WASHINGTON (AP) -- Candace Parker and the rest of No. 1 Tennessee
thought they played poorly in the first half. Focusing on
rebounding and defense, they went out and did something about it.
Parker had 14 points and eight rebounds, and Tennessee held
George Washington scoreless for 8½ minutes after halftime en route
to a 59-43 victory Wednesday night.
"At halftime, we were disappointed by how we were playing,"
Parker said. "Every game, there's somebody new watching us for the
first time, and we're letting them down if we don't show them what
Tennessee's about and how we're supposed to play. Because we may
never get that opportunity to show that one person that again."
She tore a ligament in her left index finger in a victory at
Stanford on Sunday and played with that finger taped to her middle
finger, but said it didn't hamper her.
Shanna Zolman added 12 points for the Lady Vols (8-0), who were
closing a five-game road trip in which they will have logged more
than 13,000 miles by the time they return home.
Jessica Simmonds led George Washington (2-3) with 13 points, but
Kimberly Beck was held to five points one game after scoring a
career-high 20 against Villanova.
"We hung with them a majority of the time," Beck said. "We
know we can play with anybody in the country now. We just proved
Before the game, there was little reason to think it would be as
close as it was. The Lady Vols came in having outscored opponents
by an average of 26.7 points this season and without a loss to an
unranked opponent in 3½ years. Tennessee moved atop the AP rankings
this week for the first time since early last season, when it
reached the Final Four.
The Colonials, meanwhile, never had lost by fewer than 14 points
in five previous games against Tennessee, and were 0-3 against No.
But the Lady Vols were shaky for stretches, committing 23
turnovers in the game and shooting just 43 percent in the first
half. That helped George Washington make a game of it, leading for
most of the first 10 minutes, then staying within range into the
"We started out lackadaisical," Zolman said. "The lack of
intensity that we showed turned up in the turnovers that we had.
They pressured us a lot coming out of their zone. They did a good
job switching up and keeping us on our toes."
Trailing 40-35, GW had a chance to cut its deficit to three, but
Simmonds -- a 29 percent free throw shooter -- missed both attempts
from the line.
Six minutes into the second half, Jazmine Adair's baseline
jumper drew the Colonials to 42-37. That's when Tennessee turned up
its defense, forcing poor shots, air balls, shot-clock violations
By the time GW scored again, on Simmonds' jumper with 5½ minutes
left, Tennessee had a double-digit edge it wouldn't relinquish.
"Tonight was a great game for 30, 35 minutes," GW coach Joe
McKeown said. "Tennessee makes you have to make plays every
possession. That's what happens when you play a team like that --
they find your weaknesses."
The Lady Vols held George Washington to 22 percent shooting in
the second half and finished the game with 12 steals, five by
Alexis Hornbuckle. Tennessee outrebounded GW 39-27, and had 18
second-chance points to the Colonials' two.
"That's significant," Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said.
"We've been really trying to get this team to pound the glass. We
haven't been relentless on the boards -- a trademark of ours for
years -- but I think this team is starting to commit to
Tennessee missed its first four shots -- three by Parker -- and
had three early turnovers, allowing the hosts to score the game's
first five points.
The Lady Vols didn't take their first lead until more than 9½
minutes had elapsed, on Sidney Spencer's jumper near the foul line
that made it 15-14. It was the longest Tennessee had played this
season without being ahead.