28 and done: South Carolina ends Lady Vols' SEC home win streak, 64-60

Tennessee and South Carolina players fight for the rebound. 

(SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Saul Young, copyright © 2012

Tennessee and South Carolina players fight for the rebound. (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Leading by seven points with under five minutes to play against South Carolina, Glory Johnson thought she had it all figured out.

"I felt like it was our game'' Tennessee's senior forward said. "We just have to play good defense. We just have to score every once and awhile and keep the lead and it's our game."

She had the right idea but the wrong team in mind.

The Gamecocks made the key defensive plays and hit the big shots down the stretch. La'Keisha Sutton's two free throws with 12 seconds left completed a poised rally and a stunning 64-60 SEC women's basketball victory Thursday night before a crowd of 15,021 at Thompson-Boling Arena.

For No. 8 Tennessee (16-6, 7-2 SEC), the loss ended its 28-game home winning streak in conference play, a streak that began after a 78-62 loss to LSU on Feb. 14, 2008.

For South Carolina (18-5, 7-3), the victory was its first against UT since 1980 and its first in Knoxville ever.

"I really can't put it into words right now,'' said Sutton, who scored 12 points. "It hasn't hit me yet."

The result felt like a wicked slap in the face to Johnson.

"We have home-court advantage,'' she said. "We're sleeping in our own beds before the game. We're having a great pregame meal. We're completely prepared with the scouting report from our coaches. So this loss is on us. There are no excuses."

There was a big reason, however. South Carolina guard Markeshia Grant scored a game-high 27 points, connecting on all seven of her team's 3-pointers.

The 5-foot-6 senior got the upset bid rolling with 15 first-half points. And she kept the dream alive by hitting a transition trey with 3:57 left, which cut UT's advantage to 57-55. The basket was her first in nearly 10 minutes.

"I was just confident in my shot and I knocked it down,'' Grant said.

The Lady Vols had no defensive answer for Grant until they reached down the bench for reserve Kamiko Williams. The junior guard face-guarded Grant and chased her all over the court, even blocking one of her jumpers.

But she lost Grant in transition for the aforementioned trey, which gave the Gamecocks new life.

"I was trying to get to the deepest person,'' Williams said. "I kind of lost track of her."

Even when she missed, Grant helped South Carolina's comeback. Her air-ball jumper was caught by Ashley Bruner, who scored a rebound basket to keep the deficit at three, 60-57, with 3:20 left.

"A player like that can't come to Tennessee and have 27 points on our floor,'' Johnson said. "She basically led her team to victory tonight.

But she needed some followers at the end.

The Gamecocks stole a pass by Tennessee's Ariel Massengale to set up another transition basket and pull within a point. After a defensive stop, Ieasia Walker, Carolina's other double-figure scorer with 11 points, waited for UT's Meighan Simmons to fly by on defense before driving for a layup and the lead for good at 61-60 with 2:04 left.

Sutton closed out the victory by hustling for an offensive rebound, which forced Tennessee to foul.

"I thought they had big plays when they needed to, hit big shots,'' UT associate head coach Holly Warlick said.

Conversely, Johnson had a big miss right at the rim inside the final minute, failing to convert a shot that would've tied the score.

Although Johnson led UT with 13 points, she was limited to 26 playing minutes by foul trouble.

Drawing Johnson fouls with shot fakes was part of a South Carolina plan that drew a nod of respect from UT coach Pat Summitt.

"To say we didn't play particularly well for 40 minutes tonight would be an understatement, but you have to credit Carolina for that'' she said. "They executed a great game plan from start to finish and showed it over and over for 40 minutes."

