Wichita State Shockers

Wichita State women give No. 11 Tennessee a good fight in 54-51 loss

Tennessee guard Jordan Reynolds drives against Wichita State guard Jamillah Bonner during Tuesday’s game in Knoxville, Tenn.
Tennessee guard Jordan Reynolds drives against Wichita State guard Jamillah Bonner during Tuesday’s game in Knoxville, Tenn. Associated Press

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Wichita State rallied from a 10-point, second-half deficit and cut Tennessee’s lead to 52-51 on Kelsey Jacobs’ three-pointer with 23.3 seconds remaining, but couldn’t complete the comeback in a 54-51 loss to the No. 11 Vols on Tuesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Tennessee coach Holly Warlick realized the Volunteers would have their hands full. Warlick knows Wichita State’s coaches too well to have expected anything else — Warlick was an assistant coach when WSU coach Jody Adams and assistant Bridgette Gordon played for Tennesee.

“Both of them are very competitive, so I knew what was coming,” Warlick said.

Adams was a point guard on Tennessee’s 1991 national championship team. Gordon played on Tennessee’s 1987 and 1989 championship teams and remains the Vols’ second-leading career scorer. Her No. 30 jersey hangs from the Thompson-Boling Arena rafters.

Warlick gave both of them a bouquet of orange roses in a pregame midcourt ceremony. Adams and Gordon then headed toward the stands and embraced former coach Pat Summitt.

“To have (Summitt) here at the game, it meant a lot,” Adams said. “She mentored us for four years. She forced us into being women early on into life. She taught us a lot about life.”

Cierra Burdick had 10 points and a career-high 17 rebounds as Tennessee (8-2) withstood Wichita State’s late rally to earn its fourth straight victory and end the Shockers’ four-game winning streak.

Wichita State (6-3) shot 1 of 13 and scored two points in the first 9 minutes, 25 seconds of the second half, yet the Shockers clawed their way back from a 10-point deficit.

“I have a bunch of kids that fight,” Adams said. “We may bend, but we aren’t going to break.”

The Shockers cut Tennessee’s lead to 52-51 on Kelsey Jacobs’ three-pointer with 23.3 seconds remaining. Ariel Massengale sank two free throws to make it 54-51 with 5.1 seconds left.

Tennessee’s Isabelle Harrison stole the ensuing inbounds pass, but Wichita State’s Jaleesa Chapel stole it back in the closing seconds. Chapel’s desperation shot from about midcourt hit the right side of the backboard as the buzzer sounded.

Harrison had 14 points and nine rebounds, while Alexa Middleton added 10 points for Tennessee. Alex Harden scored 19 points and Alie Decker added 17 for Wichita State.

Tennessee’s inability to make free throws and protect the basketball prevented the Lady Vols from putting the game away earlier. In the second half, the Vols committed 13 turnovers and shot 9 of 16 from the foul line.

“We’ve got to focus, we’ve got to prepare better,” Burdick said. “We can’t overlook any team. Wichita State is a great basketball team. We knew they were going to come in firing. They were coached by two former Lady Vols, and they know what it takes to win.”

WICHITA ST. (6-3): Bonner 1-5 0-0 3, Jacobs 2-6 0-0 6, Decker 6-11 0-0 17, Harden 8-21 2-2 19, Mi. Dapprich 2-10 0-0 4, Chapel 1-2 0-0 2, Mo. Dapprich 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-55 2-2 51.

TENNESSEE (8-2): Reynolds 2-6 0-0 4, Burdick 4-8 2-2 10, Graves 1-5 5-9 7, Carter 1-7 2-2 4, Harrison 7-11 0-3 14, Moore 0-0 0-0 0, Massengale 0-4 3-4 3, Nared 1-4 0-0 2, Middleton 4-4 1-2 10. Totals 20-49 13-22 54.

Halftime—Tennessee 31-28. 3-Point Goals—Wichita St. 9-20 (Decker 5-8, Jacobs 2-2, Harden 1-3, Bonner 1-4, Mi. Dapprich 0-3), Tennessee 1-7 (Middleton 1-1, Graves 0-1, Reynolds 0-1, Massengale 0-2, Carter 0-2). Fouled Out—Harden. Rebounds—Wichita St. 24 (Harden 8), Tennessee 45 (Burdick 17). Assists—Wichita St. 7 (Bonner 3), Tennessee 12 (Massengale 4). Total Fouls—Wichita St. 20, Tennessee 9. A—9,026.

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