The game was so close that two teams thought they won it.
Rutgers was the first winner. Coach C. Vivian Stringer hugged an assistant coach in joy as a flurry of Tennessee shots missed their mark in the final seconds.
Imagine the thrill.
Rutgers hadn't just upset No. 1-ranked Tennessee on its home floor at Thompson-Boling Arena. It had posted back-to-back victories against No. 1-ranked teams - first, Connecticut just six days earlier; then, the Lady Vols, who had succeeded UConn atop the top-25 rankings on Monday afternoon.
Then, imagine the chill.
"I was on the floor," Stringer said. "My coach was picking me up. The game was over.
"And then, all of a sudden out of the blue … "
Out of the blue came two - a precious two-tenths of a second still hanging on the clock when an official called a foul on Rutgers' Kia Vaughn.
Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt was more surprised by Rutgers' celebration than the call.
"I saw her (Stringer) turn around and hug one of her assistants," Summitt said. "And I'm looking up, and there's still time on the clock.
"So I'm assuming we still had a shot."
In fact, they had two shots. Nicky Anosike made both of them at the foul line to give UT a 59-58 victory and convince the Scarlet Knights they had been robbed in a brightly lit arena on national television.
Television viewers qualified as witnesses to the crime. The consensus: The clock appeared to freeze before the foul was called.
"It has nothing to do with Tennessee," Stringer said. "It has nothing to do with their players and coaches. It's human error."
"This should not be tolerated," Stringer said later in the press conference. "We have a question mark behind the game.
"But thank God, it wasn't an NCAA championship. Or quite frankly, I would probably lose my job."
You need a cram course in clock mechanics to understand what happened. And even that won't likely convince the Scarlet Knights that they lost the basketball game.
The game clock can only be stopped by an official's whistle, according to Tim Reese, the arena manager.
"Officials are using a precision-timing device, which is used by the SEC and most of the major conferences," he said. "It's tied into the control panel, and controls the game clock."
In addition to the whistle and an attached microphone, the officials also are armed with a belt pack, which sends a wireless signal to the clock. And the hip bone is connected to the …
Stringer tried to get a human explanation immediately after the game.
The officials told her "everything was fine," that the foul occurred before the clock expired.
"So now we've got bad eyes," Stringer concluded.
Summitt also had a question for the officials. She went on to the floor to lobby for a flagrant foul.
"She (Anosike) went down hard," Summitt said.
The officials didn't buy it. "No, it's just a foul," they told her.
Just a foul was just enough for the Lady Vols. But another foul figured in Stringer's post-game frustration.
In a 60-58 loss to Stanford last November, Rutgers' Epiphanny Prince was called for a backcourt foul against Candice Wiggins with one-tenth of a second left. Like Anosike, Wiggins made both free throws.
It got worse after the game when Wiggins said she wasn't fouled, according to Stringer. Combine that with what happened Monday night, and you can understand why Stringer was talking about writing a book, presumably on atrocities committed by officials.
You think she would feel any better if someone explained how an official's whistle is connected to a belt pack, which sends a wireless signal to the clock? No, I don't think so, either.
And neither would her team.
Two teams went home thinking they had won the basketball game. One went home happy.
Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or firstname.lastname@example.org.