Dan Fleser may be reached at 865-342-6288. Follow him at http://twitter.com/FleserKNS and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/fleser

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Comments » 143

wigmeister writes:

Another down moment! Can't believe what our teams are doing. You have to protect your house!

dwa7#337691 writes:

the post Summitt era has really begun......1980.....can you believe it?

butch31 writes:

Horrible preparation from the coaching staff, the following people need to come off the bench: Shekinna Stricklen, Vicki Baugh, Alicia Manning, Meighan Simmons, Taber Spani these individuals should really question themselves about putting on a uniform for the Lady Vols.
This was a game that was simple to win, and yet these individuals decided to lose.
I am at a loss for words with this loss. My hat is off to Dawn Staley and South Carolina, they wanted it. Good luck to them from this point on. Shekinna Stricklen doesn't even look like an honorable mention selection at this point LOL. Its really sad to see her choose her senior season to play her worst basketball ever. Vicki & Alicia, all I can say is why did u come to Tennessee? Taber needs to get in shape *(end of story)* I am not sure what Meighan is doing anymore...or why she is on the floor. Briana, Isabelle and Cierra need more playing time. I am not concerned about seeding, ranking or wins, its about dignity & pride at this point. I feel terrible for Glory Johnson & these freshmen.

wdalem#239112 writes:

I think that the lady vols do not play together as a team. After 4 years they seem to want to play a one on one game. Many times tonight Johnson was open in post, but our guards just would not get to ball to her. Strickland was open several times but the ball did not get to her. This is not team work and you sure will not win many games playing like this. Also Baugh needs to lean to play defense and not be afraid of hurting someone feelings. This team seems to have lost it's desire to win from where they were in the first part of the season.

SmokeDog1972 writes:

What she said....

maxvolfan#217855 writes:

Sigh......

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

Uggggly. What can we say? An unranked team, one you have beaten 28 straight games since 1980......comes to your house and out plays you.

Another career night by an opponent ( 27 by Grant. ) Curious after she had made a ton of her first shots that no one was assigned to dog her every step. Dogging was what USC did on defense. It's hard to understand how someone could out fight us on defense especially at TBA. A trademark of Lady Vols basketball used to be the suffocating defense.......like the movie, Gone with the Wind.

The unforced turnovers, blown layups, curious
lineups on the floor ( Baugh was a liability,
Burdick on the bench when we needed a shooter,
and Manning there also when a warrior was needed).

Also, a curse was evident with Staley's UVA coach, Debbie Ryan present along with visor man Spurrier.

Trying very hard to accept the performance we saw but it's tough. Better prepared team walked out with a win. We usually have the answers after the game but will come back and repeat it again anyway.

Lady Vols version of a certain football game we saw late in the year.

underthehill writes:

Spurrier was in the house..something bad had to happen...no..that was not what happened..just got out hustled by a team with more desire to win..

coffy73 writes:

Does Stricklen want to actually play basketball or is she there for the scholarship? Seriously, she has disappeared so much all the seasons she's been at Tenn., I mean, she's not gonna change now. When things go south, we need a leader who will take over or try anyway and tell the others to "follow me". Every great team has it, but we're without it now and that's a serious problem.

TheFuj writes:

When is this going to end? All sports are just going downward.

butch31 writes:

in response to wigmeister:

Another down moment! Can't believe what our teams are doing. You have to protect your house!

How can u protect ANYTHING when:Taber Spani *(31)* mins., Meighan Simmons *(24)* mins., Shekinna Stricklen *(34)* mins., and Vicki Baugh *(9)* mins., with a freshman *(Ariel Masengale 40 mins.)* these 5 individuals will NOT play any defense to save their lives...LMAO! The coaching keeps finding ways to implement them in lineups that results in EPIC FAILURE.

dirislr#209355 writes:

I have an idea for a new tee shirt. " we miss pat"

CaliVOL2 writes:

Sad, sad on so many fronts. I bought my tkts to the WF4 weeks ago thinking these girls would go all out for CPS. I expected them to be in the final four. What's wrong with the "All Americans"?

One_in_West_Knox writes:

How can this team be ranked in the Top 10??

itsgolden writes:

time to get used to the lady vols being a top 20 team. no longer competetive in any area; recruiting, coaching, playing. it's like watching old women (no offense), trying to play a game they once knew. Glory is the only player on the floor hustling every play. that said, she has to finish layups. maybe she's too fatigued after sprinting up and down the floor. who is the conditioning coach? she should be fired. i agree with "butch 31"...why did some of these players come to TN? no discipline, no respect, no heart, no fight...and on and on. Ariel was playing much better earlier in the season...what happened? no more in your face defense, slow getting the ball into the post, lazy passes. i understand she's a freshman, but i expected her game to get better, not worse. Stricklen is clueless and is the slowest player (physically), in women's basketball. Vicki plays like she's 50. When you recruit 6 players in one year, all of whom are 6' or greater and all of whom play the same position, this is what you create. You can't just put these players on the floor and change them into guards. As I stated earlier in the week, this team hasn't shown me they can compete with the best. Makes you wonder who they practice against, because when they play teams with quicker players, they act as if they have never experienced such. People look forward to playing the lady vols...the opposing team knows someone will have a career high night. time to put them out of the locker rooms again, chew them out, make them wash their own dirty laundry - something, anything!!!

