By CHARLES ODUM
The Associated Press
DULUTH, Ga. - Dee Davis scored 19 points, including a crucial basket with 23 seconds left, to lead No. 13 Vanderbilt to a 51-45 victory over No. 11 LSU in the Southeastern Conference tournament championship game on Sunday night.
Third-seeded Vanderbilt (28-5) won its third SEC tournament championship in six years.
Carla Thomas added 13 points for Vanderbilt, which has six tournament titles overall, most recently in 2002 and 2004.
Christina Wirth scored with 2:04 left to give Vanderbilt a 46-43 lead. Following a missed 3-pointer by LSU's Erica White, Davis missed a 3 but Caroline Williams grabbed the rebound for the Commodores.
Vanderbilt, still holding the ball and the three-point lead, called a timeout with 44 seconds left. Davis caught the inbounds pass but White forced her to turn the ball over.
LSU's Ashley Thomas, fouled by Jessica Mooney with 29 seconds left, made two free throws to cut the lead to 46-45. LSU extended its defense, but Davis broke through a trap for an uncontested layup and a 48-45 lead with 23 seconds left.
Rashonta LeBlanc missed a 3-pointer for LSU, and Vanderbilt's Jennifer Risper pushed the lead to 50-45 with two free throws.
LeBlanc led LSU (26-7) with 19 points. Sylvia Fowles had 13 points and nine rebounds to finish one rebound away from her 20th consecutive double-double.
Vanderbilt advanced to the final with two wins in high-scoring games 105-77 over Florida and 81-56 over Georgia. The slower pace in the final seemed to favor LSU, which allowed an average of 50 points in its first two tournament wins over Mississippi and Tennessee.
A slow-paced first half gained steam with three lead changes in the final minute. Williams' only field goal of the half gave Vanderbilt a 24-23 lead at the break, but the Commodores had reason to worry about the combined five fouls between their two top inside players.
Backup Liz Sherwood was called for her third foul with 3:05 left in the half after Thomas already had two fouls the price of trying to stay in front of Fowles.
Fowles didn't have a foul in the first half but picked up three in the first 8 minutes of the second half.
Even with Fowles out of the game for a short break, LSU stayed even with Vanderbilt as neither team could make a run. A 3-pointer by Davis gave Vanderbilt a 30-27 lead, but LeBlanc immediately answered with a 3.
Similarly, an inside basket by Vanderbilt's Thomas prompted a quick answer by Fowles for a 34-34 tie.
Finally, the Commodores managed back-to-back baskets by Mooney and Davis for a 42-40 lead with 4:31 left.