Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tennessee beats longtime foe Old Dominion 102-62

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Already leading Tennessee in scoring, Angie Bjorklund still heeded coach Pat Summitt’s suggestion that the Lady Vols spend some extra time in the gym shooting this week.

It certainly didn’t hurt. Bjorklund, who entered the game averaging 14.9 points, scored all but three of her 19 points in the first half as No. 4 Tennessee beat Old Dominion 102-62 on Wednesday night.

“If you said what player you think has worked the hardest to get where they are right now it’s Angie Bjorklund,” Summitt said. “I think other players are recognizing what she can do on the floor.”

Bjorklund, who scored a career-high 29 points a season ago at Old Dominion, hit an early 3, a fastbreak layup and a fadeaway jumper as the Lady Vols (11-1) scored the first 11 points of the game. She hit one final 3-pointer for the first basket of the second half, earning some rest time for much of the second half.

With 70.3 percent shooting, Tennessee led 57-31 at halftime. Old Dominion (2-8) hit just 33.3 percent of its first-half shots.

“I asked Pat for the fire extinguisher at halftime,” Lady Monarchs coach Wendy Larry joked. “I think Angie Bjorklund has distinguished herself as one of the best there is. She certainly put on a clinic in the 20 minutes she played.”

As the Lady Vols’ veteran, Bjorklund’s hard work has also lit a fire beneath many of her teammates, Summitt said. All players put in some extra time in the gym after shooting just 32.8 percent in a 67-52 loss at No. 2 Stanford on Dec. 19.

Glory Johnson recorded her eighth career double-double, scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds for Tennessee. Alyssia Brewer scored 16 points, and Briana Bass and Kamiko Williams both added 11.

“Just an extra 200 to 300 shots before or after practice really helps,” Bjorklund said. “It helps mentally too.”

Jasmine Parker led the Lady Monarchs with 13, and Tia Lewis scored 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Shadasia Green added 12 points.

Tennessee got a scare when two-time Southeastern Conference player of the week Shekinna Stricklen awkwardly landed on the floor after grabbing a rebound and left the court clutching her right knee. Initial tests showed her injury was not serious and she will be day-to-day as the Lady Vols prepare to face No. 14 Oklahoma on Sunday.

It was the 43rd meeting between the traditional women’s basketball powerhouses, but the Lady Vols have won 14 straight and hold a 34-9 lead over the Lady Monarchs dating back to 1977.

Old Dominion has had a tough nonconference road, facing teams such as Stanford, Maryland, North Carolina State, Syracuse and Louisville before making the trip to Knoxville.

The Lady Monarchs open Colonial Athletic Association play Sunday at Delaware and they hope that the especially tough schedule helps them cruise to an 18th conference championship in 19 seasons.

“I haven’t played in the CAA, I’ve only watched it. From what I’ve seen it’s aggressive but not as aggressive as the teams we’ve played,” Lewis said.

Summitt, in her 36th season and Larry, in her 26th season, have developed a strong friendship over their history of playing each other. Larry attended a celebration in Knoxville in May honoring Summitt and her 1,000 career wins wearing an orange blouse and carrying and orange purse.

“Took them back,” Larry said. “I left the tags on.”

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

No. 4 Tennessee bounces back from loss to rout USF

SAN FRANCISCO — Pat Summitt sat down with each of her players in recent days, trying to gauge who is invested in doing the extra work to maintain Tennessee’s status as a top program.

Her challenge to Angie Bjorklund sure worked.

Bjorklund scored 19 points in 17 minutes and moved into third place on Tennessee’s all-time 3-pointers list with 165, and the fourth-ranked Lady Vols bounced back from a tough loss with an 89-34 victory over San Francisco on Tuesday night.

“The team did the work. They can critique themselves,” Summitt said. “It showed me that they’re taking ownership. As coaches, when that happens, it’s amazing what a team can do.”

Kamiko Williams had a breakout game with 14 points, eight rebounds, four steals, three assists and two blocks for the Lady Vols (10-1), who stayed in the Bay Area after a 67-52 loss to No. 2 Stanford on Saturday at Maples Pavilion. Glory Johnson added 13 points and nine rebounds for Tennessee, down one spot in this week’s poll.

