7:00 PM ET, November 26, 2007
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The way Tennessee was hitting 3-pointers, it would have been tough for anyone to beat the nation's top-ranked team.The Lady Vols made eight of their first nine 3s on the way to a 81-60 win over Louisiana Tech on Monday night.Tennessee was deadly in the early going as Shannon Bobbitt, Angie Bjorklund, Sydney Smallbone and Alexis Hornbuckle hit two 3s each to lead the Lady Vols to a 29-point halftime lead. Tennessee shot 59 percent from beyond the arc in the first 20 minutes."Shannon has a lot of confidence and our players feed off of that," said Pat Summitt in a post-game press conference. "Shooting the 3s lets us stretch the defense out."Still, Summitt warned against depending on outside shooting, saying she was pleased her team reverted to playing inside-outside basketball in the second half.Unranked Louisiana Tech, in the midst of a rebuilding program, found out the hard way that Tennessee is deserving of its place in the polls. Head coach Chris Long seemed almost shell-shocked by the Lady Vols' shooting performance."There's a reason Tennessee's No. 1," Long said. "I don't know if I've ever seen a team shoot the ball as good as they did in the first half. As talented and as big as they are, if they are going to do that they are going to be ahead of a lot of people."Louisiana Tech was also unnerved by Tennessee's defense, which scored 28 points off 24 Lady Techster turnovers. The Lady Vols held Louisiana Tech to 27 percent first-half shooting and 32 percent for the game.The Lady Techsters' roster features just two seniors and eight underclassmen. The newer players have quite a legacy to live up to -- the Lady Techsters are second only to Tennessee in women's college basketball wins with 918 to 1,045 for the Lady Vols.JoKeirra Sneed had 15 points and a game-high 18 rebounds for the Lady Techsters. Whitney Jones led Louisiana Tech with 16 points. Shanavia Dowdell was the only other Tech player in double figures with 11 points.The game turned out to be something of a breather for Tennessee (5-0) after meeting and beating three ranked teams in six days. The Lady Vols have defeated West Virginia (No. 17 ESPN/USA Today, No. 16 AP), Texas (No. 22 ESPN/USA Today, No. 24 AP) and Oklahoma (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today, No. 9 AP) since Nov. 15.In fact, the Lady Vols played so well as a unit that they almost didn't need All-American Candace Parker, who scored a season-high 29 points in Tennessee's win over West Virginia on Wednesday. Parker scored 13 points against Louisiana Tech on 4-of-7 shooting from the floor and 5-of-6 from the free-throw line. She also contributed three blocked shots, including back-to-back rejections during one stretch of the second half.Things are likely to get tougher for Tennessee when they host fourth-ranked North Carolina on Sunday in a rematch of last season's Final Four meeting. The Lady Vols won 57-50 on the way to their record seventh national title.The game marked the 40th installment of a series that's featured at least one meeting every year since the 1978-79 season and includes three national championship games. Louisiana Tech's 17 wins against Tennessee are the most by any program.The victory was the 952nd for Summitt, who's on track to pass the 1,000-victory mark next year. Just five NBA coaches have 1,000 wins from schedules more than twice as long as the average women's college basketball slate.
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Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||23-72 (.319)||32-75 (.427)|
|3P Made-Attempted||3-15 (.200)||10-23 (.435)|
|FT Made-Attempted||11-17 (.647)||7-14 (.500)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||14 (0/0)||14 (0/0)|