Monday, November 09, 2009

Lady Vols 79, Delta State 46

Kelley Cain breezed to a double-double Monday night in a 79-46 exhibition victory over Delta State in Thompson-Boling Arena.

Cain, who finished with a game-high 20 points, 20 rebounds and seven blocked shots in just 19 minutes of play, loomed large over the Lady Statesmen, whose tallest player still gave up six inches to Tennessee's 6-foot-8 center.

All that changes this weekend, though.

The Lady Vols begin the regular season against No. 7 Baylor -- and the Lady Bears' 6-foot-8 freshman Brittney Griner.

The true freshman boasts a 7-foot-4 wingspan and dunked 52 times in 32 games as a senior at Nimitz High School in Houston. Griner, a consensus national player of the year coming out of high school, dunked in the Lady Bears' exhibition win over Incarnate Word on Saturday.

Cain wasn't the only Lady Vol to post a double-double on Monday, either.

Freshman Taber Spani, despite coming off the bench in favor of sophomore Glory Johnson, scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, including seven on the offensive end.

Angie Bjorklund scored 12 points on 4-of-13 shooting, while Shekinna Stricklen added 10 points and nine boards.

Johnson finished with seven points on 2-of-6 shooting with two blocks and five rebounds.

Delta State, ranked No. 4 in Division II, was paced by point guard Bug Cooper's 15 points. The Lady Statesmen shot just 26 percent from the field and turned the ball over 19 times.

The Lady Vols opened the game on an 11-0 run and used another 11-0 run to take a 22-5 lead early in the game.

Tennessee and Delta State last played in 1979 before Monday's exhibition, but the two programs met in the 1977 AIAW Final Four where the Lady Statesmen defeated Tennessee to claim their third consecutive AIWA national title.

Counting Monday's exhibition, the Lady Vols are 5-2 all-time against Delta State.

The Lady Vols return to the court Sunday for a 5 p.m. tipoff (TV: ESPN2) against the Lady Bears in Thompson-Boling Arena. The Lady Vols defeated Baylor 71-69 in the 2004 NCAA tournament, their only previous meeting.

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