Sunday, February 20, 2005

Tennessee looks to keep conference title hopes alive against Arkansas

(6) Tennessee (20-4) vs. Arkansas (15-9)
Game Info: 3:00 pm EST Sun Feb 20, 2005

Tennessee has won the regular season Southeastern Conference title each of the last seven years. That streak could be in jeopardy.
The sixth-ranked Lady Vols look to stay alive in the conference title hunt when they visit Arkansas on Sunday.

Tennessee (20-4, 10-1 SEC) is in second place in the SEC, one game behind top-ranked LSU. If the Lady Vols lose to the Lady Razorbacks, and the Lady Tigers beat Auburn on Sunday, LSU will clinch the regular season crown.

Tennessee and LSU each have two conference games remaining after Sunday. However, the Lady Tigers beat the Lady Vols 68-58 on Feb. 10, earning the tiebreaker if the teams finish with the same conference record.

Tennessee pounded South Carolina 74-44 on Thursday for its second straight win since the loss to LSU.

Shanna Zolman scored a team-high 13 points, finishing the night with 1,001 for her career. She became the 31st player in team history to reach the 1,000-point plateau.

``She's the kind of player who's worked really hard,'' coach Pat Summitt said. ``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.''

The Lady Vols reached 20 wins for the 29th consecutive season under Summitt, who is just eight victories shy of passing Dean Smith as the winningest coach in NCAA history. Summitt is four wins behind Adolph Rupp, who ranks second on the all-time list.

Shyra Ely, who leads the team with 13 points per game, came off the bench as a power forward for the second straight game and had seven points and nine rebounds. Ely had played power forward the last three years before switching to small forward this season.

Summitt announced after Thursday's game that freshman Candace Parker, who had two knee surgeries last fall on her left knee, will redshirt this season. Parker was the first woman to win the dunk contest at the McDonald's high school All-American Game.

``Every day of my life, I'm asked umpteen times about Candace's future. ... We want a healthy Candace Parker,'' Summitt said. ``We wanted her on the floor this year, but we need for her to be ready and 100 percent.''

The Lady Razorbacks (15-9, 3-8) lost 78-43 to No. 22 Vanderbilt on Thursday for their third defeat in five games. Sarah Pfeifer scored 13 points and Danielle Allen added 11 for Arkansas, which was held to its lowest point total of the season.

The Lady Backs shot just 6-for-27 in the first half, including 0-for-9 from 3-point range, and trailed 37-14 at halftime.

Tennessee leads this all-time series 15-1 and has won the last 10 meetings. The Lady Backs' only win over the Vols was a 77-75 victory on Dec. 29, 1996 in Arkansas.

The Vols, who have outscored Arkansas by an average of 21.1 points in the series, beat the Lady Backs 72-54 on Jan. 13. Zolman scored a game-high 16 points, while Brittney Vaughn led Arkansas with 13.

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