DULUTH, Ga. – As the game turned: With time running out, the Tennessee Lady Volunteers needed somebody to step up as they trailed the Kentucky Wildcats, 59-56.
It was their freshman point guard who answered the call.
With 4:17 remaining on the clock, Jordan Reynolds corralled a rebound following a Janee Thompson miss and went the length of the court and capitalized on a transition layup, drawing a foul in the process.
"I just wanted to push the tempo for my team," said Reynolds of her and-one. "We were moving kind of sluggish in the beginning and I just wanted to go on a run because we were down and we needed any kind of spark.
"It just so happened it was a three-point play and I was just glad that it was me. I was very prideful in that."
After her free throw to tie it up, the Portland, Ore., native continued to trade punches with the Wildcats as she hit a pull-up jumper to knot it up at 61 and assisted the Isabelle Harrison basket that tied the game at 63.
Her final points of the day, however, may have been the biggest of the night as she drained another jump shot to push the Lady Vol lead up to four with 51 seconds remaining.
With the freshman doing more than enough, Tennessee's lone senior, Meighan Simmons, called her own number to clinch the Lady Vols' 17th SEC championship, scoring UT's final four points – as well as forcing a crucial Kentucky turnover – in its 71-70 victory.
Hot topic: The road to their fourth SEC title in five years wasn't an easy one for the Lady Vols.
At some point in all three contests, Tennessee found themselves down double digits but clawed back to claim victory.
And while head coach Holly Warlick said she would obviously rather be leading by double digits early in ballgames, she also stated that she was proud of her team's resiliency and its ability to stay together through adversity.
"We try to make practices as hard as we can," Warlick said. "We talk a lot in our timeouts about the drills we have run and stops that we need to get, and we just keep going back to things we have already worked on, and I think they pull from that.
"They are competitive – and everybody is – but they've got a little bond here and a trust for each other that is really strong and it's a tribute to them for stepping up and not caring who gets the credit or who makes the play.
"(All that matters is) did you make a play and did you win."
Spotlight: Junior forward Cierra Burdick and Harrison were honored following their victory over the Wildcats as two members of the All-Tournament team.
Burdick, who averaged 8.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game, stood stunned at the end of the awards table as her name was called and she was handed her trophy.
"I was shocked," Burdick said. "I had no idea. I just wanted to come out here and play as hard as I could for my team. My coaches always tell me to be the emotional leader. I have so much passion for this game, and I love playing with the people I play with.
"... For me to get that award, I was shocked, but I was grateful and thankful."
Harrison didn't just leave Duluth, Ga., as an All-Tournament player, she left as the tournament player, taking home the Tournament MVP award.
"My freshman year, I really didn't play much, and last year I was out, so I didn't play again," Harrison said, "so this year I just wanted to go in with a different mindset and just do whatever it took to get this win."
That different mindset must've paid off, as the junior center averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds per game in the tournament while shooting 59.1 percent from the field.
"I'm just blessed it was able to happen to me," Harrison said. "(Coach) Dean (Lockwood) has stayed on me to push hard and be consistent and do my best every time I step on the court. I'm glad I was able to get it, but my teammates helped me out so much. I couldn't do it all by myself."
The other guys: Kentucky's DeNesha Stallworth scored a game-high 21 points and added five rebounds.
Linnae Harper and Stallworth were named to the All-Tournament Team, joining Harrison, Burdick and Texas A&M's Courtney Walker.
Outside the box score: With 1:45 remaining in the game, Simmons stepped to the free throw line and drained both attempts giving her 2,000 career points, making her the fifth Lady Vol in history to reach that milestone.
Say something: Andraya Carter when asked about winning the SEC title so close to her hometown of Flowery Branch, Ga.: "It's just awesome. I have so many friends and family here – and old teachers and coaches – and they are just so supportive. With the support I had from my team and the support I had from my community, it's just an awesome feeling."
By the numbers
31.8: After allowing the Wildcats to shoot 53.1 percent in the first half, the Lady Vols held Kentucky to just 31.8 (7-of-22) percent in the closing period.
4: In its three contests over the weekend, Tennessee only made four 3-point field goals.
35: In the first half, the Lady Vols and the Wildcats combined to shoot four free throws, a far cry from the 35 the two teams attempted in the second half.