Sunday, January 14, 2007

(4) Tennessee 52, (15) Georgia 41

ATHENS, Ga. -- No. 4 Tennessee knocked off another ranked team, this time with a stifling defensive performance.

On an off day for Candace Parker, the Lady Vols held No. 15 Georgia to its fewest points since 1974 in a 52-41 victory Sunday.

Alexis Hornbuckle and Nicky Anosike scored 14 points apiece for Tennessee (16-1, 3-0 Southeastern Conference), which has beaten seven ranked teams this season -- four of them on the road.

The Lady Vols' lone loss was at No. 2 North Carolina.

"This team is much more athletic and can cover a lot of ground," said coach Pat Summitt, whose career record improved to 929-178. "That has been the key for us and our success on the road. We're able to generate points off our defense. That's how you win ballgames."

Georgia (14-4, 2-2) shot only 32 percent from the field (15-of-47) and had just one player in double figures, Christy Marshall with 12 points.

The last time Georgia was held to fewer points was a 48-31 loss to Berry on Feb. 15, 1974 -- the debut season of a women's basketball program that developed into one of the nation's best.

Sunday, the Lady Bulldogs looked lost.

Georgia was 1-of-14 from 3-point range, committed 19 turnovers and allowed Tennessee to grab 18 offensive rebounds. The Lady Vols had their own offensive problems, connecting on just 21-of-53 shots (39.6 percent).

"There was a while where we let our offense affect our defense," Summitt said, "but not in the second half when we needed it."

Parker, who was averaging 20.3 points a game, was held to 10 on 4-of-13 shooting, matching her lowest output of the season. But two teammates picked up the slack, with Hornbuckle making a couple of key 3-pointers and Anosike dominating on the inside against Georgia's 6-foot-5 freshman, Angel Robinson.

"You're going to have games like that," Parker said. "This just proves we can play different styles."

Anosike scored 12 points in the second half to help the Lady Vols pull away.

"We're on the road. You've got to expect shots not to fall," the 6-4 junior said. "In that type of situation, you've got to bring your defense and bring it on the boards. That's why we won today."

Georgia's leading scorer, Cory Chambers, went 0-for-6 from the field, including five straight misses from 3-point range. She settled for four points -- all on free throws -- and was far below her season average of 16.4 per game.

Tasha Humphrey hit just 3-of-11 shots and finished with eight points, though she did do a good job defensively on Parker. Humphrey has failed to reach double figures in four straight games.

"We need to get her better at the offensive end," coach Andy Landers said.

Georgia has now lost 13 in a row to Top 10 teams -- five of those defeats delivered by Tennessee. The Lady Vols have won 15 of 17 against their SEC rival.

Landers delivered a blistering critique of his team, singling out seniors Chambers and Janese Hardrick for "standing around" and citing Robinson for "a lack of intensity."

"The thing that ought to be burning in her mind is 'I'm getting killed on the defensive boards,"' the coach said.

The Lady Bulldogs never led, and Landers was forced to call a quick timeout when Tennessee jumped on top 10-2. Georgia made a couple of runs in the second half, but the Lady Vols answered each time.

Trailing 29-25, the Lady Bulldogs had a chance to get closer when Ashley Houts came up with a steal to set up Hardrick and Robinson for a couple of easy attempts underneath. Both shots rolled off the rim, and Hornbuckle raced to the other end to hit a 3-pointer, sparking an 8-0 run.

Georgia responded with 10 straight points, closing to 37-35 on Humphrey's basket with 8:32 remaining.

Hornbuckle missed a layup but got the ball back after yet another offensive rebound, taking advantage of the second chance to swish a 3. Georgia missed, and Parker scored an easy one off the fast break to force the Lady Bulldogs to call time.

Georgia never got closer than five the rest of the way.

Landers' frustration was evident when he was whistled for a technical with just under 13 minutes remaining, protesting a call by flipping his stat sheet high in the air.

At the end, he didn't even bother ordering his team to foul. The Lady Vols ran out the final minute while Georgia's coach simply leaned on the scoring table, watching the seconds tick off before he strolled down to give Summitt a quick handshake.

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