Spani finally broke Tennessee's 3-point drought right after that, and the Lady Vols were able to chip away at the 20-point deficit. Their full-court pressure, which wasn't tight enough to prevent over-the-top passes for layups in the first half, started to be effective.
Tennessee gave up just one basket over an 8-minute span, and Williams' short jumper at the end of an 18-6 rally got the Lady Vols as close as 68-65 with 4:28 remaining.
Spani missed a 3-pointer from the right wing that would have tied it on the next possession, and Tennessee's comeback fizzled after that.
Shoni Schimmel had a pair of driving layups and Jude Schimmel hit a 3-pointer and set up Slaughter for a reverse layup in a 9-3 burst for Louisville. Even when Simmons, who started out 1 for 22 in the two games in Oklahoma City, hit three late 3-pointers, it wasn't enough for Tennessee.
"We thought we had a good year, but we didn't have a great year. That's just the nature of our program and our expectations," said Holly Warlick, the longtime assistant in her first season replacing NCAA wins leader Pat Summitt as coach.
"Whether you're Pat Summitt or myself, it's just what we're all about. It's in our blood. It's in our makeup."
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