Monday, March 24, 2008

Tennessee, Purdue to meet in second round of Oklahoma City regional

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Top-seeded Tennessee won’t intimidate Purdue when they meet Tuesday in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

The ninth-seeded Boilermakers, played one of the nation’s toughest schedules, a key reason the Boilermakers got such a high seed with an 18-14 record. Purdue also gets to play the Volunteers at Mackey Arena, where the Boilermakers are 12-3 this season after beating Utah 66-59 Sunday.

“I think it’s another great opportunity,” Purdue coach Sharon Versyp said. “Our team has played UConn, North Carolina. We’ve played the best in the country, and to get them at home is a great opportunity.”

Tennessee (31-2) beat No. 16 Oral Roberts 94-55 Sunday.

“We are going to take this one and move forward and play here at Purdue against Purdue,” Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said. “It is going to be a big challenge for us. I hope everybody comes and we have a sellout crowd and a great environment for women’s basketball.”

The late game Tuesday will match No. 4 seed Oklahoma (22-8) and No. 5 seed Notre Dame (24-8). Oklahoma beat No. 12 seed Illinois State 69-61 on Sunday, and No. 5 Notre Dame beat No. 12 Southern Methodist 75-62.

Tennessee had no trouble advancing past Oral Roberts. Freshman Angie Bjorklund hit four 3-pointers and finished with 16 points to lead the Lady Volunteers to their customary first-round rout. Candace Parker had 14 points, four rebounds, four steals and two blocks in just 18 minutes and went to the bench for good with her fourth foul with 14:04 left in the game.

But this game wasn’t to Parker’s usual style anyway. The Lady Vols hit seven 3-pointers in the first half and wound up making 12 3s, their second-highest total of the season.

For the Golden Eagles (19-14), things went even worse than expected. Jenny Hardin had 16 points in their most lopsided loss of the season.

Not only did they have to contend with Tennessee’s talent, but scoring leader Mariana Camargo slid awkwardly out of bounds while chasing the ball near the Volunteers’ baseline seconds after the tip.

Camargo stayed on the ground until officials stopped play 14 seconds into the game. A few minutes later, she was carried from the court to the locker room and didn’t re-emerge until 11:58 remained in the first half—hobbling on crutches and with her left knee wrapped.

“It was such a freak, unfortunate injury,” Summitt said. “I know our team — it bothered them. We never want to see anybody go down.”

The Volunteers eventually settled down, and now they are looking ahead. Parker watched Purdue’s win over Illinois in the Big Ten championship game and was impressed.

“We have our work cut out for us,” she said. “They’re scrappy, they play hard. I think with us, it’s about defense and rebounding. We need to worry about us. That’s the most important thing.”

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