Monday, March 28, 2005

Defense baffles Tech PG

PHILADELPHIA — Erin Grant fussed at the refs. She fussed at her teammates. She even fussed at Loree Moore.

No matter whom she yelled at, the Texas Tech point guard found no rhythm, no help and certainly no sympathy from a Tennessee defense that limited her like few teams have this season.

The Lady Vols forced six turnovers on her and allowed her only five assists in a 75-59 UT victory yesterday at the Liacouras Center.

''I didn't really pick up on it in the first half, but I really picked up on it in the second half,'' said Moore, who guarded her for most of the game.

''She was starting to say some things to me, just that I was all up in her. She just got mad at that. I was basically grabbing her, just all in her chest and all in her shirt. She had no room to breathe. She really didn't like that a lot.''

Grant had three turnovers within the first six minutes of the game, and she came out of the game a minute later when she picked up her second foul.

''I think it was critical the way we started the first half,'' Grant said. ''We had shots that we wanted, wide open shots that we should have knocked down and really could have got a lead early.''

Tennessee also used freshman guard Alexis Hornbuckle on Grant and even threw 6-foot-4 center Nicky Anosike to guard her on the perimeter a few times.

''I would be surprised if I was a point guard and I had never played against Nicky Anosike,'' Hornbuckle said. ''As a guard, anytime a post comes out on you, you're thinking heaven. Nicky is like a whole new athlete.''

Tennessee's defense has led the Lady Vols to their first three wins of the NCAA Tournament. Opposing teams are shooting just 30.5 percent against UT in the tournament, and they are averaging 52 points a game.

''This team is really fitting together in a way to allow them to be a better team defensively,'' UT Coach Pat Summitt said. ''The team decided they wanted to play together at both ends (yesterday), and when that happens, on offense you're going to move the ball more.

''On defense, you're going to have early help and support that help on the backside.''

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