(1) Tennessee 89, Alabama 54
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Losing is rare at Tennessee, and poor defense and rebounding even rarer.
After the Lady Vols lost back-to-back games last week for the first time since 1996-97, two former players showed up at practice to voice their concerns.
Top-ranked Tennessee made them proud on Sunday by snapping the streak with an 89-54 win over Alabama that was victory No. 901 for coach Pat Summitt.
Shelley Sexton Collier and Melissa McCray Dukes talked to the players at Friday's practice. Collier played on the 1987 national championship team, and Dukes won rings in 1987 and 1989.
"I think they understand there is a lot of tradition here, and there's a lot of players that are upset. I've had phone calls," Summitt said. "That just speaks volumes to what they've invested in this program. Still, they are like family. When we lose, they lose."
The Lady Vols (19-2, 5-1 Southeastern Conference) were coming off consecutive road losses at No. 2 Duke and Kentucky. Tennessee has not lost three in a row in 20 years.
Summitt reached No. 900 last week at Vanderbilt, but Tennessee's next two opponents exposed the Lady Vols' weaknesses in defense and rebounding.
Alabama (8-12, 2-5) could not, and Tennessee was quickly headed for its 63rd straight SEC home victory.
Tennessee was ahead 8-0 after the Crimson Tide had turnovers on each of the first four possessions. Alabama got two early baskets from Harriet Barnes and Navonda Moore, and the Lady Vols then held the Tide without a field goal for 15 minutes.
Tennessee led 33-7 with 5:33 to go in the first half after Sidney Spencer's jumper. Shanna Zolman scored to push the lead to 30 with 14 minutes left in the second half.
"I think we got the point after two losses," Zolman said. "We won six national championships in this system and obviously it works."
Tennessee was averaging 39 rebounds per game coming in, the worst in Lady Vols history. Tennessee barely held the edge against the Tide, 34-29.
And Alabama improved its offense in the second half when Tennessee got sloppy.
"Obviously it's always good to get a win," Summitt said. "We have to get better. You don't fix it in one game."
Candace Parker scored 15 points and Alexis Hornbuckle added 14 points, seven rebounds and six assists for Tennessee. Zolman, who failed to score at Duke, finished with 11 points.
Tennessee freshman Lindsey Moss was 3-for-3 from long range before she was hit in the nose and had to be helped off the court. She broke her nose earlier this month. Moss was scheduled to have x-rays Monday.
Moore, who played despite dislocating her right knee cap earlier this week, led Alabama with 26 points. Lauren Hill added 12 points.
The Lady Vols were playing at home for the first time since Jan. 12. During the road trip, Summitt reached a milestone, but the team dropped from the ranks of the undefeated and were embarrassed in a 75-53 loss at Duke. The Lady Vols are certain to fall from No. 1 when The Associated Press poll comes out Monday.
Before the game, Summitt was honored for her 900th win and presented with a basketball and bouquet of orange and white flowers. Alabama coach Stephany Smith also gave her a vase of roses.
"What a great inspiration she is to us all," Smith said.
Summitt improved to 901-174 and 36-2 against Alabama, which has lost 29 straight times to the Lady Vols.