7:00 PM ET, January 26, 2006
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- The first 900 wins seemed to come so easily for Tennessee coach Pat Summitt. Adding No. 901 has been much more difficult.Kentucky upset Tennessee (No. 3 ESPN/USA Today; No. 1 AP) 66-63 Thursday night, handing the Lady Vols and the winningest coach in college basketball history their first back-to-back defeats in nine years."We feel like we get everybody's best shot because we're Tennessee, but we have to learn how to give everybody our best shot," Summitt said.The Lady Vols (18-2, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) had beaten Kentucky (15-4, 4-2) 24 straight times since January 1986 and entered with a 40-5 advantage in the series.For Summitt, who earned her 900th victory last week against Vanderbilt, the setback came at the hands of her former pupil, Kentucky coach Mickie DeMoss, a Tennessee assistant for 18 years under Summitt."It's a great, great win," DeMoss said. "It's almost like I'm sitting here in a dream."Jenny Pfeiffer scored 16 points, including two free throws with 15 seconds left to put the Wildcats ahead by one. Sidney Spencer then missed a 3-pointer for Tennessee and fouled Nastassia Alcius, who hit two foul shots with 3 seconds to go for the final margin.Tennessee led 63-62 when Shanna Zolman tripped, and Kentucky's Carly Ormerod came up with the loose ball. Pfeiffer drew a foul from Spencer and made both free throws."We knew we had a chance," Pfeiffer said. "If we did everything that we said we needed to do we could hang with them. To be able to just defeat them is amazing."Tennessee had not dropped consecutive games since February 1997 against LSU and Louisiana Tech. It also was the Lady Vols' first loss to an unranked team since March 2, 2002, against LSU in the SEC tournament.For the Wildcats, it was their first win over an AP No. 1 team."This is no question, the biggest win as head coach," DeMoss said. "It's unbelievable and almost surreal."Freshman Candace Parker led the Lady Vols with 25 points -- one shy of a career high -- and nine rebounds. But it was her foul that sent Pfeiffer to the line for three free throws with 2:30 left. Pfeiffer made all three to tie the score at 60.Summitt was unhappy with her team's defensive effort against Duke, but it was offense and defense alike that plagued the Lady Vols early against Kentucky. They made only four of their first 15 shots and hit just 39 percent for the game.Kentucky, however, shot 54 percent. And the bigger Lady Vols narrowly won the rebounding battle, 33-32.The Wildcats went on a 6-0 run midway through the first half. A buzzer-beating layup by Jenn'e Jackson amid a crowd of Lady Vols gave the Wildcats a 35-30 halftime lead.Guard Alexis Hornbuckle and center Tye'sha Fluker both started for the Lady Vols, despite lingering injuries from the Duke game. Hornbuckle sustained a bruised right kneecap while Fluker had some swelling in her left knee.For the ninth time this season, a school hosting the Lady Vols set an attendance record. Kentucky, which played the game at Rupp Arena where the men's team plays, drew a record 13,689 fans to watch the upset.The crowd noise as the final buzzer sounded was just as loud -- if not louder -- than after a Kentucky men's victory."That's an awesome thing to be able to do that," Zolman said. "To be able to play in Rupp, that just shows how far Kentucky has come, and how Mickie has brought this program up."Before the game, DeMoss honored her mentor with a basketball dipped in the wax found on a Maker's Mark bottle. Afterward, Summitt congratulated DeMoss."I told her I was really proud of her," Summitt said. "Obviously, I worked with her for 18 years and I have watched her build this team and this program. I think she has done a remarkable job."
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Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||22-56 (.393)||21-47 (.447)|
|3P Made-Attempted||3-16 (.188)||3-11 (.273)|
|FT Made-Attempted||16-22 (.727)||21-28 (.750)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||21 (0/0)||19 (0/0)|