KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee flirted with danger long enough to eventually pay the price.
Lashann Higgs scored 18 points and led an efficient 3-point attack Sunday as No. 8 Texas defeated No. 4 Tennessee 64-53 to snap the Lady Vols’ 27-game home winning streak.
Although Tennessee (5-1) hadn’t lost at home since a 75-71 defeat by Kentucky in February 2014, the Lady Vols had only won their last four games by a combined margin of 20 points.
“We were setting ourselves up for this,” Tennessee guard Andraya Carter said. “Our games leading up to this we should have won by way more. We were winning by close margins the whole time, but we were just more talented than those teams. We came up against a team that was equally as talented as us, and they played together and they beat us.
“I think this just shows that while you can beat some teams not playing the way you’re supposed to, you can’t beat the top teams.”
Higgs helped make sure Texas came out on top this time. The freshman guard entered the day having missed all seven of her 3-point attempts this season. She regained her shooting touch Sunday by going 3 of 5 from 3-point range, helping Texas shoot 6 of 13 from beyond the arc overall.
Diamond DeShields had 24 points and 11 rebounds to lead Tennessee, but no other Lady Vol had more than six points.
“Diamond’s going to get her points, and she did that,” Texas center Imani Boyette said. “We tried to make sure if Diamond’s going to score, no one else could.”
Brooke McCarty had 12 points and Boyette had 11 points and nine rebounds for Texas (5-0).
Tennessee cut an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit to four when Carter sank two free throws with 1:18 left. Carter then made a midcourt steal to start a fastbreak, but Te’a Cooper missed a contested layup with a minute remaining.
The Lady Vols wouldn’t get any closer, missing their last nine field-goal attempts. Texas focused its defense on slowing down Lady Vols post players Mercedes Russell and Bashaara Graves. Plus, Tennessee couldn’t hit its outside shots and shot just 30.4 percent overall.
We’ve got a talented team, but we’re not getting it done,” Tennessee coach Holly Warlick said. “We’re not getting it done. … Talent doesn’t always win games.”
News on Bevo Beat is free and unlimited. Access to the rest of Hookem.com is included with an Austin American-Statesman subscription in addition to Statesman.com and the ePaper edition. Subscribe today at statesman.com/subscribe.