(21) Vanderbilt 63

(17-6, 6-4 SEC)

(5) Tennessee 72

(19-4, 9-1 SEC)

    3:00 PM ET, February 13, 2005

    1 2 T
    #21VAN 29 3463
    #5TENN 38 3472

    Top Performers

    Vanderbilt: A. Earley 24 Pts, 9 Reb

    Tennessee: S. Ely 18 Pts, 7 Reb

    Free throws make the difference at the end

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Shyra Ely helped Tennessee overpower Vanderbilt.

    Playing power forward after seeing action at small forward most of the season, Ely scored 18 points in the No. 5 Vols' 72-63 victory over (No. 20 ESPN/USA Today, No. 21 AP) Vanderbilt on Sunday.

    "I got a chance to get inside and get some easy buckets, rebound and run the floor. Those are my strengths, so it worked out today," Ely said.

    Coach Pat Summitt thought Ely handled the change well after the Lady Vols' leading scorer was held to six points in a loss at LSU on Thursday night.

    "I was pleased to see she had the maturity and focus you would want a senior to have, but she also had the drive when she was in the game," Summitt said. "I thought her aggressive play was a big difference in our post game."

    The Lady Vols (19-4, 9-1 Southeastern Conference) needed all of Ely's help while Vanderbilt kept whittling away at the lead.

    Tennessee was ahead by as many as 16 in the second half and by 11 with 4:44 remaining.

    After Shanna Zolman's jumper with 2:24 to go, Vanderbilt's Ashley Earley scored inside and Dee Davis had a driving layup to cut it to 67-63 with 1:55 left.

    Zolman's basket was Tennessee's last field goal, but Vanderbilt couldn't get any closer.

    The Lady Vols went 5-of-6 from the free throw line down the stretch to pull out their eighth straight victory over the Commodores (17-6, 6-4). Tennessee was 15-of-23 at the foul line overall while Vanderbilt was 8-of-10.

    "I'm proud of how my team kept coming back when down 16 on the road," Vanderbilt coach Melanie Balcomb said. "We just didn't finish the job."

    Tennessee has won 59 in a row over SEC opponents at home -- the Commodores have never beaten Tennessee in Knoxville.

    Zolman and Tye'sha Fluker each added 14 points.

    The Lady Vols opened the second half with a 6-0 run to extend their lead to 15. To cap the spurt, Alexis Hornbuckle dribbled behind her back, spun around Earley and sank a short jumper.

    Earley, however, spent most of the game blowing past Tennessee defenders and helped Vanderbilt prevent its deficit from getting too big.

    Earley led the Commodores with 24 points on 11-of-12 shooting from the floor and had 11 rebounds. Abi Ramsey added 17 points before fouling out with 19.2 seconds left.

    "Our whole interior defense has to be stronger. They got their way pretty much," Summitt said.

    The Commodores cut the lead from 11 to seven with 5:32 left after a basket by Earley and a pair of free throws by Carla Thomas.

    Tennessee restored the lead to 11 over the next minute, but Thomas scored again and Ramsey hit a 3 to trim it to 57-63 with 3:40 to go.

    Fluker, who was 6-of-8 from the field, gave Tennessee a reliable presence. She was playing in her second game back from missing two while she was at home in California for her grandmother's funeral.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 63 72
    FG Made-Attempted 25-55 (.455) 27-55 (.491)
    3P Made-Attempted 5-20 (.250) 3-10 (.300)
    FT Made-Attempted 8-10 (.800) 15-23 (.652)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (0/0) 16 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 3 16

    Game Leaders

    PointsA. Earley 24S. Ely 18
    ReboundsA. Earley 9A. Hornbuckle 8

    2004-05 Season

    Jan 16, 2005 TENN 79, @VAN 65Recap | Box Score
    » Feb 13, 2005 @TENN 72, VAN 63Recap | Box Score
    Mar 5, 2005 @TENN 76, VAN 73Recap | Box Score