Vandy still seeks first win in Knoxville

Updated: January 22, 2004, 8:47 AM ET
Associated Press

It has been nearly two years since Tennessee lost to an SEC opponent. And more than seven years have passed since it lost a conference game at home.

The second-ranked Lady Vols (14-1, 4-0) will try to make it 50 consecutive home wins against league foes when Vanderbilt (14-2, 2-1) visits Thompson-Boling Arena on Thursday.

Tennessee extended a pair of streaks with a 72-51 victory over Alabama on Sunday.

Shyra Ely scored 18 points, Ashley Robinson added 12 and each grabbed seven rebounds for the Lady Vols, who have won seven straight since losing to then-No. 3 Texas on Dec. 28.

Sunday's win was Tennessee's 24th straight against SEC opponents -- a streak that began against Arkansas on Feb. 7, 2002. It was also the Lady Vols' 49th consecutive victory at home against SEC foes, dating to a 94-93 overtime loss to Georgia on Dec. 8, 1996.

Tennessee's Pat Summitt will coach her 1,000th game Thursday.

Summitt's squad will face four ranked teams in the next seven games, including a highly anticipated matchup at top-ranked Duke on Saturday.

"It is a big challenge for us, but with a veteran team that has been through some tough schedules, they understand what they have to do to be ready,'' Summitt said

"Vanderbilt is a team we have to respect on Thursday night and be ready to play. It is an SEC and in-state rivalry that has been popular with the fans.''

Ely leads Tennessee with 13.6 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Shanna Zolman, second on the team with 12.2 points per contest, has 36 points in two career games against Vanderbilt.

Vanderbilt is coming off a 67-63 victory over No. 22 Auburn on Sunday.

Junior Abi Ramsey scored 20 points, making 4-for-9 from 3-point range, and senior Hillary Hager added 18 points for the Commodores, whose 14-2 start is tied for the second-best in school history after 16 games. Only the 1992-93 team, at 16-0, had a better record.

Ramsey leads four Vanderbilt players in double figures with 16.7 points per game.

The Commodores have lost all 19 previous visits to Knoxville and are 6-40 all-time against Tennessee. The Lady Vols have won the last four games in the series.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press