The No. 3 Lady Vols defeated the visiting Mississippi State Bulldogs 72-46 to earn their 25th win of the season. Candace Parker led UT with 72-46 points.
Tennessee led 27-22 at the half.
Alexis Hornbuckle and Shannon Bobbitt each netted 11 points for Tennessee.
Alexis Rack led the way for the Bulldogs with 15 points. Marneshia Richard added 11.
Parker had five blocks on the night, the fifth broke the Lady Vol record for career blocked shots. Parker broke Sheila Frost's 246 record set from 1985-89.
Tennessee hosts Florida on Thursday night on what will be the last home game for Parker and seniors Alexis Hornbuckle, Nicky Anosike, Shannon Bobbitt and Alberta Auguste. The game is set for 7:00 p.m. ET and was not picked up for TV.
-Tennessee extended its streak of games with a three-pointer to 329.
-Mississippi State was held without a field goal from the 18:20 mark to the 7:56 mark in the first half - a span of 10 minutes and 24 seconds.
-The Lady Vols’ 27 first-half points tied for their fewest in the opening period this season.
-Mississippi State’s 46 points were the fewest by a UT opponent since Ole Miss managed just 44 on Jan. 31, 2008.
The win today…
-Improves the Lady Vols to 25-2 on the season, 11-1 in the SEC
-Gives UT a 28-0 lead in the all-time series with Mississippi State.
-Gives UT a 392-59 all-time record against teams in the SEC and a 263-34 mark in league games.
-Gives UT a 163-12 record against the SEC in Knoxville.
-Gives Pat Summitt a career record of 972-182 in her 34th season at Tennessee.
-With her eight rebounds today, she moved past Lisa Harrison (811) and into a tie with Pashen Thompson (816) for 12th place in the UT record books for career rebounds.
-Scored in double figures for the 33rd consecutive game, tying her own record of straight double-digit scoring performances.
-Broke the 19-year old Tennessee career blocks record (246) held previously by Shelia Frost (1986-89). Parker now has 247 in her career.
-Attempted 10+ free throws in a game for the eighth time this season.
-Record 5+ plus blocks for the 15th time in her career.
-Moved past Deborah Denton (Vanderbilt, 1986-89) and into eighth place in the SEC record books for career steals (339)
-Scored in double figures for the 13th time this season and the 62nd time of her career.
-Scored in double figures for the 12th time this season and the 28th time of her career.
TENNESSEE HEAD COACH PAT SUMMITT
(opening remarks): “In the second half ,we were better than we were in the first. At halftime, I was not at all pleased. As a coaching staff, we think you can’t take possessions off. You just can’t do that. This team has to understand that they get every team’s A game. Mississippi State played us tough at their place. Alberta (Auguste) did a great job off the bench. Vicki (Baugh) did some good things, and Alex (Fuller) did too. We expect our starters to be more effective and do a better job on the defensive end. They have to be more committed for 40 minutes.”
(on first half frustrations): “We were frustrated. They got out in the passing lanes. We missed some easy shots, for whatever reason. We got quality looks, but we only had three points on second-chance opportunities in the first half. It was very telling. Typically, we are a much better team on the glass. In the second half we did much better.”
(on not scoring from three-point range): “We weren’t scoring well from three-point range. When we aren’t doing that, we’ve got to go inside. Angie (Bjorklund) was 0-6 on three-pointers, and when that happens, she has got to make more dribble drives. When a player is committed to shooting three-pointers, she can be too committed. We’ve got to get the ball to the paint. Shannon (Bobbitt) pushed the tempo well, but we want her to focus on her mid-range game as well.”
(on Candace Parker setting the block record): “Candace has the ability to block shots because of her size and anticipation. She plays behind players. She has worked on not going for blocks early and being more patient on defense. She is committed to anchoring down our defense in the paint, and that is what we want her to do from a defensive standpoint.”
(on Vicki Baugh’s improvement over the last few games): “Vicki’s comfort level is up, and my comfort level is better, too. I can sleep a lot better because she is coming into her own. One challenge we have put to her is for her to be more aggressive on defense and she has responded. In the postseason, it will be important when we go to the bench to know that she can have an impact on the outcome. I am proud to see her focusing on being a scorer and not just a passer or a defender.”
(on not going with as many set calls): “It kept us in front. We didn’t get to the part where we were settled. We didn’t make a lot of calls. In the second half, we played off more screen sets. We’ll take a look at that. We wanted to play and not be married to sets. They kept us from getting dribble drives.”
