Lady Vols pull away in final 6 minutes to beat Green Bay

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TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Tennessee flirted with an ugly end to a disappointing season before a freshman led the Lady Vols out of trouble and to another NCAA Tournament victory.

Te’a Cooper scored 15 points on 7-for-11 shooting and Tennessee pulled away in the final six minutes to beat Wisconsin-Green Bay 59-53 in the opening round Friday.

“I was really ready to play,” the 5-foot-8 guard said. “I think I prepared well with coach Holly (Warlick) and with assistant coach Dean (Lockwood) with the scout report and watching film before the game. So I was ready and focused and I was in tune.”

The seventh-seeded Lady Vols (20-13) used a 10-0 run to take control in the final minutes after trailing much of the game. No. 10 seed Green Bay (28-5) went 6:07 without scoring after taking a 49-48 lead with 6:11 to play.

Tennessee improved to 28-1 all-time in first-round NCAA play and advanced to Sunday’s second-round contest against No. 2 seed Arizona State.

Diamond DeShields added 14 points but on 4-of-14 shootings. She scored eight points in the first quarter but was just 1-for-7 after that. Mercedes Russell scored eight points and grabbed 13 rebounds for the Lady Vols.

Allie LeClaire scored 14 points, Kaili Lukan 12 and Jessica Lindstrom 11 for the Phoenix.

Green Bay, the Horizon League regular season and tournament champion, led by as many as eight points in the first half and five in the second.

The bigger Lady Vols finally began to exert control inside and caught the Phoenix at 40-40 on Cooper’s driving layup with 1:50 left in the third quarter.

After that, there were nine lead changes in a 5 1/2-minute span. Lukan’s layup gave Green Bay its final lead, 49-48, then the freshman Cooper sank a jumper with 5:50 to go to put the Lady Vols ahead for good 50-49.

It started a 10-0 run that put the game away for Tennessee. DeShields capped the surge with a pair of free throws that made it 58-49 with 21 seconds to play.

“I think we knew we just had to stay composed no matter what happened,” Russell said, “and then on the defensive end we had to really get big stops every time they came down the court. And then on the offensive side, we just had to convert and execute in our plays.”

The Lady Vols, who finished tied for seventh in the SEC and had their worst NCAA seed in school history, clinched their 40th consecutive 20-win season.

Warlick called it one of Cooper’s best games.

“Our defense, getting up and pressuring, finally made a difference,” the coach said, “and it started with Te’a. And she was aggressive and she played under control. I think during the season at times, she would play a little bit out of control. But high school to college, it is difficult, and I think just right now she’s understanding what she can and can’t do.”

The smaller Phoenix outrebounded Tennessee 40-38 and had a 30-22 advantage in points in the paint. But Green Bay, which relies on long-range shooting for its strength, was just 3-for-17 on 3s. Tesha Buck was 0-for-11 from the field, 0-for-8 on 3-pointers.

“We had really good looks and didn’t make them,” Phoenix coach Kevin Borseth said. “That’s usually what our forte is.”

The Phoenix were up 38-33 after Lindstrom sank two free throws with 5:11 left in the third quarter. But Cooper sank a 15-footer, then converted a three-point play and it was tied at 38-38 with 2:40 left.

There were four lead changes in the final 1:08 of the quarter with Mehryn Kraker’s inside basket with three seconds left giving Green Bay a 45-44 lead entering the final period.

Green Bay guards broke through for layups against the bigger Lady Vols early.

The Phoenix opened the second quarter with an 11-2 run to lead 24-16 on LeClaire’s short bank shot with 5:15 left in the half.

At one point, Green Bay had a 14-2 advantage in points in the paint, but Tennessee finally began to dominate the game inside.

Russell, the Lady Vols’ 6-foot-6 center, had a pair of rebound baskets as the Lady Vols finished the half with an 11-3 surge. Bashaara Graves’ 12-foot jumper with 20 seconds left tied the game at 27-27 at the break.

2022-2023 Atlantic 10 Basketball Schedule: How to watch men’s and women’s games on USA Network and NBC Sports

Atlantic 10 basketball is coming to NBC Sports this 2022-2023 season! Here's how to watch!
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Atlantic 10 basketball is headed to NBC Sports! During the 2022-2023 season, 35 exciting matchups will be featured on USA Network and NBC Sports digital platforms, including exclusive coverage of the 2023 Atlantic 10 Men’s Championship second round and quarterfinals, 26 men’s regular-season matchups, and three women’s regular-season games.

The action tips off on Saturday, December 10 on USA Network as the Drexel Dragons head to Tom Gola Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to take on the La Salle Explorers at 12:00 p.m. ET. Immediately after, the Dayton Flyers will face the UNC Asheville Bulldogs at UD Arena in Dayton, Ohio at 2:00  p.m. ET.

All coverage on USA Network streams live on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. See below for the 2022-2023 Atlantic 10 men’s and women’s basketball schedules as well as additional information on how to watch/live stream each game.

