Coates scoreless on 0-of-1 shooting. She entered the game tied for 12th in the SEC with 12.5 points per game in conference play.
- The Lady Vols next play Ole Miss on Thursday, Feb. 18, at Thompson-Boling Arena. The game will feature a 7 p.m. ET tip-off on SEC Network +.
- Tennessee is 43-7 all-time against Ole Miss and 19-2 all-time against the Rebels in Knoxville.
UT has won the last 27 games in the series and the last 16 games played in Knoxville.