Saturday, December 30, 2006

Summit gives wake-up call to Lady Vols

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - If Tennessee needed a wake-up call Saturday afternoon, Coach Pat Summitt supplied it at halftime. The Lady Vols led by two at the half, but after the break was a different story.

Candace Parker had 22 points and 10 rebounds and Shannon Bobbitt had a season-high 17 points to lead No. 4 Tennessee to a 78-54 rout of Notre Dame.

"At halftime, Pat stressed the fact that we looked dead out there," Bobbitt said. "We weren't putting an emphasis on defense first and the boards first, so we had a little meeting among ourselves and we just went out there and were going to show it the second half."

Sidney Spencer added 17 points for the Lady Vols, who were playing a final non-conference game before their Southeastern Conference opener at home against Alabama on Wednesday.

Notre Dame (9-4), led by Charel Allen with 16 points, fell to 0-18 against Tennessee.

Bobbitt was 5-of-7 from 3-point range. She came in averaging 6.6 points.

"Basically, I'm guessing every scouting report against me is I don't have a consistent jump shot, but everybody kind of plays off me," Bobbitt said. "I just take what the defense gives me, and I was shooting it good."

The Lady Vols had 12 blocks, including five by Parker.

Tennessee (12-1) led the entire first half but never by more than eight points. Alexis Hornbuckle hit a 15-footer in transition with 4:11 left to give the Lady Vols a 27-19 lead, but Notre Dame finished the half with an 8-2 run, closing to within 29-27.

The Lady Vols shot just 34.5 percent from the field in the first half and Notre Dame shot 46.2 percent. Tennessee had 11 points off turnovers in the first half.

"At halftime we talked about having energy," Summitt said. "We have to have five people playing with energy. At times we have three people playing hard and a couple not covering passing lanes. We have so many breakdowns because people aren't on the same page as far as intensity."

The Lady Vols opened the second half with an 11-2 run, taking a 40-29 lead on Spencer's two free throws with 16:25 left.

Bobbitt, who hit four 3-pointers in the first 10 minutes of the second half, scored eight straight points in a span of 26 seconds to extend the lead to 26 points. She hit a 3-pointer with 10:38 left, made two foul shots after being intentionally fouled by Tulyah Gaines on a drive, and hit another 3-pointer with 10:12 to play for a 64-38 lead with 10:12 left.

That came during a 22-2 run by the Lady Vols, who rolled to the victory in the last 10 minutes. The Fighting Irish finished with 29 turnovers and the Lady Vols with 15.

"We didn't bring the energy and intensity until the second half," Summitt said. "In the first half, Notre Dame got the shots they wanted. They got good looks. When this team understands that they can generate points off their defense, that will be good."

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