The LSU women's basketball team led number 18 Tennessee by as many as 18 points late in the first half only to see its advantage erased with 8:33 to play. However, LSU's Katherine Graham made two free throws with 7.9 seconds to play to defeat the Lady Vols, 63-61, on Thursday.
Playing without leading-scorer Allison Hightower for much of the second half, LSU (16-9, 9-4 SEC) clinched a first-round bye in next week's SEC Women's Basketball Tournament in North Little Rock, Ark.
Winners for four-straight games including two over ranked opponents, the Lady Tigers solidified their position among the NCAA's 64-team field.
With the game tied at 61-61, LSU guard Latear Eason grabbed an offensive rebound with 36 seconds left. Eason reset the offense and handed off to Graham who worked the shot clock under 10. Driving down the right side of the lane, Graham was fouled as she passed the ball into the corner.
The sophomore drained both ends of the 1-and-1, putting the Lady Tigers ahead by two.
After two Tennessee timeouts, Eason pressured the ball into the frontcourt and didn't allow a shot. Gloria Johnson was tied up by LSU forward LaSondra Barrett as time expired.
Though officials put 0.3 seconds back on the game clock, LSU in-bounded the ball and the horn sounded.
Barrett led the Lady Tigers with 19 points, three steals and two blocked shots, while Hightower had 14 and Graham scored 12.
After holding Tennessee to 7-of-25 shooting in the first half, LSU led 35-17 just before halftime. The Lady Vols (19-9, 8-5 SEC) bounced back to shoot 66.7 percent in the second half (16 of 24), but never took a lead.
Tennesse was led by guard Angie Bjorklund with 21 points, while guard Shekinna Stricklen added 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting.