Tennessee overcomes slow start to cruise past Western Carolina

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The proteges still haven't figured out how to beat the mentor.

With more and more former Lady Vols entering the coaching ranks, Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt continues to rack up the victories.

Summitt improved to 6-0 in coaching matchups against her former players as Tennessee (No .12 ESPN/USA Today, No. 9 AP) rolled to an 83-56 victory against Western Carolina (2-2) on Tuesday night.

It was Summitt's 987th career victory in 35 seasons for the Lady Vols (4-1).

Western Carolina coach Kellie Jolly-Harper, a member of three consecutive Tennessee national championship teams from 1996-98, was the opponent this time.

"It's great to have those players come back," Summitt said. "Kellie's a great coach, a great role model and clearly left her mark on our program with three championships. She's special."

Summitt didn't have the same warm, glowing comments to make about her own team's performance.

Lady Vols freshman Glory Johnson tied a career-high with 19 points and sophomore Vicki Baugh had her second consecutive double-double with 11 points and a team-high 15 rebounds.

Summitt liked those stats but was more concerned with a shaky start and 19 turnovers.

"I told our team we've got a lot of people who know how to compete, but we've got a lot of people who don't," she said. "They better understand in a hurry.

"The game opened up and we were able to extend our lead, but it's not going to be that way against DePaul [on Sunday] or on the road," she said.

The two-time defending national champion Lady Vols trailed 19-18 midway through the first half.

That's when Baugh and Johnson took over and helped Tennessee outscore the Lady Catamounts 31-7 in the final nine minutes for a 49-26 halftime lead.

Johnson scored 10 of her points during the first-half run. Baugh added six consecutive points in a span of one minute and six seconds.

"It's definitely encouraging, but the reason coach is so upset is she knows what we can do," Baugh said. "When this team comes together and we have everyone healthy, we're going to be unstoppable."

The Lady Vols are still waiting for sophomore Angie Bjorklund and freshman Kelley Cain to return from injuries.

Tennessee did get some help from its guard play as Shekinna Sticklen had a season-high 13 points, Briana Bass 10 points and Cait McMahan nine points, two rebounds and two assists.

Harper was just glad her players had a chance to see what she experienced a decade ago during her playing days.

"I'm happy I get to share this atmosphere which I believe is the best in the country with our athletes," Harper said of her return to Thompson-Boling Arena. "I wish we could be more competitive, but I enjoy coming back."

Lauren Powell led Western Carolina with 14 points. Brooke Johnson, from nearby Seymour, made the most of her homecoming with 12 points and five rebounds.