Sunday, November 18, 2007

(1) Tennessee 92, (21) Texas 67

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Top-ranked Tennessee raised a banner celebrating last season's NCAA title over their home court on Sunday then played like national championship contenders in a 92-67 win over No. 21 Texas.

The Lady Vols (3-0) dominated inside, grabbed steals and forced turnovers. They finished with 42 points in the paint, 40 points off turnovers and 18 steals.

"We love to play fast, to make the rebound and control the boards," Tennessee's Alexis Hornbuckle said.

Candace Parker led the team, grabbing six rebounds and scoring 21 points, including Tennessee's first 11. She was one of seven Lady Vols to score in the first half.

Parker said she was excited to see the banner honoring her first national championship.

"Our class came in wanting to win a national championship, and to see the banner raised was an amazing feeling," she said.

The Lady Vols went on an 11-2 run that ended when Sidney Smallbone drove down the court to shoot a quick layup that spun on the rim before going in.

The basket put Tennessee up 41-18 for its largest first-half lead with 5:02 to go, and the Lady Vols entered halftime with a 51-31 lead.

The Longhorns (2-1) got within 15 points twice before halftime on a free throw by Kathleen Nash and again on a basket by Brittainey Raven with about 2 minutes to play, but it was as close as they would get.

Texas never led and committed 30 turnovers.

"They shared the ball really well and obviously caused many, many problems for us with their defense," said first-year Texas coach Gail Goestenkors, who as Duke coach was 5-4 against Tennessee.

Raven finished with 18 points, Nash had 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Carla Cortijo added 12 points.

"We just need to slow down," Raven said. "Coach always says, "Poise under pressure."'

The Lady Vols gradually built their lead after the half to 31 points on a Smallbone 3-pointer and again when Hornbuckle drove the court and made an underhanded shot beneath the basket.

Hornbuckle ended with 13 points, six assists and five rebounds.

Alex Fuller had one of her strongest games as a Lady Vol, going 7-for-8 from the floor, 2-for-2 at the line and making both of her 3-point attempts. She finished with 18 points and four rebounds.

Angie Bjorklund scored 16 points before fouling out.

Tennessee coach Pat Summitt, who earned her 950th win with Sunday's game, said she was glad to see so much balance offensively and felt the Lady Vols played their best defensive ball of the young season.

"Going into this game I was concerned because our transition defense has been soft," she said. "We had tremendous intensity on the defensive end, and we did a better job of controlling the boards."

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