Friday, February 18, 2005

No. 6 Tennessee 74, South Carolina 44

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee's Shanna Zolman was confused when she saw coach Pat Summitt walk out on the court and then heard her name called over the loudspeaker.

Zolman had no idea what was happening, but Summitt planned for the moment when the junior guard reached 1,000 career points.

Zolman, who began the game needing 12 points to reach the plateau, finished with 13 in the sixth-ranked Lady Vols' 74-44 victory over South Carolina on Thursday night.

In an unusual move, play was stopped in the second half after Zolman's jumper that pushed her over the milestone. The officials handed Summitt the ball Zolman shot.

``I thought she looked kind of startled when I started out on the court,'' Summitt said. ``She probably thought, 'What is Coach coming after me for?'''

``I was surprised, but there was still like 8 minutes left in the game, and I had to keep on playing,'' Zolman said.

The Lady Vols (20-4, 10-1 Southeastern Conference) trailed once, 5-4, and quickly built their lead in the first half en route to their 60th straight league win at home and 31st in a row over the Gamecocks (6-19, 0-11)

Tennessee reached 20 wins for the 29th straight season under Summitt, who is eight wins from passing Dean Smith as the winningest coach in NCAA history.

The Vols raced to an 18-8 lead, with Zolman scoring eight points during the spree.

Zolman is the 31st player in Tennessee history to reach 1,000 career points. She was 3-of-4 from beyond the arc in the game.

``She's the kind of player who's worked really hard. She's got a beautiful stroke. She wasn't born with that. She's probably spent more time in the gym than any kid I've coached working on her shot,'' Summitt said.

The Vols closed the first half with a 14-2 run, and opened the second half with a 14-4 run to push their lead to 31 with 10:47 remaining.

The Lady Vols struggled to win 68-53 in Columbia, S.C., last month January after trailing 14-4 in the first seven minutes.

``I think Tennessee came out with something to prove today,'' South Carolina coach Susan Walvius said. ``Tennessee played better this week than a few weeks ago.''

Shyra Ely, Tennessee's leading scorer, came off the bench as a power forward for the second straight game. She played power forward the last three years before switching to small forward this season. Ely finished with seven points and nine rebounds.

All 10 Tennessee players who were in the game scored at least a basket, and the Lady Vols had a season-low nine turnovers.

Lauren Simms scored 16 points, and Iva Sliskovic had 14 to led the Gamecocks, who have lost a school-record nine in a row overall and 17 straight SEC games. Stacy Booker had a career-high seven assists.

Former Lady Vols player Michelle Marciniak, now an assistant at South Carolina, missed the game because she was in Pennsylvania to be with her father, who had complications from surgery. Marciniak was the MVP of the 1996 Final Four.

No comments: