Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Anosike, Bobbitt carry Tennessee early, help Vols win another women’s national championship

TAMPA, Fla. — Candace Parker got most of Stanford’s attention. Maybe the Cardinal should have played tighter defense on Nicky Anosike and Shannon Bobbitt.

The seniors burned Stanford all over the floor Tuesday night, helping Tennessee build an early lead and cruise to a 64-48 victory in the women’s NCAA championship game.

Anosike finished with 12 points and eight rebounds, and Bobbitt added 13 points—all in the first half—as the Lady Volunteers won their second consecutive national title.

Both players were named to the All-Tournament team.

Anosike set the tone in this one, hitting a jumper shortly after the opening tip and then scoring in a variety of different ways around the basket. She had putbacks, layups and free throws. She even drove the baseline and hit a nifty reverse layup in the first half that helped Tennessee regain a double-digit lead.

Not bad for a 6-foot-4 center.

Bobbitt did her damage from much farther away.

The 5-foot-2 point guard hit consecutive 3-pointers in the opening minutes that gave Tennessee all the cushion it needed to end Stanford’s 23-game winning streak and give coach Pat Summitt her eighth national title. Bobbitt drained another 3 late in the opening half and was instrumental in running Tennessee’s offense all night.

Parker took over in the second half, quite possibly because Stanford stopped paying her so much attention. The Cardinal double- and triple-teamed the AP Player of the Year all night.

The move backfired early, mostly because of Anosike and Bobbitt.

Maybe Stanford should have looked at last year’s national title game. Anosike had four points and 16 rebounds—including 10 offensive boards that gave the Vols so many extra shots—in a victory against Rutgers. Bobbitt had 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting from behind the arc.

They gave a repeat performance against Stanford—and gave Tennessee a much more enjoyable repeat.

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