Thursday, January 31, 2008

(2) Tennessee 68, Mississippi 44

OXFORD, Miss. -- Shannon Bobbitt scored 14 points and Candace Parker had 13 as Tennessee continued its defensive dominance of the Southeastern Conference in a 68-44 win over Mississippi on Thursday night.

The second-ranked Lady Vols (19-1, 6-0 SEC) won their ninth consecutive game overall and their 16th straight against the Lady Rebels (8-11, 2-4).

Tennessee, bigger and faster at every position, strong-armed Ole Miss on the way to a 28-point first-half lead. But the Lady Vols' 39-13 halftime advantage could have been wider.

They used a quick 15-0 run to jump to a 17-4 lead early in the first half, but stalled out with a flurry of poor passes in transition, missed shots and unforced turnovers.

The Lady Rebels held the Lady Vols without a field goal for the next 6 minutes, but were unable to capitalize, scoring just four points in that span.

Tennessee broke out of the slump with a 21-5 run to clinch the win.

It was the third straight poor start for the Lady Rebels, who were led by Shawn Goff's 20 points, 12 rebounds and four steals. They scored 20 points in the first half of a 57-52 loss at Mississippi State and 12 points in an 83-50 loss at Vanderbilt.

Tennessee limited Ole Miss to 20.7 percent shooting in the first half. The Lady Vols held the Lady Rebels scoreless for 5:12 early in the half, then allowed just two field goals and five points over the final 11:37.

Meanwhile, Tennessee used 12 offensive rebounds for an 18-3 edge in second chance points and scored 12 off turnovers over the first 20 minutes.

Tennessee hasn't allowed more than 63 points in six SEC games and is giving up an average of 50 points per league contest.

The Lady Rebels were more spirited in the second half, but continue to struggle from behind the 3-point line. Eleventh in the nation and No. 1 in the SEC in 3-point shooting just two weeks ago, Ole Miss snapped a string of 36 missed long-range shots late in the second half, but finished 2-for-18.

Parker, who had a loud local cheering section of teenage girls among a pro-Tennessee crowd, handled the ball often in the first half and finished with eight rebounds and two blocks in 20 minutes. Alex Fuller added 11 for the Lady Vols.

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