“I thought we did really well and responded to the loss,” Bjorklund said. “I think the game was very important to see where we’re at. We took two days to say, ‘Hey, this is where I need to improve,’ and we had an opportunity two days later to go back and apply that.”

For the first time in 10 years visiting the area, Tennessee had time to do some sightseeing, such as visiting the Golden Gate Bridge and Fisherman’s Wharf — not to mention shopping downtown.

“Oh, I love this city, so much fun,” Bjorklund said.

San Francisco (4-10), of the mid-major West Coast Conference, is coached by Lady Vols Hall of Famer Tanya Haave and Summitt always works to schedule games against her former players who have become head coaches. Haave was a three-year starter for Tennessee from 1980-84 and reached three Final Fours during her time in Knoxville.

Dons assistant Abby Conklin also played at Tennessee, where she was a four-year letterwinner and helped lead the Lady Vols to back-to-back NCAA titles in 1996 and ’97.

Rheina Ale scored 11 points to lead USF. Tennessee forced 10 first-half turnovers and 18 in all and outrebounded the Dons 52-32 in front of a crowd of 3,255 at Memorial Gym.

“It was an exciting atmosphere tonight. We’ve never had that 3,200 in our gym,” Haave said. “Tennessee’s size, skill and athleticism was too much for us. No question, you’ve got the eight-time national champion, all that they are and all that they have been, there’s going to be some intimidation.”

Bjorklund’s 3 at the 11:56 mark of the first half started a 26-6 run that gave Tennessee a comfortable 48-17 lead at the break. USF matched its lowest halftime score of the season, shooting 24.1 percent and going 3 for 13 from long range.

Bjorklund, a junior, went 7-for-10 with four 3-pointers and also had four assists and two steals. She came into the game tied with Brittany Jackson with 161 3s. Shanna Zolman’s 266 career 3-pointers are the most in program history, followed by 256 from Kara Lawson.

Tennessee had only four assists in the loss to Stanford—a number Summitt believes is a record low for the program—but finished with 17 on Tuesday, already doubling its Saturday total late in the first half. The Lady Vols scored only 18 points in the first half Saturday to match their sixth-lowest halftime total.

Summitt wasn’t about to stand for another slow start. She quickly called timeout after her team fell behind 4-2 and let her players have it.

“I got a pit in my stomach when I saw they lost,” Haave said. “You don’t want to play them after they lose. She knows exactly what to do after a loss and she hates to lose with a passion.”

USF, which lost for the seventh time in its last eight games, hosted a top-five team on the Hilltop for only the third time in school history. The Dons are 2-5 at home against ranked teams since 1995.

Tennessee took last season’s meeting in Knoxville 68-39, the only other matchup in the series.

USF appreciates getting to face such a quality opponent.

“I think it’s good for us,” Ale said. “We need to play against better teams to get better ourselves. I like our schedule. I like playing against big teams.”

Saturday, December 19, 2009

No. 2 Stanford beats No. 3 Tennessee 67-52

STANFORD, Calif. — Tara VanDerveer has always considered a game against Tennessee a true test for her Stanford program, win or lose.

This victory told the Cardinal coach plenty. The next game on the schedule should do the trick, too.

Kayla Pedersen had 16 points and eight rebounds and No. 2 Stanford beat third-ranked Tennessee 67-52 on Saturday in a matchup of unbeaten national powerhouses.

“This really kind of lets you know where you’re at,” VanDerveer said. “When you play Tennessee, I think it’s a win whether it’s a big ‘W’ or a little ‘w.’ They help you get better. They’re the barometer. They always let you know what you have to work on.”

Jayne Appel added 10 points, 14 boards, three assists and three blocks and Nnemkadi Ogwumike scored all 14 of her points in the second half to go with 10 rebounds for the Cardinal (9-0). Stanford held off a late run and won its 35th straight game at Maples Pavilion.

Let the hype begin for Stanford’s showdown with No. 1 Connecticut on Wednesday night in Hartford in one of the most highly anticipated games of the regular season.

