Lady Vols continue dominance of 'Dores


January 20, 2008

KNOXVILLE (AP) -- Candace Parker scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to help No. 2 Tennessee beat in-state rival Vanderbilt 79-63 on Sunday.

Shannon Bobbitt added 14 points for the Lady Vols while Alexis Hornbuckle and Alex Fuller both had 10.

Vanderbilt failed to score in the first 3:15 of the game as Tennessee jumped out to an 8-0 lead. The Lady Vols (16-1, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) entered halftime with a 37-24 lead.

The Commodores (13-6, 2-2) cut the Lady Vols lead to 21-18 with 5:47 left on a Christina Wirth layup, but Tennessee broke out with a 16-6 run ending as Hornbuckle hit a layup underneath the basket with 22 seconds before the half.

The Lady Vols held their double-digit lead throughout the second half with the help of free throw shooting. Tennessee, a 73.1 percent free throw shooting team, made 18 of 23 attempts while Vanderbilt only sank three of nine attempts.

Wirth kept Vanderbilt from suffering a worse deficit with her 3-point shooting, going 6-for-10 from behind the arc. She finished with 24 points, and freshman Hannah Tuomi had 10 points and 11 rebounds for her first career double-double.

Tennessee capitalized on Vanderbilt's mistakes, scoring 29 points off 24 turnovers.

The Lady Vols also used their size to control the Commodores, scoring 38 points in the paint and grabbing 39 rebounds to Vanderbilt's 33. At one point, the 6-foot-4 Parker simply took the ball out of 5-foot-11 Jence Rhoads' hands as she held it above her head.

Vanderbilt, which ranks as the SEC's best field goal shooting team and averages 48.4 percent, only shot 34.5 percent from the field in the first half.

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Notes…

-Tennessee went on an 8-0 run to start the game – marking the third straight game UT has opened up at least 8-0 on its opponents. Vanderbilt didn’t score until the clock read 16:45.

-The Lady Vols led at halftime for the 23rd game in a row dating back to last season.

-The 19,666 fans in attendance today marked the biggest crowd to see a women’s basketball game this season.

-Vanderbilt’s Christina Wirth sank six three-pointers – the most by a UT opponent this season and the fourth-most by an individual foe in school history.

The win today…

-Gives Tennessee a record of 16-1 on the season and 4-0 in the SEC

-Gives Tennessee a record of 256-33 in conference play and a 389-58 record all-time against SEC foes.

-Gives the Lady Vols a record of 50-6 all-time against Vanderbilt, including a streak of 14 victories over the Commodores.

-Gives Pat Summitt a career record of 963-181 in her 34th season at UT.

Candace Parker…

-Moved into 12th place in the UT record books for career field goals made (625).

-Grabbed double digit rebounds for the seventh time this season and the 40th time in her career… giving her double-double No. 38 for her career.

-Scored in double figures for the 23rd time in a row and the 84th time in her career.

-Cracked into the top-10 in the all-time UT scoring list (1,683 points) on her three-point play with five minutes left in the first half. This was Parker’s 89th career game... everyone else in the top-10 played at least 125 games in an orange uniform:

Points Player Games Played

1. 3,025 Chamique Holdsclaw 148

2. 2,462 Bridgette Gordon 137

3. 2,113 Tamika Catchings 127

4. 1,950 Kara Lawson 143

5. 1,915 Semeka Randall 140

6. 1,790 Sheila Frost 138

7. 1,771 Tanya Haave 128

8. 1,729 Mary Ostrowski 125

9. 1,706 Shanna Zolman 144

10. 1,683 Candace Parker 89

Alex Fuller…

-Scored her 400th career point

-Scored in double figures for the fourth time this season and the 11th time of her career.

Alexis Hornbuckle…

-Scored in double figures for the 11th time this season and the 60th time of her career.

-Needs just 27 more steals to break the UT record held by Bridgette Gordon (333).

Shannon Bobbitt…

-Scored the first points of the game for the Lady Vols.