coffy73 writes:

in response to dwa7#337691:

the post Summitt era has really begun......1980.....can you believe it?

Oh man, you can say that again and again! I figured after CPS' announcement about her illness that the team would make a conscious effort to make her, possibly last season coaching, be a good one with a 100% effort on the court. If they were playing their hearts out and still losing, they could be cut some slack, but they aren't!

crossvoll writes:

It's already been said, but I'll say it anyways, ANOTHER CAREER HIGH against us tonight, this is getting sickening! Plus we just handed Kentucky the SEC, I thought we would put up a little more of a fight than that. I tried to watch, but could tell there was no heart, players just standing around, what is going on? I'm so sorry Glory, you do play Tennessee basketball and give it your all, but you can't do it alone. You deserved more for your senior year. I just am so sorry about what is happening to Tennessee basketball. What a shame.

Pullingguard writes:

Pat needs to call it quits...She is sick and its telling, so don't drag down the program that you have built Pat... Also, I dont know if its coaching or talent but this team is really a middle of the pack team, no standout player who can lead..

xvolx writes:

Another UT sports program headed south.

martic#220796 writes:

in response to One_in_West_Knox:

How can this team be ranked in the Top 10??

They won't be after this!

SoddyVol writes:

Steels UT 0, SC 7; Turnovers UT 11 SC only 4. Why don’t Vols use their heads when passing? Both the passer and the one being passed to are at fault. They don’t seem to give the opponent guarding them enough credit for any smarts or agility. They also got beat a few times getting back down court. This is the most disappointed I’ve been this year. They let Grant score 27 points. I stand by a post I’ve made before; this group has been un-teachable from 2009 to now.

volfan73120#211815 writes:

I felt we were in trouble when I first saw Steve Spurrier in the stands. It appeared to be a bad omen. Go figure. Sorry about our girls. I look for them to put this behind them and go forward and make us all proud, including themselves. It is not my nature to make derogatory remarks against our players or coaches. I stand behind the vols and always will. I look forward to watching the lady vols play Sunday.

JimmyJoe writes:

THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSE FOR THIS KIND OF POOR EFFORT.... FROM THE TOP DOWN. WE DID NOT COACH WELL ENOUGH TONITE TO BE OUTCOACHED. OUR GIRLS DON'T CARE....OUR POINT GUARD CAN'T POINT OR GUARD BUT SHE STAYED ON THE DANG FLOOR ALL NITE ANYWAY..... STRICKLEN NEEDED TO FIND THE BENCH ABOUT FIVE MINUTES INTO THE GAME AND BE LEFT THERE. WHERE WAS VICKI BAUGH FOR THREE QUARTERS OF EACH HALF? DID PAT FORGET SHE HAD THE TALLEST PLAYER IN THE BUILDING? WHY DIDN'T WE START FOULING WITH FORTY SECONDS LEFT AND PUT THOSE GIRLS ON THE LINE IN A ONE IN ONE SITUATION ABOUT TWO OR THREE TIMES? OH I KNOW WHY BECAUSE WE WOULDN'T HAVE REBOUNDED ANYWAY....AND IF WE HAD WE WOULDN'T HAVE SCORED ON THE OTHER END BECAUSE THE FREAKIN PREMIER PROGRAM IN LADY'S BASKETBALL CAN'T FIND A GIRL WHO CAN HIT A STINKING LAYUP!!!!!!!! THANKS FOR LETTING DOWN THE UNIVERSITY, THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, ABOUT 15000 WHO PAID GOOD MONEY TO SEE YOU STINK IT UP TONITE...AND MOST OF ALL THE ENTIRE STUDENT BODY AT TENNESSEE WHO HAS TO WORK THERE BUTT OFF TO STAY IN SCHOOL WHILE YOU LAZY BUNCH OF GIRLS GET A FREE RIDE. IF YOU ARE NOT TOTALLY EMBARRASSED (AND I REALLY DON'T THINK YOU CARE ENOUGH TO BE)... THEN WE ARE ALL HUMILATED FOR YOU. OH AND BY THE WAY CONGRATULATIONS... YOU JUST LOST THE CONFERENCE TONITE.