Angie Bjorklund scored 15 points and Glory Johnson 13 for the Lady Vols (9-1) on a day when leading scorer Shekinna Stricklen was held to eight on 4 of 12 shooting.

Tennessee managed only four assists.

“That may be an all-time record at University of Tennessee for the Lady Vols basketball team,” Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said.

This was the biggest matchup so far for both schools and each was slow getting going offensively after the 11:30 a.m. tipoff. It was the first time in 10 meetings that Tennessee came to Stanford ranked lower than the Cardinal.

“They exposed their game to all of women’s basketball today, and it wasn’t pretty,” Summitt said of her squad. “It was a butt kicking, don’t forget it. I won’t. They were the best team today in all aspects of the game. We’ve got to get a whole lot better. We fell apart. Sometimes that happens.”

Pedersen converted a key putback midway through the second half and a 3-pointer with 8:01 to play that helped spark her team. She also knocked a jumper with 4:42 to go, thrilling the near-sellout crowd of 6,809.

The game featured scalpers outside the arena and pregnant WNBA star Lisa Leslie doing color for the television broadcast.

Stanford was challenged to establish an inside game with 6-foot-6 Kelley Cain clogging the middle and making things tough on the 6-4 Appel, the reigning Pac-10 Player of the Year.

“I felt like a lineman, kind of,” Appel said. “I was told to meet her at the free-throw line. It was physical. Tomorrow will be a recovery day for both of us because we were going at each other a lot.”

Johnson converted a three-point play after drawing Appel’s third foul with 13:46 remaining and Appel went to the bench. Summitt immediately sent in Cain, but she quickly got whistled for her third foul and came right back out of the game.

After Johnson’s play, Stanford answered with a 7-0 spurt and forced Tennessee into back-to-back turnovers.

The Cardinal were stronger in many areas four days after beating seventh-ranked Duke 71-55, especially on the boards after allowing the Blue Devils 25 offensive rebounds.

After falling behind 9-4, Stanford used an 18-4 run to gain momentum. Both teams had scoreless stretches of more than 5 minutes in the first half.

Stanford got a big boost late in the first half from Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, who hit consecutive 3s followed by a driving layup. Pedersen then drew a charge on Stricklen on the other end and the Cardinal took a 30-18 lead at the break. They led by 18 in the second half.

Tennessee matched its sixth-lowest halftime total, also done against Stanford in the NCAA tournament regional finals in 2004. The Lady Vols won that game 62-60, the previous-low scoring total for the Lady Vols in the series.

It was Gold-Onwude who scored nine of Stanford’s 10 points in overtime of a 73-69 win over top-ranked Tennessee at Maples on Dec. 23, 2007, to end an 11-game losing streak in the series.

Tennessee stays in the Bay Area to play at San Francisco on Tuesday night and Summitt planned to get her team in the film room right away.

The Lady Vols are still striving for the Final Four.

“They didn’t surprise me. I think they surprised our team,” Summitt said. “This team has got to make a decision here real soon if we’re committed to getting to San Antonio, because right now we’re miles away, or we could be years away.”

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

No. 3 Tennessee beats Louisville 86-56

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The third-ranked Tennessee Lady Volunteers know they’ll need to create their own energy when they go on the road to play No. 2 Stanford this weekend.

They got some practice putting together some long runs in an 86-56 win over Louisville on Wednesday night.

“Coach emphasized keeping the ball inside and keeping our energy up,” Angie Bjorklund said. “We need a 40-minute game. We’re working towards that. Stanford will be on their home court. Creating our own energy will be huge when we step on their court.”

Three days before Saturday’s showdown in California, Bjorklund made one of the biggest contributions to the Tennessee’s energy, scoring 19 points—all but four on 3-pointers.

Despite jumping out to a 23-3 lead to open the game, Tennessee (9-0) went cold halfway through the first half as Louisville (6-4) shook off six early turnovers in its first meeting with the Lady Vols.