(on better play in the second half): “Our defense was better in the second than in the first. This team has to be challenged constantly. They play in spurts. As a coach, you want every possession to be played. In the second half, we played with great intensity, and our board play was much better.”
TENNESSEE SENIOR ALEXIS HORNBUCKLE
(on the difference between first and second halves): “In the second half, we allowed our defense to generate our offense, and we pushed tempo. In the first half, we were getting looks but not knocking them down. We did a lot better in the second half. When we open up and are pushing tempo, it is hard to guard us.”
(on Parker getting the block record): “She brings a lot to that aspect of the game because of her size. She does a great job of altering shots.”
(on playing with intensity): “We weren’t intense or inspired in the first half. We have to learn to play up. In postseason, we won’t have time to flip a switch when we are in that position.”
(on Mississippi State): “They are a very aggressive team. They get in the passing lanes. They are very active and physical.”
TENNESSEE SENIOR SHANNON BOBBITT
(on the difference between the first and second halves): “They got their hands up. We’ve got to work on getting the ball into the post.”
(on Vicki Baugh): “We need all of our players. Vicki is a key for us. She is very athletic and is learning in every game and practice.”
(on Mississippi State): “They started with their point guard setting the tempo. I wanted to pressure their point guard and let other players run their offense.”
(on senior night Thursday): “I am sad. I love the hospitality here. I’ve only been here two years. I will give it my all, and I will be coming back. I will always be a Lady Vol.”
(on the crowd): “Having a crowd like that pumps us up and gives us lots of energy. We didn’t expect there would be this many here.”
MISSISSIPPI STATE HEAD COACH SHARON FANNING
(Opening Comments) “I look at the stats and our shooting percentage is always a focus, in terms of trying to keep it above 40 percent. I thought that, in the first half, we played a lot harder and managed to rebound enough to keep it a close game. You have to expect to win, and I think that we still have a young team that doesn’t understand that concept against a team like Tennessee. That’s something as coaches that we need to teach them and help them to mature in that aspect. You have to take care of the basketball. Positive assist-turnover ratio is the starting point, as well as rebounding the basketball and getting to the free-throw line. Those are three areas that were pretty glaring tonight.”
(On her expectations of her team) ”I want us, as a basketball team, to play hard for 40 minutes. That’s what I expect. If we don’t do that, then I am disappointed. I think that we can find ways to win if we do that. We came up short, but we have a great opportunity next week to win another ballgame. Hopefully, we can get back on track, focus and just grow as a team, because we do have some young kids that are growing. I did feel that we competed hard for the majority of this game.”
(On her team’s improvement since first playing Tennessee) “I felt like from the (first) Tennessee game forward, we have played harder, but we have not played for the 40 minute stretches that we need. We’ve matured and are understanding better how hard you have to play.
In this league, it takes 40 minutes. Against Tennessee, it takes 40 great minutes. You have to play great basketball.”
(On being undersized against Tennessee) “I felt good at halftime when they were shooting 38 percent from the field. If you can hold the other team to under 40 percent, you can shoot around 45 percent and do the other things I’ve said, then you can find ways to win ballgames. With the size that we have, we have to create depth and make them give up the basketball with our positioning. They are going to make some of the plays, but you have to make it very difficult for them. That’s where that team chemistry comes in, because when you do double-team, you have to rotate out of that.”
(On what it takes to win against a team like Tennessee) “Against a team as good as (Tennessee) is, it takes a lot of rotation, a lot of help, a lot of work ethic and tremendous energy. This is a game that we have to learn how to win, on the road and in a tough environment, but that’s what we’re trying to do and expect to do.”
(On Alexis Hornbuckle) “When you look at a team, sometimes you talk about an X factor, one that makes a difference in so many ways. Alexis does whatever needs to be done for the team. It seems that when there’s a defensive stop that needs to be made, a jump shot, an offensive rebound or finding the right person at the right time, it seems like she’s always willing to step up and do that. I think that she makes a lot of things happen. She finds a way to win. She scraps hard. When I look at Tennessee’s team, I see a lot of very important roles…Hornbuckle is the key.”
MISSISSIPPI STATE GUARD MARNESHIA RICHARD
(On Tennessee’s defense) “They were getting out to all the shooters, so we were trying to find open shots. They did a good job preventing us from having those open looks.”
Story Courtesy: UT Lady Vols Sports Information