(UTLadyVols.com) - TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- On the day she announced that she's leaving for the WNBA draft and Olympic play after the season, Candace Parker scored 19 points to help lead No. 3 Tennessee to an 85-58 win over Alabama on Thursday night.
The Lady Vols (24-2, 10-1 Southeastern Conference) opened fast and had a 21-point lead, 31-10 with 8:42 left to go in the first half.
Then the Crimson Tide (8-19, 1-11 SEC) went on a 17-7 run -- with Parker and other Tennessee starters on the bench -- to cut Tennessee's lead to 11 points.
Then Tennessee sent the starters back in and led by 20 at 49-29 going into the half.
The Lady Vols came into Thursday's game with a 39-2 advantage in the series, and have won 35 consecutive meetings. The last time Alabama beat the Lady Vols was in 1984.
Tennessee entered Thursday's game fighting for an SEC championship, while Alabama was just trying to avoid ending up at the bottom of the conference for the second straight season.
Parker, the first woman to win a national slam dunk contest, announced earlier in the day that she will skip her final season at Tennessee for the chance to play professionally.
The redshirt junior will graduate at the end of this season and plans to participate in the Olympics and pursue a professional career, Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said. Parker redshirted her freshman season to recover from surgeries to repair a torn knee ligament.
-For the seventh straight game, Tennessee built a double-digit lead in the first half.
-Every dressed Lady Vol scored by halftime and four orange-clad players reached double figures.
The win a tonight…
-Improves the Lady Vols to 24-2 on the season and 10-1 in the SEC
-Gives UT at least 10 wins in league play for the 15th season overall and the 10th year in a row.
-Gives UT 13-0 record against unranked opponents this season.
-Gives UT a 40-2 lead in the all-time series with Alabama, including a 33-game winning streak in the matchup.
-Gives UT a 391-59 all-time record against teams from the SEC including a 262-34 mark in league play.
-Gives Pat Summitt a career record of 971-182 in her 34th season at Tennessee.
-Started for the 121st time in her career, tying Bridgette Gordon for fifth place on the career starts list at UT.
-With her first bucket, she became the 33rd Lady Vol in program history to cross the 1,000-point plateau for her career, making her just the 13th UT player to amass 1,000 points and 800 rebounds for her career.
-Scored in double figures for the 13th time this season and the 34th time of her career.
-Broke Bridgette Gordon’s 19-year-old Tennessee record for career steals (333). She now has 335 and stands in ninth place in the SEC record books.
-Recorded at least five steals in a game for the fourth time this season and the 15th time in her career.
-Moved past Kara Lawson for fourth place in the UT record books for career assists (457).
-Recorded at least three treys in a game for the ninth time this season
-Moved into a tie with Shanna Zolman for eighth place for single-season three-point field goals made (58).
-Moved past Kristen “Ace” Clement and Loree Moore and into 16th place in the UT career record books for three-pointers made (58).
-Moved past Mary Ostrowski (1,272), Nikki McCray (1,273), Sheila Frost (1,277) and Shelia Collins (1,280) and into 10th place in the UT career record books for field goal attempts (1,282).
-For the third year in a row, her single-season free throw attempts (186) and blocked shots (57) rank in the top-10 in the UT record books.
-Scored in double figures for the 32nd straight game and the 93rd time of her career.
Story Courtesy: UT Lady Vols Sports Information
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