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2022-2023 Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Schedule:

*All times are listed as ET

DATE GAME NETWORK/PLATFORM TIME (ET)
Saturday, Dec. 10 Drexel at La Salle USA Network Noon
Saturday, Dec. 10 UNC Asheville at Dayton USA Network 2 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 7 Davidson at VCU USA Network Noon
Saturday, Jan. 7 UMass at George Washington USA Network 2 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 14 Loyola Chicago at Saint Joseph’s USA Network 12:30 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 14 Richmond at St. Bonaventure USA Network 2:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 17 UMass at VCU NBC Sports App, NBCSports.com 7 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 21 Dayton at George Washington USA Network 12:30 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 21 La Salle at Saint Louis USA Network 2:30 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 29 Saint Joseph’s at George Mason USA Network Noon
Saturday, Feb. 4 Davidson at UMass USA Network 12:30 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 4 George Mason at Loyola Chicago USA Network 2:30 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 5 Fordham at Richmond USA Network Noon
Saturday, Feb. 11 St. Bonaventure at Duquesne USA Network 12:30 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 11 Fordham at Davidson USA Network 2:30 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 18 Saint Joseph’s at Davidson USA Network 12:30 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 18 Fordham at VCU USA Network 2:30 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 19 George Washington at St. Bonaventure USA Network 2 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 22 St. Bonaventure at Davidson NBC Sports App, NBCSports.com 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 25 Rhode Island at Fordham USA Network 2:30 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 26 Saint Joseph’s at St. Bonaventure USA Network Noon
Sunday, Feb. 26 Davidson at Duquesne USA Network 2 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 28 La Salle at Dayton NBC Sports App, NBCSports.com 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 4 George Mason at Richmond USA Network 12:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 4 St. Bonaventure at UMass USA Network 2:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 4 VCU at George Washington USA Network 4:30 p.m.

How to watch the 2022-2023 Atlantic 10 Men’s Championship on USA Network:

DATE GAME TIME (ET)
Wednesday, March 8 A-10 Championship Second Round Noon, 2:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 8:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 9 A-10 Championship Quarterfinals Noon, 2:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 8:30 p.m.

How to watch 2022-2023 Atlantic 10 Women’s Basketball on NBC Sports:

  • Wednesday, January 25 – George Washington at Loyola Chicago at 12:00 p.m. ET
  • Thursday, January 26 – VCU at UMass at 12:00 p.m. ET
  • Wednesday, February 8 – St. Bonaventure at George Mason – 7:00 p.m. ET

Peacock Classic 2022: How to watch Gonzaga vs. Baylor, live stream info and game preview

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Two of men’s college basketball’s elite programs are set to face off when the No. 6 Baylor Bears and No. 14 Gonzaga Bulldogs play in the inaugural “Peacock Classic” Friday night. The game marks a rematch of the highly-anticipated 2021 NCAA National Championship Game, and the Zags will certainly look to get some revenge after Baylor ended their bid at an undefeated season.

The two programs boast two of the best coaches in the country, with Scott Drew of Baylor and Mark Few of Gonzaga working the sidelines. The “Peacock Classic” also marks a crucial point in the development of name, image and likeness deals at the collegiate level. Read on to learn everything you need to know ahead of the event.


How to watch the 2022 “Peacock Classic”

Only those with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan can stream the event. Sign up here or, if you have a free account, upgrade to Premium by going to your account settings.


A new world of NIL opportunities

For the first time, college athletes will be able to earn money by promoting a game in which they are playing.

Eligible players for both Baylor and Gonzaga can opt-in through NBC Sports Athlete Direct – a NIL community connecting student-athletes, advertisers and fans – and promote the game’s sponsors on their personal social media channels.

All participating players will be paid the same rate for their involvement.


Rematch of 2021 NCAA National Championship Game and series history

Baylor’s 86-70 victory over Gonzaga in the 2021 championship game marked the Bears’ first-ever NCAA men’s basketball title. The game carried added stakes since the Bulldogs entered it with a 31-0 record – the first team to make the championship game without a loss since Larry Bird’s Indiana State Sycamores in 1979.

That matchup was a rightful bout between the two behemoths of that season – it was the first championship game that featured the tournament’s top two overall seeds since North Carolina beat Illinois in 2005. Baylor jumped all over Gonzaga in the early going, playing an aggressive style that prevented the Bulldogs from getting into their fluid offense and opened up its own attack for 3-pointers. Gonzaga was a -4.5-point favorite but never led in the game.

Gonzaga leads the all-time series between the teams 5-1, having won all their matchups with Baylor before the championship game. The previous meeting before 2021 saw Gonzaga eliminate Baylor from the 2019 NCAA tournament in the second round by a score of 83-71.


How Baylor and Gonzaga match up with each other

Both teams have been tested multiple times early in their seasons. Gonzaga (5-2) has defeated two teams currently ranked – No. 20 Michigan State and No. 19 Kentucky – but lost to No. 2 Texas and No. 5 Purdue. The Zags last played on Sunday, when they outlasted Xavier 88-84 to secure third place in the Phil Knight Legacy men’s tournament.

Baylor (5-2) has had it slightly easier but has still had to deal with talented teams; they lost to No. 3 Virginia and defeated No. 21 UCLA in back-to-back games earlier this month. They’re coming off a surprising 96-70 loss to Marquette in Wisconsin Tuesday night as part of the Big East-Big 12 Battle.

Gonzaga will face a tough task in trying to slow down Baylor’s offense, whose 88.1 points per game ranks ninth in the country.

The Bears are paced by a duo of strong guards. LJ Cryer leads the team at 17.9 points per game, and Adam Flagler is not far behind at 16.9 points per contest while averaging 6.9 assists.

Baylor also boasts the services of freshman Keyonte George, another talented guard who could be a lottery pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.

Naismith Player of the Year Award candidate Drew Timme leads the way for the Zags, averaging 20.3 points and 7.7 rebounds. He’s flanked by Julian Strawther, who’s putting up 14.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per night.

Timme and Strawther are two of the six Gonzaga players left over from the 2021 finalist team, so vengeance will be top of mind. Baylor also has six holdovers from that championship matchup, including Cryer and Flagler.

With both teams ranked and looking to prove themselves early in the season, Friday will be a statement game – in more ways than one.