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Gators stun Vols, a first in Knoxville

The Vols don't seem so dominant anymore.

No. 5 Tennessee lost at home Sunday to an unranked team for the second time in school history and first time in 22 years, falling 95-93 to Florida in overtime.

It was the Gators' first win in Knoxville and only their second overall against the Vols.

On top of that, UT lost to two unranked teams in one season for the first time since the women's rankings started in 1976. Its first loss to an unranked team this year came at Kentucky, 66-63 on Jan. 26.

The Gators (20-7, 8-6 SEC) reached 20 wins for the first time under coach Carolyn Peck, a former Tennessee assistant.

"Teams come in and see Tennessee on the jersey and fold. The game is over before it even starts," said UF guard Sarah Lowe, who had 15 points, seven rebounds, six assists, six steals and no turnovers while playing the entire 45 minutes. "It's a matter of coming out and giving it everything you've got, and that's what we did."

Tennessee's strange regular season ended with a stinging loss on senior day and left coach Pat Summitt still harping on defense, the signature of her 32-year career.

"We're Tennessee. It's not like anyone is going to feel sorry for us," Summitt said. "We have yet to buy into defense."

The Vols (25-4, 11-3) had never lost to an unranked team in Thompson-Boling Arena, which opened in 1987. Unranked Cincinnati beat then-No. 12 UT 72-69 on Nov. 26, 1984, in the university's old arena.

It was only the 16th loss for Tennessee in the arena. Florida is the second SEC team to win for the first time here. LSU did it in February, snapping UT's 64-game home winning streak over SEC teams.

Brittany Davis scored a career-high 29, Sha Brooks added 25 and Danielle Santos and Dalila Eshe each scored 13 for UF.

The Gators, who had a season-high 20 steals, used a full-court press that forced most of the Vols' season-high 28 turnovers and further exposed the loss of point guard Alexis Hornbuckle. Without a true backup, UT has struggled to replace Hornbuckle, who broke her right wrist this month and is out for the season.

"Another valuable lesson was handed to us. Our defense and ball-handling killed us," Summitt said.

Tennessee rallied from 11 down in regulation, cutting the lead to 82-79. Shanna Zolman followed with a 3 with 8.4 seconds left to tie it and send it into overtime.

The Gators grabbed the lead early in the second half and didn't trail again until overtime. But that only lasted 15 seconds.

Candace Parker converted a three-point play to put UT ahead 87-84 with 3 minutes left in the extra period.

Davis hit her only 3 of the game, then made the second of two free throws on the ensuing possession to give the lead back to Florida, and the Gators held on to win. After the buzzer, Peck and her players huddled at midcourt to celebrate.

"I know from being on the other side of being here, when Tennessee makes a run at you, most teams fold and go away," Peck said. "I thought our team did a good job of trying to maintain their composure."

Parker posted career-highs with 34 points and 15 rebounds.

Tennessee rallied from 11 down in regulation, cutting the lead three. UT's Shanna Zolman hit a 3 with 8.4 seconds left to tie and send it into overtime.

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