3:00 PM ET, January 15, 2006
STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) -- Pat Summitt isn't threatening to pull on a uniform and show top-ranked Tennessee how to play defense anymore.The Lady Vols remained unbeaten by routing Mississippi State 79-56 on Sunday behind Candace Parker's 16 points and 11 rebounds and a revitalized defense which generated plenty of offense.Tennessee scored 29 points off 21 turnovers by the Bulldogs and held them to 28 percent shooting in the first half -- a noteworthy improvement, Summitt said, after the Lady Vols showed defensive weaknesses three days earlier during a 94-85 victory over No. 13 Georgia.Summitt was so frustrated by her team's play that she expressed a desire to suit up and show the Lady Vols how to play defense."I really couldn't have been serious about that (but) it is frustrating when you have a team that is as talented as this team, and they're not committed to both ends of the floor," Summitt said."For a few games, it's been frustration, because I know there will be days when we don't shoot the basketball as well as we (have) shot it," she said. "I don't want to see them falter because they're not committed to defense, because we built our program on defense and board play."Sidney Spencer and Shanna Zolman added 14 points each for the Lady Vols (17-0, 3-0 Southeastern Conference), who opened a four-game road trip -- which includes games at nationally ranked Vanderbilt and Duke -- by avoiding a letdown and improving to 25-0 all-time against the Bulldogs."You have to get up for every team," Parker said. "We have a target on our backs. We're Tennessee. We're No. 1. And that carries a lot of weight."The Lady Vols never trailed, withstood a Mississippi State rally in the second half and pulled away down the stretch. Tennessee led by as many as 27 in its 11th straight victory in Starkville.Robin Porter had 15 points, Miayorka Johnson had 11 and Heather Hollis added 10 for Mississippi State (6-11, 1-3), which has lost two straight and three of four."Tennessee's a great team, but we just gave them easy shots and beat ourselves," Porter said.This win came much easier for the Lady Vols than their most recent two games -- nine-point home wins over No. 7 Connecticut and Georgia.Tennessee increased its lead to 40-20 on a basket by Tye'sha Fluker just more than two minutes into the second half.After Mississippi State closed to within 10 points on an 11-1 run over the next three minutes, Parker and Fluker took over and put the game out of reach."You get it into single digits, maybe you can keep that run going," Mississippi State coach Sharon Fanning said.Parker converted a quick three-point play and Fluker had consecutive baskets to extend Tennessee's lead to 17. The Bulldogs didn't get closer than 13 the rest of the way."Parker adds a whole other dimension," Fanning said. "Candace is a player that can play straight up, any position on the floor, and she knows how to direct traffic. ... She's sort of a finesse type that can muscle and bang around the bucket. She's going to be a special player in the (SEC)."Fluker finished with 12 points for the Lady Vols.Fanning and Summitt were graduate assistants together 30 years ago at Tennessee.
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Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||31-62 (.500)||20-53 (.377)|
|3P Made-Attempted||4-16 (.250)||7-18 (.389)|
|FT Made-Attempted||13-17 (.765)||9-15 (.600)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||21 (0/0)||14 (0/0)|