7:00 PM ET, February 23, 2006
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee played more like coach Pat Summitt wanted, and Tye'sha Fluker was one of the main reasons.Fluker scored a career-high 22 points and Sidney Spencer added 18 to help the No. 5 Lady Vols beat Auburn 81-56 on Thursday.Tennessee (25-3, 11-2 Southeastern Conference) built a big lead in the first half and never relinquished it on the way to a 13th straight victory over Auburn."When Fluker is an anchor out there for us, she makes everyone else on the floor look better. It takes more than one player to defend her. She draws double teams, and that's going to open up the outside game," Summitt said. "That can make a huge difference on how this team fares in Little Rock [at the SEC tournament]."The Lady Vols host Florida on Sunday to end the regular season.Tennessee's Candace Parker had her seventh double-double of the season with 13 rebounds and 11 points, though she missed a dunk attempt in the second half.Auburn (13-13, 4-9), which hasn't won in Knoxville since 1988, led early but couldn't take advantage of its large front line that at times was bigger than Tennessee's.The Lady Vols' starting lineup has grown taller with the loss of point guard Alexis Hornbuckle, who is out for the season with a broken right wrist. Fluker started at center with three forwards at least 6-foot-3 and 5-10 Shanna Zolman at point guard."They're the only team in the country that can lose players like they've lost players and still stay in the top five in the country. They just keep going to the cupboard," Auburn coach Nell Fortner said."I thought we were big, but we're not big compared to them. They're huge."The Tigers started three players at least 6-foot-4, including 6-7 freshman KeKe Carrier, but Tennessee's post players were faster.Parker showed it on a steal at midcourt that she intended to end up as a dunk.She dribbled full speed to the basket and went up with the ball in one hand but it bounced off the rim.Parker, who won a dunk contest against male McDonald's high school All-Americans, has at times looked like she was going to dunk but instead altered her shots to lay-ins. Only three women have dunked in a collegiate game.Summitt said she was OK with Parker's attempt because there were no close defenders."I really wasn't thinking about it. I was thinking attack. I took off too far. I just missed a dunk," Parker said.Parker also had five assists.Fluker was 7-of-9 from the field and 8-of-10 from the foul line."It's my teammates. They're giving me the ball, and I have to finish," Fluker said.The game featured two of the best freshmen in the SEC -- Parker and Auburn's DeWanna Bonner, who led her team with 14 points.Reserve Sherell Hobbs added 12 points for the Tigers.The Lady Vols were ahead by as many as 16 in the first half and stretched it to 20 early in the second half.Auburn had two quick baskets to trim it to 16, but the Tigers could not rally. They had 15 turnovers and were outrebounded 40-25 to give Tennessee several second chances.During one sequence after halftime, Fluker missed a free throw, but Spencer put back the rebound and was fouled for a three-point play.Tennessee took command in the first half with two runs. Auburn was ahead by six early when the Lady Vols took the lead on a 10-0 run that included three baskets by Parker. Nitasha Brown pulled the Tigers within one with a 3-pointer with 5:51 left before halftime.Then Tennessee held Auburn scoreless for nearly four minutes with a 15-0 run. Spencer and Dominique Redding hit consecutive 3s to end the spurt and put the Lady Vols ahead 37-21.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||20-47 (.426)||30-64 (.469)|
|3P Made-Attempted||2-9 (.222)||6-17 (.353)|
|FT Made-Attempted||14-17 (.824)||15-19 (.789)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||15 (0/0)||15 (0/0)|