-Scored in double figures for the eighth time this season and the 24th time of her career.

Vicki Baugh…

-Came off the bench and scored just seconds later in her first offensive series.

-Posted SEC career-highs in points (9) and rebounds (5)

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TENNESSEE HEAD COACH PAT SUMMITT:

(opening remarks): “Obviously, our team did some good things today. Our scouting report defense could get better. (Christina) Wirth got a lot of touches, and (Hannah) Tuomi had a great second half. For the most part, I was pleased with our intensity on defense. On our scouting report, we’ve got to be efficient. We had some lapses. Of course, we had some young players out there, and they made some bad decisions. I thought we had good energy as a team.”

(on Candace Parker): “Candace has picked up her intensity at both ends of the court. Today, she had a presence at both ends. When she plays hard, it elevates our intensity as a team. Today, she brought a lot of intensity and energy. When you get that from your best player, it has an impact on the team.”

(on Vicki Baugh): “I thought she did a good job except for her defense. I told her, ‘We have to have you,’ except I didn’t say it quite that way. We have to take away their high-low. If we didn’t learn anything else from the Stanford loss, it was that. It was costly tonight, but we had enough of a lead. We don’t want as many touches in defense.”

(on Alex Fuller): “Alex did a good job once she relaxed. She came in tight, but then she got into her shooting groove.”

(on Tennessee’s press): “Anytime you can open up and extend your defense, that is good. We want to press as much as possible. It allows us to set the tempo of the game and forces us to stay aggressive. It carries over to our offense. The team wants to do it, we had 29 points off turnovers and that speaks volumes. This team is good in the open court. Shannon and Alexis push tempo and distribute the ball. We’ll press every game – how much depends on how the game is going.”

(on Angie Bjorklund having only three shots): “We will watch it on tape. She is playing too many minutes not to be hunting for shots. She is a shooter, that is why she is in the lineup. Angie better find her some shots.”

(on Alberta Auguste): “Bird is playing well. She makes our defense play well. She is shooting the pull-up. I like her coming off the bench. When she comes in, we don’t miss a beat defensively.”

(on Vanderbilt’s Christina Wirth): “We couldn’t find her. She is a great offensive player. That has to be a priority for us. Vanderbilt took advantage of that. Give Wirth credit and give Vanderbilt credit. They did a great job of finding her and getting her touches.”

TENNESSEE SENIOR SHANNON BOBBITT:

(on Tennessee’s energy): “We watched film after the Kentucky game. During the game I felt like my tempo and energy were going fast, but really I was going slow like a turtle. I have to push tempo and bring energy.”

(on Tennessee’s defense): “That is my job, to get back on defense. My teammates did a good job. We want to put teams away early. We’ll be good for it.”

TENNESSEE SENIOR ALEXIS HORNBUCKLE:

(on Tennessee’s defense): “We talked about defensive pressure and intensity could be a factor before the game. Vanderbilt has good shooters. It was a point of emphasis for us to make as many stops as possible.”

(on Tennessee’s energy): “I don’t know what happened on Thursday. We came out flat against Kentucky. We had a good crowd today and we wanted to give them a fun game.”

(on playing with her creaky knees): “I just take it one day at a time. Everytime I touch the court, I want to give 100%. Larry Pratt talked to us today about not taking any shortcuts. I scare myself sometimes, but I recover.”

(on Christina Wirth): “She got open. There was a lack of communication and breakdowns on our part. Sometimes we’d be able to switch, but you need time to process that and it wasn’t clicking with everyone.”

(on 50 wins against Vanderbilt): “That means Tennessee has been playing long before our time here. We’ve got to continue that streak and make it longer.”

TENNESSEE JUNIOR CANDACE PARKER:

(on Tennessee’s energy): “This team lacked energy versus Kentucky. We want to give it our all. Larry Pratt talked to us about not taking shortcuts and that when you reach third base and see the lights, sometimes you forget to go home. He was our inspiration for this game. He challenged us to touch third base.”

