KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Candace Parker scored a season-high 34 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and Alexis Hornbuckle added 17 points to help the top-ranked Tennessee Lady Volunteers beat Middle Tennessee 84-61 on Thursday night.
Parker set a Tennessee record by taking 21 free throws. She made 17 of her attempts.
Alex Fuller added 16 points and seven rebounds for Tennessee (8-0), which played its first game in more than a week after a break for exams. Amber Holt led the Blue Raiders (3-5), who played their sixth road game of the season, with 28 points and five assists. It was Middle Tennessee's first contest since Dec. 5.
The layoff didn't seem to bother Middle Tennessee early on. MTSU made its first four 3-pointers to put the Lady Vols in an early hole. Tennessee responded by holding the Blue Raiders scoreless for almost 6 minutes while taking their first lead at 16-14. The Lady Vols then stretched their advantage to nine points at the break and led by as many as 24 in the second half.
Still, it wasn't a comfortable victory for a short-handed Tennessee team, which saw its advantage cut to five points with 7:33 to play and was without starting point guard Shannon Bobbitt for much of the second half.
Bobbitt was bleeding from a forehead laceration when leaving the court with 9:06 left and didn't return. Tennessee, which dressed only nine players, then put the game out of reach with a 18-0 run sparked by Parker, who scored nine of 11 Lady Vols points at one stage of the second half.
Starr Orr had 12 points and Johnna Abney 11 for the Blue Raiders, who made 10 or more 3-pointers in a game for the fourth time this season.
Holt kept MTSU close by scoring 20 points in the second half. Middle Tennessee fell to 0-9 against the Lady Vols all time. It was their first game against a No. 1 team since 1983. Tennessee beat the Blue Raiders 88-64 last year in their first meeting since 1984.
To comment, the following rules must be followed:
Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.
Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Links require admin approval before posting.
Questions may be sent to email@example.com. Please provide detailed information.