5:00 PM ET, December 22, 2006
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) -- Tennessee coach Pat Summitt paid tribute to her Old Dominion counterpart and longtime friend, Wendy Larry, on Friday night, taking part in a pregame ceremony to mark Larry's recent 500th career victory.Summitt presented Larry with the game ball and a dozen roses before tip-off but would have done Larry an even bigger favor by leaving Candace Parker at home.Parker returned to the scene of one of her biggest moments and had 32 points and 10 rebounds in helping the No. 5 Lady Vols overcome a stiff defensive test from their longtime rivals, beating the Lady Monarchs for the 11th consecutive time, 75-59."She made a lot of big plays for us," Summitt said of the 6-foot-4 forward with guardlike skills. "Her teammates did a good job of getting her the ball."Parker, who made history in Norfolk last season when she dunked twice in an NCAA Tournament game against Army, entered the game with three dunks this season and was booed by the crowd when she passed on a chance for another one late in the first half.Instead, she made 12-of-18 shots and all eight free throws. She also scored the first five points in an 11-2 run when Tennessee finally pulled away in the second half.Shannon Bobbitt added a career-high 13 points and Alexis Hornbuckle had 10 points, six assists and four steals. The Lady Vols turned 24 turnovers into 25 points and did most of their damage after taking a 38-33 halftime lead."Our team just stepped up their defensive intensity and obviously created more easy scoring opportunities," Summitt said. "There was a sense of urgency."Tennessee (11-1) won its fourth in a row since a 13-point loss at second-ranked North Carolina on Dec. 3. It improved to 31-9 in its series against Old Dominion.The Lady Monarchs (3-7) lost for the fifth time in six games. Coming off a 15-point loss at Middle Tennessee State, Old Dominion will host Rutgers next Saturday before moving into Colonial Athletic Association play seeking its 16th consecutive title.Larry said they'll have to play better to keep that streak going."The unforced errors," she said, shaking her head. "We had easily 11 or 12 with Tennessee not having anything to do with it. Just miscommunicating with each other."Sherida Triggs led the Lady Monarchs with 13 points but spent much of the second half in foul trouble. T.J. Jordan scored 11, all in the first half."They did a good job of denying me the ball, but the shots I had were open shots," said Jordan, who was 0-for-5 after halftime. "I just couldn't knock them down."The difference was Parker. Larry said she "will go on record as probably one of the greatest ones to play our game. For a young person right now, she's pretty good."Tennessee didn't move comfortably in front until Parker's three-point play and jumper sparked an 11-2 run in the second half gave the Lady Vols a 58-45 lead.The Lady Monarchs closed within 10 twice shortly thereafter, but Tennessee finally pulled away, using a significant height advantage and more depth to wear out ODU.The game drew a crowd of 7,108, the third-largest for a women's game at the Constant Convocation Center. The largest -- 7,758 -- also came for Tennessee on Jan. 7, 2003, the year the arena opened.
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||27-54 (.500)||21-52 (.404)|
|3P Made-Attempted||4-12 (.333)||3-14 (.214)|
|FT Made-Attempted||17-20 (.850)||14-20 (.700)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||18 (0/0)||24 (0/0)|