(on Alex Fuller): “Alex brings energy. She is a solid post player and can hit the three. She makes the high-low game easier for me.”

Head Coach Melanie Balcomb:

(Opening statement)

“I just think the tough part was points off turnovers. They scored 29 points off our turnovers and then 18 points off our fouls. So, 60-some of their points I think we gave them. We struggled against their defense, and I think, defensively, we didn’t play good basketball. We didn’t pressure enough, which is what they did to us.”

(On Tennessee’s press)

“I don’t think it was the press so much as they didn’t allow us to get into our offense and allow us to do what we needed to do. We didn’t take advantage when we did beat the press. When they got ahead they got a lot of deflections from behind and that didn’t allow us to get into our offense and get into a flow.”

(On the play of junior Christina Wirth)

“(Christina Wirth) was aggressive from the start, and I was really proud of the way she looked for her shots confidently. Everybody needs to do that. We even played her in the second half at the guard spot and tried to get her looks and played with our lineup to try and match up with her size a little bit. We moved her out to the perimeter since she was so hot from three, and we were successful doing that.”

(On the play of freshman Jence Rhoads)

“I think Jence Rhoads did a good job. She played for 36 minutes and she only had four turnovers, and I think she had them all in the first half. To be honest with you, to come in here and get pressed the entire game as a freshman … and have six assists with four turnovers, I thought Jence handled it well.”

(On the large crowd)

“To be honest with you, I was surprised (about the number of fans in attendance). I think a lot of fans at Tennessee are here because they’re women’s basketball fans. When they’ve lost in the SEC Tournament, the fans have stayed and they’ve supported us. I’ve had 1,000 people tell me positive things and say, ‘If Tennessee’s not playing, we root for you because you’re in state and we respect you guys.’ To look up and see 19,000 people here, I do feel good and I feel like we got some respect that we’ve earned in the last five years. It just says a lot about my players and how hard they fight to compete.”

(On the play of freshman Hannah Tuomi)

“I think Hannah came to fight. She comes to fight every day in practice, and that’s how she’s earned herself a starting spot. It’s not about understanding or doing things correctly, she’s trying to do everything we teach. She’s got a great attitude and a great work ethic and good things happen to people like that. You have to earn it; it doesn’t just happen. What she’s done every day in practice, I know what I’m going to get from her, so I’m not surprised. She’s certainly undersized in a very tough atmosphere and was not afraid.”

(On playing at Tennessee)

I was a little disappointed with how flat we came out tonight. I have to give Tennessee credit because they didn’t come out flat and they had a lot to do with that. At the same time, I had pretty high expectations coming in here because my players have earned that from me. I was looking forward to (today).

(On Candace Parker)

I think, this year especially, what makes Candace (Parker) a difficult match-up is her supporting cast. It’s not like you can just key on her, double- or triple-team her and there’s someone you can leave (open). Her supporting cast can beat you. Their starting lineup makes it very difficult to leave any of those players (open) this year. That’s what’s made her so good. You can’t double and triple her as much.

Freshman forward Hannah Tuomi:

(On her play tonight)

“I just worked really hard. Every shot that went up, I expected a miss and tried to get the rebound. I just fought for every loose ball. I just came to play.”

Junior guard/forward Christina Wirth:

(On her outside shooting)

“I think my teammates just did a great job of finding me. They were penetrating and the defense having to switch over and help a little bit just opened me up. The coaches have just been encouraging me to look for my shot. My teammates have been as well, and when I’m open, they find me. I think that most of that is due to people penetrating and the defense collapsing and then just kicking it out.”

(On their young team playing Tennessee)

“We just talked about this being about us. It’s not about (Tennessee); it’s not about the crowd. We just need to do what we need to do. I think that we believe that our youth is to our advantage because we don’t know any better. We just don’t care that they’re the No. 2 team in the country. We just go out there and play hard. It’s like coach said, our freshmen are fearless. I think that rubs off on the rest of us.”

Story Courtesy: UT Sports Information


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