LSU lady tigers fall short of NCAA championship

University of Tennessee’s Lady Volunteers survived through the Final Four as LaToya Davis scored with 1.6 seconds left on the scoreboard after LSU’s Temeka Johnson lost the ball, giving the Lady Vols a 52-50 victory over LSU in the SEC Championship game in Indianapolis. Balance and the skill to bounce back in the game placed the Lady Volunteers back in the title game. Tennessee (30-4) has come this far for the fourth year and 16th time overall and owns six NCAA titles, more than any other school. But the Lady Vols’ opponent in Sunday night’s semifinals, Michigan State (32-3), defeated them with a final score of 68-64.With the score of 50-50 and the clock running short in the LSU-Tennessee semifinal game, Tennessee put the ball in the hands of Tasha Butts who scored the winning points in the last two narrow wins for the Lady Volunteers. Butts missed the shot this time, giving LSU the ball with 6 seconds left. Tennessee trapped Johnson in the back court, forcing the turnover as Johnson tripped while attempting to advance past Ashley Robinson. The ball flew out of her hands and Shyra Ely came up with it and quickly moved for a lay-up. LSU coach Pokey Chatman tried to deflect criticism from Johnson’s turnover, saying “LSU made only 12 of 20 free throws, 9 turnovers and granted Tennessee to score 18 second-chance points. It’s probably going to be unfortunate that we’re probably going to talk about the last 6 seconds of the game and in my opinion that’s not where this game was lost.”Seimone Augustus led LSU with 16 points and 9 rebounds, but her shooting percentage dropped from the previous games in the tournament. She carried the Lady Tigers to their first Final Four by making 61 percent of her shots. Shanna Zolman led Tennessee (31-3) and with 12 points, scoring a 3-pointer at the shot clock buzzer with 1.38 to give the Lady Vols a 50-46 lead. LSU (27-8) attempted to make it a tie at 50 when Johnson drove pass Tillie Willis with 27.2 seconds left. Tennessee made the final basket and the Lady Volunteers leaped and punched their fists in the air, leaving LSU stunned since they were unable to get a desperate shot off before the final buzzer.Chatman took over the team from longtime coach Sue Gunter, who has been watching the games from home since early in the season due to respiratory problems. Coach Pokey Chatman led the LSU Lady Tigers to their first Final Four tournament. It was the lowest scoring game in women’s Final Four history. The previous was the 1985 semifinal game in which Old Dominion won against Louisiana-Monroe with a score of 57-47.