3:30 PM ET, December 4, 2005
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- More than once in this young season, Pat Summitt has asked herself why she scheduled so many talented teams in the opening month.It has resembled an NCAA tournament run for unbeaten Tennessee with four teams ranked in the top-16, and the Lady Vols have calmly handled each challenge.Well, most of the time at least."I didn't feel calm out there," said Summitt, in her 32nd season in Knoxville. "When I looked at the schedule, I thought 'What have I done?"Candace Parker had 21 points, 12 rebounds, three steals, two assists and a blocked shot, and the second-ranked Lady Vols ended No. 12 Stanford's 23-game home winning streak with a hard-fought 74-67 victory Sunday.The Cardinal's streak in Maples Pavilion started immediately after their 70-66 overtime loss to Tennessee on Dec. 14, 2003, then it was the Lady Vols who spoiled things again with a late second-half run to beat Stanford for the 10th straight time dating to a 1996 Cardinal win."Our team thrives under pressure," Parker said. "This was my first experience playing away. It kind of pumps you up when the fans are cheering. We came out and did what we had to."After Kristen Newlin's basket with 6:05 left pulled Stanford to 52-51, Tennessee took over. Shanna Zolman also scored 21 points for the Lady Vols (7-0), who are determined to make an early statement this season after blowing a 16-point lead to Michigan State in the second half of the national semifinals last March.Newlin finished with a career-high 20 points and had 10 rebounds for Stanford (4-2), which made too many mistakes in crunch time to pull off an upset.A sellout crowd came out to witness the first college showdown between Candace and Candice -- Tennessee's Parker and Stanford sophomore sensation Candice Wiggins, the reigning Pac-10 player of the year.The two have been playing against each other since middle school in tournaments across the country and also were teammates on the U.S. junior national team, and they call each other "Ice and "Ace" as a reference to the spellings of their first names. Parker was in uniform but didn't play against Stanford in a last-second 70-67 Tennessee win last season during her redshirt year as she recovered from two surgeries on her troublesome left knee."It was good to see her out there playing again," Wiggins said. "She's very versatile in the post. She's pretty much the same."Wiggins had 16 points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks but also committed eight turnovers.Brooke Smith scored nine points after missing all four of her first-half field goals and making only one free throw, but committed several crucial turnovers down the stretch and also missed an open layup. She had five turnovers in all. Both Newlin and Smith looked tired late in the game."I missed some shots I should have made," Smith said.Clare Bodensteiner's baseline 3 with 16:35 to play began a 10-2 spurt by Stanford that also featured a 3 by Krista Rappahahn from the same spot and back-to-back layups by Wiggins off steals, the first by Bodensteiner and the next when Wiggins sneaked behind Parker to take the ball away on the way to a 40-39 lead with 14:50 to play.Tennessee began the second half 3-for-13, two of those field goals by Nicky Anosike, while the Cardinal made six of their first nine shots in the final 20 minutes, but the Lady Vols made 12 of 17 free throws and grabbed nine of their 14 offensive rebounds after halftime.Tennessee has also beaten ranked opponents in Michigan State, Maryland and No. 16 Texas after a 102-61 win over the Longhorns on Thursday night.Freshman forward Jillian Harmon gave the Cardinal a boost with her rebounding effort in the first half -- getting in position on the boards was a top priority from coach Tara VanDerveer coming into the game on the heels of a 109-58 victory at Pacific on Thursday.Harmon had five boards and Stanford wound up getting outrebounded 36-34."The best thing is people feel really disappointed and hurt by the loss," VanDerveer said. "We're not excited to be close. ... We were there, we just needed to do a little bit more. At points we had them on the ropes a little bit, but we didn't throw any knockout punches."Tennessee led at the half 35-28.
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Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||26-63 (.413)||26-54 (.481)|
|3P Made-Attempted||3-11 (.273)||4-16 (.250)|
|FT Made-Attempted||19-24 (.792)||11-17 (.647)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||18 (0/0)||21 (0/0)|