jt45 writes:

Real simple, stop the leading scorer, something the coaching staff (Holly Warlick) cant seem to figure out this year. Why the heck is Baugh even playing, she gets punked under the basket by midgets and acts like she is afraid to block a shot. Worst game of the year for Ariel, passing was just awful. Refs let them play football half the game. They out hustled the LVs on every loose ball. No leaders on this team on or off the floor anymore, really just a sad day for UT lady vols basketball and a reminder of whats to come if Holly gets the team when pat retires. South carolina was only averaging 40 something a game and scored their best this year against a team that supposedly thrives on defense.
Hogwash !Bench the whole starting lineup and let the players that really want to play on the floor, at least they would go down fighting instead of smiling like its no big deal.

Welcome to the Holly Warlick show, the last time S.C, beat UT she was also leading the team ( as the point guard)
circa 1980.

g-man writes:

in response to Pullingguard:

Pat needs to call it quits...She is sick and its telling, so don't drag down the program that you have built Pat... Also, I dont know if its coaching or talent but this team is really a middle of the pack team, no standout player who can lead..

definitely not talent, worst assistant coaches in the country, hands down, and the best motivator of all time is quiet,too quiet, time for an overhaul, or it want be nothing to talk about on this site, taber spani played 31 mins in this game 8pts and 4 rebounds and abused on defense, and her minutes keep going up, nuff said

deckermoss writes:

This senior class + Pat's diagnosis = The Perfect Storm. First time I have ever seen a team get worse as the season goes on. Not wasting my money on tournament tickets this year. If the team feels like they can give up, then I guess this fan can too. Sad and pathetic. The only time I felt excited was when Pat jumped up and actually started yelling at them in the huddle. !!!There was the old coach!!!! The rest of the game though, she just sat their with a blank stare. Maybe Nikki is just phoning it in this year at LSU, because she knows she is headed back home next year. A fan can dream I guess.

JimmyJoe writes:

a bad basketball team that is just going to get worse.

Mama_Also_Calls_Me_Precious writes:

Can someone tell me why the coaching staff started Burdick for only four minutes of each half?? She clearly was contributing points, good passes and good rebounds. I had to scratch my head on that one. Are these assistant coaches that bad?? Also, hoopgurlz on espn is reporting that we lost the verbal commitment from the number 2 player in the 2013 class..

One_in_West_Knox writes:

in response to JimmyJoe:

THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSE FOR THIS KIND OF POOR EFFORT.... FROM THE TOP DOWN. WE DID NOT COACH WELL ENOUGH TONITE TO BE OUTCOACHED. OUR GIRLS DON'T CARE....OUR POINT GUARD CAN'T POINT OR GUARD BUT SHE STAYED ON THE DANG FLOOR ALL NITE ANYWAY..... STRICKLEN NEEDED TO FIND THE BENCH ABOUT FIVE MINUTES INTO THE GAME AND BE LEFT THERE. WHERE WAS VICKI BAUGH FOR THREE QUARTERS OF EACH HALF? DID PAT FORGET SHE HAD THE TALLEST PLAYER IN THE BUILDING? WHY DIDN'T WE START FOULING WITH FORTY SECONDS LEFT AND PUT THOSE GIRLS ON THE LINE IN A ONE IN ONE SITUATION ABOUT TWO OR THREE TIMES? OH I KNOW WHY BECAUSE WE WOULDN'T HAVE REBOUNDED ANYWAY....AND IF WE HAD WE WOULDN'T HAVE SCORED ON THE OTHER END BECAUSE THE FREAKIN PREMIER PROGRAM IN LADY'S BASKETBALL CAN'T FIND A GIRL WHO CAN HIT A STINKING LAYUP!!!!!!!! THANKS FOR LETTING DOWN THE UNIVERSITY, THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, ABOUT 15000 WHO PAID GOOD MONEY TO SEE YOU STINK IT UP TONITE...AND MOST OF ALL THE ENTIRE STUDENT BODY AT TENNESSEE WHO HAS TO WORK THERE BUTT OFF TO STAY IN SCHOOL WHILE YOU LAZY BUNCH OF GIRLS GET A FREE RIDE. IF YOU ARE NOT TOTALLY EMBARRASSED (AND I REALLY DON'T THINK YOU CARE ENOUGH TO BE)... THEN WE ARE ALL HUMILATED FOR YOU. OH AND BY THE WAY CONGRATULATIONS... YOU JUST LOST THE CONFERENCE TONITE.

