WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Pat Summitt celebrated her 100th NCAA tournament win in typical fashion: a second-round blowout.
Two days after Summitt publicly challenged her team to play harder, the Lady Vols responded with a dominant defensive effort, crisp offense and a 78-52 rout of host Purdue on Tuesday night. The win not only sent top-seeded Tennessee to its annual regional semifinal appearance, but also made Summitt the first coach in Division I basketball history—men’s or women’s—to record 100 wins in the tournament.
Tennessee (32-2) will face either Oklahoma or Notre Dame on Sunday in the Oklahoma City regional semifinals.
For a while, it looked as if the Lady Vols (32-2) might even have a special commendation for Summitt: most lopsided second-round victory. But ninth-seeded Purdue (19-15) closed the 33-point gap in the final 10 minutes and avoided the indignity of breaking Summitt’s personal record in a 41-point victory over Rutgers in 1992.
The lackluster finish sure didn’t delay the celebrations.
When Tennessee’s players stepped off the team bus, they were surrounded by the pep band playing “Rocky Top.” When Summitt finally yanked her starters for good in the final 4 minutes, Candace Parker had 24 points, eight rebounds and three blocks, and Alexis Hornbuckle had 14 points, five assists and eight of the Vols’ 15 steals.
It was never even close.
The ninth-seeded Boilermakers (19-15), this year’s Big Ten tournament champs and a regional finalist last year, were led by Keshia Mosley with 14 points and Kalika France with 10. But they shot only 37.3 percent from the field and committed 24 turnovers.
The Vols full-court pressure and inside play were simply too much for Purdue.
Tennessee scored the first six points, extended the lead to 15-6, then scored nine straight points to make it 24-6 with 9:35 left in the first half.
Things went more downhill from there for Purdue.
The Boilermakers couldn’t keep up with the Lady Vols’ rebounding, winding up on the low end of a 41-28 disparity, and struggled to find good shots. During one first-half stretch, Purdue went more than 8 minutes without a basket and nearly 11 minutes with only one player, Mosley, in the scoring column.
Predictably, Tennessee took advantage of that, too. An 11-0 spurt gave the Vols a 35-8 lead that Purdue never even challenged. Purdue had an 8-0 run to get within 37-20 just before halftime and used a 7-0 run midway through the second half to cut a 63-32 deficit to 63-39.