KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- When the top-ranked Tennessee Lady
Volunteers needed her, Candace Parker took over.
Parker scored a season-high 34 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to
help Tennessee beat Middle Tennssee 84-61 on Thursday night. She
set a school record with 21 free-throw attempts and tied a Lady
Vols mark by making 17 as three Blue Raiders fouled out trying to
"We knew that we had a size advantage coming into this game,"
Parker said. "They're a feisty team and like to press. We wanted
to get paint points tonight and I thought we did a good job."
Tennessee's lead was down to five points with less than seven
minutes to play after Middle Tennessee (3-5) made two free throws.
Parker scored eight of the next 11 points to stretch the Lady Vols'
advantage to 72-55 with about five minutes left. MTSU got no closer
than 12 points the rest of the way.
Amber Holt, MTSU's leading scorer at 21.9 points, had 20 in the
second half to keep Middle Tennessee in the game until Parker and
the Lady Vols took over. Holt finished with a team-high 28 points
and five assists.
"She's a competitor," said Tennessee coach Pat Summitt of
Holt. "She's tough to guard. She was very efficient, going 8-of-16
from the floor and 10-of-11 from the free-throw line. She only had
one turnover and that says something about her game."
Holt got no help as the Blue Raiders shot just 36 percent from
"I thought we had some good looks early and didn't knock those
shots down and then we did knock shots down and got back into the
game," Middle Tennessee coach Rick Insell said. "That's when
Parker took over. She's a great player and got the job done."
Still, Parker wasn't alone in leading the Lady Vols to their
ninth straight win over Middle Tennessee. Alexis Hornbuckle chipped
in 17 points and Alex Fuller had 16 points and seven rebounds.
Nicky Anosike contributed nine points and eight boards for
Tennessee, which out-rebounded MTSU 47-26.
The Lady Vols (8-0) dressed only nine players after freshman
center Kelley Cain underwent season-ending knee surgery on Tuesday.
They then lost starting point guard Shannon Bobbitt, who suffered a
forehead laceration with 9:06 to play and didn't return. Tennessee
was already missing guard Cait McMahan, who's rehabilitating her
right knee after surgery in June and is expected to sit out the
"She had more than a couple (stitches)," Summitt said of
Bobbitt. "She'll be fine. She's a little dizzy. She has a gash and
I'm sure she'll have a headache."
The Lady Vols will face Gonzaga at home Sunday.