Friday, November 24, 2006

(4) Tennessee 77, (11) Stanford 60

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Candace Parker got her fourth career dunk and scored 25 points to help fourth-ranked Tennessee beat No. 11 Stanford 77-60 on Friday night.

The Lady Vols (4-0) led most of the game, but Stanford and star freshman center Jayne Appel made them work to stay ahead.

The Cardinal (2-2) cut the lead to nine twice late in the second half, and Tennessee answered with 3-pointers.

The second time, Appel got an easy basket that trimmed it to 56-47 with 8:02 remaining, and Tennessee's Sidney Spencer hit a 3 at the other end.

The teams traded baskets before the Lady Vols pulled away with a quick 6-0 run on a jumper by Parker and four free throws by Alexis Hornbuckle to make it 69-51. The Cardinal could get no closer the rest of the way.

Spencer finished with 10 points. Parker recorded her dunk in the first half and added nine rebounds.

Appel had a season-high 23 points in her best outing so far. Two-time Pac-10 player of the year Candice Wiggins added 18 and Jillian Harmon scored 10 off the bench.

Parker is the fourth collegiate woman to dunk in a game and dunked for the second time this season. She stole a cross-court pass and took off for the wide-open basket at the other end, jamming the ball in with her right hand with 10:55 remaining. The dunk came after the Cardinal had cut the lead to 13-11.

She showed a wide range against Stanford with inside and outside shots, blocks and steals.

But even Parker had trouble guarding Appel one-on-one. The California native, who ranks as one of the top high school players of all time, was 10-of-17 from the field. She was only 3-of-8 from the foul line and was one of only two Stanford players to attempt a free throw.

The Cardinal got as close as four in the first half after being down by 12. Appel's basket with 1:39 left cut it to 29-25, but the Lady Vols answered with Dominique Redding's 3.

The first half ended appropriately with another highlight play after several before the break. After Spencer hit a 3 with 3.6 seconds remaining, Wiggins threw the ball from about 50 feet and it went in at the buzzer to make it 35-28.

Before her dunk, Parker attempted her first 3-pointer of the season and made it. The crowd's cheer was almost louder than when she dunked about five minutes later.

The Lady Vols had a quick 8-0 run to go ahead 25-13 before halftime, but Appel scored three straight baskets to trim the lead in half.

Tennessee has won 11 straight over Stanford.

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