Knoxville, Tenn. – Former Connecticut star Diana Taurasi continued to haunt the Lady Vols, as she scored 28 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the United States National Team to an 83-72 victory. With the win, the red, white and blue improve to 3-0 on the 2007 college tour, while Tennessee drops to 0-1 in exhibition contests this season.
The loss was Tennessee’s first in an exhibition contest since falling 82-58 to the USA National Team on Nov. 22, 1995. The Lady Vols beat Team USA on Nov. 7, 1999, 65-64 on a last-second shot by then-UT rookie Kara Lawson.
Candace Parker led orange-clad scorers with 22 points and seven rebounds. Freshman Angie Bjorklund became just the 11th Lady Vol freshman to start in her first UT game. The Spokane Valley, Wash., native tallied 13 points on three-of-four shooting from beyond the arc. Fellow freshmen Sydney Smallbone contributed eight points and Vicki Baugh five in their first efforts for the Big Orange.
Alexis Hornbuckle offered six rebounds, seven points, five assists and five steals. Her final two steals set up three-pointers for Shannon Bobbitt, bringing the game within a three-point reach with three-and-a-half minutes left, but it was not enough, as the USA National Team scored 10 points in the final three minutes for the win.
Tennessee grabbed 31 rebounds compared to 45 by the USA, but scored 18 points off of 18 National Team turnovers. The Lady Vols had three blocks and 13 steals in their first contest in the newly-renovated Thompson-Boling Arena. 13,927 fans were on hand to watch the game in the re-done facility.
UT returns to the hardwood in its second and final exhibition contest of the season, when the team takes on the Carson-Newman Lady Eagles at 7 p.m. on Tuesday night.