SPOKANE, Wash. -- Stunning the biggest crowd of the regionals so far, Tennessee climbed back from a 17-point deficit with 6:34 to go and overcame a poor offensive performance for most of the game to rally past 11th-seeded Gonzaga 73-69 in overtime at Spokane Arena on Saturday night.
It was the first overtime period in the Sweet 16 or later since 2013.
This was the largest comeback in Holly Warlick's tenure as the Tennessee head coach.
This was the Lady Vols' first overtime game this season and their first overtime game in the NCAA tournament since they beat Connecticut 88-83 back on March 29, 1996. Tennessee is 29-16 all-time in overtime games.
Turning point: Down 57-40 with 6:34 to go, Tennessee finally found an offensive rhythm and another gear on the defensive end, and finished the half by outscoring Gonzaga 23-6 down the stretch to send the game into overtime.
Gonzaga went scoreless for a 4-minute stretch during Tennessee's run.
Key stat: Free throw shooting. Tennessee hit 21 of 22 free throws in the game and was 10-for-10 from the line in the overtime period, accounting for all of its scoring in the extra period.
Key player: Senior Cierra Burdick finished with 22 points and 15 rebounds, providing the spark the Tennessee offense desperately needed. Burdick didn't have a great shooting night -- she was 7-of-17 from the floor. But she was 8-of-8 from the line in some big situations, including four overtime free throws.
How it was won: Tennessee cranked up the defensive pressure on Gonzaga, making it difficult for the Bulldogs to find open shots down the stretch. The Lady Vols turned up the full-court press and forced the Bulldogs into 11 second-half turnovers and some desperation shots. Tennessee also forced a huge turnover late in overtime by pushing the Zags into a shot-clock violation. Gonzaga made just one of its last six shots from the floor.
What's next: Tennessee faces top-seeded Maryland in the Elite Eight in the hopes of claiming its first spot in the Final Four since 2008, when it last won a championship under Pat Summitt.