Monday, January 24, 2005
No. 7 Tennessee 67, Kentucky 49
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee welcomed former assistant Mickie DeMoss in her first visit since leaving for Kentucky.
Then the Lady Vols made sure she went home feeling the way most of the other Southeastern Conference coaches who come here do.
No. 7 Tennessee raced to a 22-2 lead midway through the first half and held the Wildcats to six field goals before halftime en route to a 67-49 victory on Sunday. It was the Lady Vols' 56th straight SEC win at home and 38th overall in the league's regular-season.
``I didn't know how the game would unfold. Let's face it, Kentucky got a lot of good looks early and the shots didn't fall,'' Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said. ``Our defense I thought perhaps forced them to rush a little bit because the defensive intensity was really good.''
Shyra Ely scored 13 points, Alexis Hornbuckle added 12 and Sybil Dosty had 11 rebounds for the Lady Vols (14-3, 4-0), who extended their winning streak over Kentucky to 24 games.
Before the game, DeMoss hugged Summitt when they met on the court and waved to the cheering crowd. To DeMoss' surprise, Summitt then presented her with a crystal vase in honor of her 18 years with the Lady Vols. DeMoss left for Kentucky in March 2003.
``I felt that it was a very welcoming crowd,'' DeMoss said. ``I was excited to be back in Thompson-Boling.''
Tennessee wasn't nice to the Wildcats (13-7, 2-3) once the game started.
Kentucky's Chante Bowman scored the game's first points with a jumper. But the Wildcats didn't score their second field goal until nearly 12 minutes later, when Sara Potts' layup cut the lead to 17.
``I was beginning to wonder if we were going to score again,'' DeMoss said. ``We missed a couple of easy buckets, and I think it shook our confidence a little bit.''
Tennessee led by as many as 23 in the first half, and 15 was the closest Kentucky got before halftime.
Tennessee won 81-72 last year at Lexington in DeMoss' first game against the Lady Vols as Kentucky's head coach.
DeMoss helped recruit most of Tennessee's players, and they were happy to see her.
``That was extra motivation. It was exciting just to see Mickie on the floor,'' Shanna Zolman said.
Kentucky was the fourth team Tennessee held under 20 points in first half this season.
In the second half, the Lady Vols pushed their lead to 28 on Dosty's putback with 14:11 to go. Kentucky got it down to 53-37 after Potts' 3-pointer, but Tennessee quickly restored its advantage to over 20. Zolman hit a 3, Sidney Spencer sank a jumper and Hornbuckle had a layup to give the Lady Vols a 60-37 lead.
Freshman Samantha Mahoney led the Wildcats with 15 points. Potts, Kentucky's leading scorer, was guarded by Ely and held to five points.
The Lady Vols had 10 players score at least a basket. Once the margin widened, Summitt played with several different lineups on the floor, including one with four freshmen.