The men's team played like they didn't care last year in the tournament (maybe as they knew that Pearl was likely to be ousted). Now the women's team is similar (maybe as they know that Summitt may be stepping down, and soon).

Dobervol writes:

in response to kiffinsux:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That would be 3.5K, not 3K, wouldn't it?

One_in_West_Knox writes:

in response to kiffinsux:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

...did Pat wear GREEN, NOT orange in the ND game??

deckermoss writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Mama_Also_Calls_Me_Precious writes:

in response to One_in_West_Knox:

The men's team played like they didn't care last year in the tournament (maybe as they knew that Pearl was likely to be ousted). Now the women's team is similar (maybe as they know that Summitt may be stepping down, and soon).

There could be some truth to this. Another worrisome sign is that the number 2 ranked player from the 2013 class has withdrawn her verbal commitment to Tennessee. Could a CPS retirement announcement be coming very soon??

bigdisbig writes:

Dooley must have been in the house. He is rubbing off on Pat. Losing is an infection and Dooley is spreading the disease.

martic#220796 writes:

in response to xvolx:

Another UT sports program headed south.

That's what I've been feeling. Used to be we could count on the ladies when things were not going good. Now there's not one of the major programs that's not in disarray. I'm so disappointed in these girls. But it can't all be blamed on them. They haven't learned to cut off the baseline in all these years. Our offense has been horrible for years, just so happens with this team we have no one capable of stepping up. Horrible substitution, Massengill has probably hit that "freshman wall" that most freshman go through(even the great Mya Moore went through it). I went to watch ETSU play LSU and even though their(ETSU) record is not that good I was impressed with the way the played defense and their execution in that game. I hate to say it but look at Geno's teams and how well they play defense. I'm just so disappointed in these girls,we've had losses before but this one, the Notre Dame and Stanford games were entirely awful, If winning on for CPS not a priority for them they should just go ahead and quit now and quit embarassing the program! By the way what do we have to look forward to next year? The only post player we have is Izzy! I don't know if I can take more of this. Even though I'm sick, I will cheer for them and the other programs all the way!!!!

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

Back at ya' again, then I'll shut up.

Qx is now, where do they go? Their pride is wounded...........deservedly so. What will probably happen is they will play even more out of control, trying to make things happen, things they have not been able to do. Instead of a fluid game, which we haven't seen too often, more than likely they'll probably force the issue. Darn it, I hope that won't happen, but have a feeling it will. What we saw out of Ariel was nonchalantly passing the ball to an opposing player, which has become more of a recurring occurrence. To their credit, the team did shoot free throws well ( except for Stricklen ).

Baugh just isn't getting it done in the post, don't know the reason. Glory was beginning to make a few mid range jump shots but still cannot hit a point blank layup.

Very strange Bass never saw the floor.....someone who might have displayed some quickness defending
South Carolina's guards. Also, Harrison was an observer.......again, maybe she wouldn't have made much difference.

This is the game Shekinna was known to take over, but not to be. To me, the worst of all was the hawking defense South Carolina used, once a trademark of Tennessee. They were pressuring people all night.

Was at the Virginia game in Charlottesville and that game was a red flag. Maybe I brought them bad luck. Again, UVA products, Debbie Ryan ( in attendance ) and her pupil, USC
coach Dawn Staley took over TBA. I just had a feeling after that Virginia game the Lady Vols just don't resemble what we're used to seeing.

