CLEVELAND (AP) -- Pat Summitt is sick of seeing good friend C.
Vivian Stringer in March.
Tennessee's famed coach knocked her fellow Hall of Famer out of
the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year Sunday, winning
76-69 in the semifinals of the Cleveland Regional.
Candace Parker scored 29 points with six blocks, and Shanna
Zolman hit five 3-pointers for a career-high 29 points to lead
Tennessee to its 21st regional final appearance.
Summitt took no joy though in beating Stringer.
"I hope we never see Rutgers again in a regional tournament,"
Summitt said. "We've seen them so many times. It's tough to play
against one of your best friends."
The matchup of two of the three winningest coaches in women's
basketball has gone Summitt's way every time in the postseason. The
Scarlet Knights are 0-5 against the Lady Vols in the NCAA
Tournament, including a loss last season in the regional final.
Tennessee (31-4) will play Tuesday night against North Carolina,
which beat Purdue 70-68 in the other semifinal.
Summitt previously called Tennessee's No. 2 seed in the same
region with top overall seed North Carolina a "slap in the face."
Stringer didn't hold back in her criticism of the NCAA after the
"They have been a joke with regards to the selection,"
Stringer said. "I didn't say that earlier because I thought I'd
get sent to Alaska and they don't have a regional there."
Parker, who last Sunday became the first woman to dunk in an
NCAA Tournament game, showed she can do much more than dunk.
She scored 12 straight points during a critical run by the Lady
Vols early in the second half. The freshman hit jumpers, blocked
shots and at times brought the ball up the floor, looking a little
bit like NBA star LeBron James in his own building.
"I've only dunked in one game. I don't want that to be my
identity," Parker said. "I want to be known for an all-around
Tennessee improved to 21-4 in the regional semifinals in its
25th straight appearance. The Lady Vols have not missed the
regional finals since 2001.
As Summitt left the floor, she stopped to kiss her son and her
mother, who is in a wheelchair.
"One more mom. One more," said Summitt, who is seeking her
seven national title and first since 1998.
Matee Ajavon led Rutgers (27-5) with 24 points and Cappie
Pondexter, a Naismith player of the year finalist, scored 22 in her
"It's hard," Pondexter said in tears. "I've just got to move
Zolman, who has made three Final Four appearances and is
Tennessee's career leader in 3-pointers, shot 10-for-14 and played
all 40 minutes. Parker and Zolman accounted for all but 18 of the
Lady Vols' points.
In the hallway waiting to begin their postgame news conference,
Summitt rubbed Zolman's right shoulder.
"Show off," she told her senior guard, whose final 3-pointer
put the Lady Vols up 69-59 with 4:26 left. "You were feeling it,
"Yeah," Zolman said.
Rutgers' defense, which led the nation by holding teams to 51.1
points per game, disrupted Tennessee early, but the Lady Vols went
on a 30-10 run to go up 54-41 with 10:46 remaining.
"Candace Parker did a great job of attacking and it opened
things up," Pondexter said.
Stringer tried defending Parker with several different players
and even tried some zone, but couldn't find an answer.
Rutgers twice got within seven but Parker hit two free throws
and added a right-handed scoop in the lane with 1:15 left to seal
it. Tennessee's point total was the most allowed by Rutgers all
Parker went 11-of-13 from the foul line, had five rebounds and
frustrated the Scarlet Knights inside.
Alexis Hornbuckle added some big hustle plays for the Lady Vols.
Hornbuckle, who sustained a concussion in the second round game and
was playing with a broken wrist, scored 10 points and had five
Rutgers opened up a 23-14 lead with 7:08 left in the first half
behind a 15-1 run led by Ajavon. The Lady Vols' offense went nearly
six minutes without a field goal.
But Parker and Hornbuckle responded with a 15-4 run to close the
half up 29-27. The Scarlet Knights committed 10 first-half
turnovers and went more than six minutes without a basket.