Saturday, November 20, 2004

Defense leads easy win for Lady Vols

CHATTANOOGA — In the first game of her 31st season as Tennessee's head coach, Pat Summitt still managed to find something she'd never seen before.

The Lady Vols held Chattanooga to 13.5 percent shooting for the game and 9.1 percent shooting in the first half on their way to a 68-34 win last night at McKenzie Arena in front of a crowd of 10,051 — the largest to see a Chattanooga women's game in the venue.

''Coach came in at halftime and said she's never looked down at the stats and had a 9 percent shooting performance,'' UT junior Shanna Zolman said.

While the offense has looked inconsistent, defense has been no problem for the Lady Vols (1-0).

Senior point guard Loree Moore had eight steals to go along with six points, eight rebounds and three assists. Senior forward Shyra Ely led the Lady Vols with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

''Don't ever forget when you go on the road to pack your defense and your rebounding,'' Summitt said. ''I don't care what else you pack. We'll pack your uniforms somewhere else, but bring those two things.''

Ely, switching to the small forward position this season after playing in the post her first three years, shut down Chattanooga's Katasha Brown, the 2003-04 Southern Conference Player of the Year. Brown did not score a point until she made 1-of-2 free throws with 1:46 left in the first half. She finished with five points on 1-of-9 shooting.

''I think (Ely) could be a great defensive weapon for us,'' Summitt said.

The Lady Mocs (0-1) managed to keep it reasonable in the first half despite only making two field goals. They were 10-of-12 from the free throw line in the first half.

But Tennessee steadily pulled away, and Zolman made a 3-pointer at the buzzer for a 35-15 lead at halftime. Zolman finished with 14 points.

''That was about as much fun as a root canal,'' Chattanooga Coach Wes Moore said.

Turnovers appear to be the most concerning early season issue for the Lady Vols. Tennessee turned the ball over 21 times last night and had 17 turnovers Sunday in their final exhibition of the preseason.

During one stretch in the second half, the Lady Vols committed turnovers on five consecutive possessions, allowing the Lady Mocs to go on an 8-0 run.

Both teams broke in their share of freshmen last night. UT guard Alexis Hornbuckle had five points and four assists, and Laura Hall led the Lady Mocs with 11 points.

Special guest: Former UT quarterback Casey Clausen was in attendance for last night's game, sitting with the family of Lady Vol senior Brittany Jackson. The game was a homecoming of sorts for Jackson, who is from nearby Cleveland.

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