TEMPE, Ariz. — Tennessee’s Te’a Cooper wasn’t planning to pass and teammate Bashaara Graves wasn’t expecting one.
The two Lady Vols turned a moment of spontaneity into something special in an NCAA tournament first-round game on Friday. They collaborated on a key play at a key moment of UT’s 59-53 victory over Green Bay at Wells Fargo Arena.
Cooper’s impromptu pass set up Graves’ driving basket, which was part of pivotal 10-point scoring run in the final 5 minutes, 50 seconds. The surge erased a one-point deficit in a women’s basketball game that featured seven ties and 16 lead changes.
The victory advanced Tennessee (20-13) to a second-round game Sunday (TV: ESPN2, 9 p.m.) against No. 2 seed Arizona State (26-6), a 74-52 first-round winner over New Mexico State Friday.
Dan Fleser covers Tennessee women’s basketball. Follow him at Twitter.com/fleserKNS