I love seeing Pat on the sideline, however we know this isn't the Pat we are used to having, and the other three with her.......I don't know.

Very hard to comprehend this game against an unranked team isn't it? Sorry for the length, grrrrrrrr.

volfan73120#211815 writes:

in response to kiffinsux:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Kiffin, That is really an immature statement you just made. I hope you keep your word about being a no show.

Chartervol writes:

in response to kiffinsux:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

And take the un-Tennessee baby blue off the unis while you're at it.

One_in_West_Knox writes:

Up 57-50, then outscored 14-3!! WHY..DIDN'T...PAT...GET...IN...THEIR...FACES??!!

Chartervol writes:

in response to One_in_West_Knox:

Up 57-50, then outscored 14-3!! WHY..DIDN'T...PAT...GET...IN...THEIR...FACES??!!

Grow up. She's got problems bigger than basketball.

clvolfan writes:

in response to wigmeister:

Another down moment! Can't believe what our teams are doing. You have to protect your house!

This team looks like a Buzz Peterson team.
Absolutely no offence at all,no leadership,no Strickland,this senior class has vanished.

hallmo11 writes:

We are all disappointed by tonight's results....but I am so sick of our fans trashing our Lady Vols. You KNOW they are not happy about losing. Pat is battling a horrid disease that is not allowing her to be at her best. We are all just spoiled. Pat has spoiled us and many of you fans who ranted and posted your derogatory thoughts tonight don't deserve to wear a shirt with a "T" on it. How about lifting our Lady Vols up instead of giving up on us!!!

Millisa writes:

Could had done better No Excuses Didnt play with Passion or Heart Got to get it together Lady Vols if not for yourselves do it for Pat.

Mama_Also_Calls_Me_Precious writes:

in response to hallmo11:

We are all disappointed by tonight's results....but I am so sick of our fans trashing our Lady Vols. You KNOW they are not happy about losing. Pat is battling a horrid disease that is not allowing her to be at her best. We are all just spoiled. Pat has spoiled us and many of you fans who ranted and posted your derogatory thoughts tonight don't deserve to wear a shirt with a "T" on it. How about lifting our Lady Vols up instead of giving up on us!!!

I've seen alot of frustration mainly, nothing derogatory. People are simply frustrated by strange coaching decisions from the assistants and lack of intensity from the players. We all love and respect Pat for all she has accomplished, but that doesn't mean fans aren't going to be upset about a game they should and could have won tonight

movol53 writes:

I'm not proud of the fact that I told you so a week ago when I wrote The Last Whimper. I will not retype it or copy and paste as so many do; if you want to read it look it up. I miss my Lady Vols!!! Our next head coach is Lexington, KY.

r2d2 writes:

Please, please, please. Holly Warlick is not Pat Summitt! The TN AD and Pat need to reassure the new recruits that they plan to hire, for next year, the best women's basketball coarch that can be found. Even if they have to offer someone like Geno twice his salary. However, the coach at Louisville, Texas A&M, Kentucky, UTC or Wisconsin-Green Bay will do just fine.

One_in_West_Knox writes:

in response to Chartervol:

Grow up. She's got problems bigger than basketball.

So, if John Calipari had onset dementia, and his Kentucky players played like they didn't care against the Vols at Rupp Arena and LOST...
Would you support T-shirts that say "We back John!"??

Razor784 writes:

It really hurts to see the UT athletics program and especially the Lady Vols fall to the level that it has fallen to

1968Vol writes:

As said before - take Tennessee as well as the players name off the jersey. This group has not earend the right to have their name associated with the Tennessee Lady Vols.
It is too much ME ME ME not team! Sad!!

deckermoss writes:

in response to hallmo11:

We are all disappointed by tonight's results....but I am so sick of our fans trashing our Lady Vols. You KNOW they are not happy about losing. Pat is battling a horrid disease that is not allowing her to be at her best. We are all just spoiled. Pat has spoiled us and many of you fans who ranted and posted your derogatory thoughts tonight don't deserve to wear a shirt with a "T" on it. How about lifting our Lady Vols up instead of giving up on us!!!

Could agree with you if statements like these were not being made every week. And the idea that anyone who has something negative to say can't wear shirt with a "T" on it, is more offensive than the comments you were responding to.

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