Lady Vol comeback falls short at Stanford, 76-70

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- The No. 3-ranked Tennessee Lady Vols rallied from a double digit deficit late but could not complete the comeback in their first loss of the season 76-70 to No. 6/5 Stanford on Saturday at Maples Pavilion.

Stanford (10-1) scored 13 unanswered points early in the game and stayed in front from there. Tennessee (10-1) cut that lead to just two points with a minute left at 70-68 before the Cardinal iced the game with free throw shooting.

Junior Ariel Massengale scored 17 points to lead the Lady Vols in the loss, thanks to 8-of-10 shooting from the free throw line. Sophomore Isabelle Harrison recorded a double double with 10 points and 13 rebounds.

Stanford's Chiney Ogwumike led all scorers with 32 points on 15 of 25 shooting. She also earned 20 -- nearly half -- of her team's 43 rebounds.

Stanford built a 70-59 lead with 4:32 left in the game on a pair of free throws by Mikaela Ruff, but the Lady Vols were not finished yet.

Tennessee went on a tear from that point, scoring nine unanswered points. Four different players scored during the 9-0 run, and redshirt freshman Andraya Carner hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 70-68 off a pass from Massengale with 1:03 left.

The Cardinal drained most of their shot clock and Amber Orrange completed a 3-point play to put Stanford ahead by 73-68 with 28 seconds left. Stanford hit three more free throws during the closing seconds to assure the victory.

Four Lady Vols finished with at least 10 points. In additions to Massengale and Harrison, senior Meighan Simmons added 15 points and sophomore Bashaara Graves finished with 14.

A 13-0 Stanford run early in the opening minutes ultimately spelled the difference in the game. Russell eventually drove in for a layup to end the streak for the Lady Vols, but by that time, Stanford led 13-6 with 14:35 on the clock and never trailed from there.

Stanford led by as many as 12 points in the half and took a 37-29 lead into halftime. Ogwumike scored 18 points on 9-of-12 shooting plus 11 rebounds to lead her team.

Taylor Greenfield hit a 3-pointer with four seconds left in the half to give the Cardinal a 37-29 lead heading into the locker rooms. Greenfield accounted for three of Stanford's four first-half 3-pointers, while the Lady Vols were held scoreless (0 for 6) from beyond the arc.

Tennessee kept the scoring pace thanks to a solid 9 of 11 performance from the free throw line. Stanford shot just two free throws in the first half, making one of them.

Graves and Harrison had eight points each at the half to lead the Lady Vols.

The Lady Vols started the second half by getting right back in the game. Massengale hit Tennessee's first 3-pointer of the game to cap a 7-0 UT run and cut the lead to 44-40 with 16:03 left in the game.

The Lady Vols finished the game shooting 24 of 67 from the field (36 percent), while Stanford was 28 of 66 (42 percent).

Tennessee's next game is Dec. 29 at home against in-state foe Lipscomb at 2 p.m.


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