Sports

Lady Vols capture thrilling OT win to advance

Spokane, WA (SportsNetwork.com) - The second-seeded Tennessee Lady Vols erased a 17-point deficit with just over six and a half minutes to play in regulation to tie the score, and then pulled ahead to defeat the 11th-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs, 73-69, in a thrilling overtime battle in the Spokane Regional semifinal of the NCAA Women's Tournament at Spokane Arena.

Cierra Burdick led the way for Tennessee (30-5) with a 22-point, 15-rebound double-double. Ariel Massengale chipped in with 16 points and Jaime Nared came off the bench to add 12 points and six rebounds. Jordan Reynolds contributed to the victory with 11 points and seven boards of her own.

The Lady Vols, who made their NCAA-record 33rd appearance in the Sweet 16, are now 27-6 all-time in Sweet 16 contests. They will move on to the Elite Eight to face the top-seeded Maryland Terrapins in the Spokane Regional finals on Monday.

Vols head coach Holly Warlick has guided Tennessee to the Sweet 16 in each of her three seasons at the helm, but this will be her second Elite Eight appearance.

Gonzaga (26-8) was led by a 24-point, 11-rebound double-double by Sunny Greinacher, who added four steals to her stat line. Keani Albanez chipped in with 20 points and five assists in the defeat, in which the Bulldogs gave away their 17-point lead in the final six and a half minutes, allowing Tennessee to send it to overtime.

The two teams were knotted at 34-34 at halftime after Gonzaga made 50 percent of its shots compared to Tennessee's 37.1 percent mark, but the Lady Vols went 5-of-10 from 3-point range to stay involved.

With 41 seconds left in regulation, Reynolds went 1-of-2 at the free-throw line to tie the score at 63-63 after the Vols trailed 57-40 less than six minutes prior. Neither team scored down the stretch to gain the advantage, sending it to overtime.

Gonzaga briefly went ahead at the start of the extra session, 65-63. Two Burdick free throws with 1:38 left gave Tennessee a 69-67 lead, which the team would not relinquish as they held on for the comeback victory.

The Lady Vols gained a huge edge at the free-throw line, where they outscored the Bulldogs by a 21-9 margin. Tennessee was able to overcome a 34-20 Gonzaga lead in points in the paint for the win.