“I’m not saying I’m a really smart coach, but if you don’t shoot, you don’t score,” said Louisville coach Jeff Walz, who led the Cardinals to the NCAA championship last season. “Once we figured out it’s better to throw it to our own team, we did some better things. We started to score.”

It turned out that Bjorklund wasn’t the only one feeling comfortable behind the arc. Becky Burke hit 7 of 9 from behind the arc, the most 3s any player has made against the Lady Vols this season. She finished with a career-high 23 points.

One of Burke’s 3s cut Tennessee’s lead to 31-24 with 5:04 left in the half. Free throws by Shekinna Stricklen and a 3 by Bjorklund gave Tennessee a 43-29 halftime lead.

Bjorklund and Stricklen combined for four 3s in the first 6 minutes of the second half, and Tennessee tied season highs in finishing 9 of 22 from beyond the arc.

Stricklen finished with 15 points, and Alyssia Brewer added 12 points and 10 rebounds for Tennessee.

Despite her players forcing the early turnovers by the Cardinals, Summitt wasn’t satisfied with the Lady Vols’ pressing defense early in the first half.

She switched to a half-court approach at halftime, and by the end of the game Tennessee had forced 24 turnovers and outrebounded Louisville 54-37.

“I’m not going to blame anyone except myself, but our staff wanted to extend our defense,” Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said. “Looking back, we shouldn’t have done that against a team as athletic as Louisville.”

Summitt had an early holiday surprise for the Tennessee fans, announcing before the game that she had decided to add the players’ names to the back of their jerseys after having them removed during the 2004-05 season because she was frustrated with the play of her players at the time.

She said she made the decision after considering hundreds of letters and e-mails she’s gotten from fans in the years since—some downright demanding, she said—asking for the names on the jerseys to distinguish the players in the massive Thompson-Boling Arena.

“Merry Christmas,” Summitt said to the fans before the game started.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Stricklen helps No. 4 Tennessee beat Rutgers

NEW YORK — Pat Summitt coached against Maggie Dixon in her final game. So when the Hall of Famer got the chance to take part in an event in her honor, she jumped all over the opportunity.

“She was such a great person,” Summitt said after her fourth-ranked Lady Vols beat Rutgers 68-54 on Sunday. “We knew we were going to be facing each other in the postseason and actually wound up at the same restaurant. She had a great mind for the game. I enjoyed getting to know her. To be a part of this today meant a lot to me and we talked to our team about it as well.”

Shekinna Stricklen scored 19 points and Glory Johnson and Alyssia Brewer each added 10 points for the Lady Vols (8-0). Playing in New York at Madison Square Garden was a thrill for the Tennessee players.

“Everyone on the team was excited to play here,” Stricklen said. “It was my first time being here. They had great fans here.”

Brittany Ray scored a career-high 29 points for Rutgers (7-5).

“Brittany did everything. She took drives, long 3-point shots,” coach C. Vivian Stringer said. “She’s been bringing it.”

Sixth-ranked Baylor beat Boston College 68-55 in the doubleheader opener behind Brittney Griner’s 25 points.

Ray did all she could to help Rutgers pull off the upset. With the Scarlet Knights trailing by five at halftime, she scored 10 of the team’s first 14 points to help Rutgers close to 40-39 with 13:17 left.

“She’s a player,” Summitt said of Rutgers’ senior guard. “She can do it all. She can get to the hole and pull up.”

Tennessee clamped down defensively, holding Rutgers without a point over the next 5 minutes to take a 48-39 lead. Ray finally ended the drought with a layup, but the Scarlet Knights could get no closer.

“We didn’t recover from their run and didn’t bounce back,” Ray said.

This was the seventh straight year the two Hall of Fame coaches, who have a combined 1,845 victories, have met. The teams played twice before at Madison Square Garden almost a decade ago, with Tennessee winning both times.

“Vivian’s team is going to come at you and get in your grill,” Summitt said. “We knew what we were going to get.”

The last two meetings between the Lady Vols and Scarlet Knights were thrillers: Tennessee beat Rutgers on a controversial finish two years ago in Knoxville, and last season, the Scarlet Knights built a 20-point halftime lead only to see the Lady Vols complete the biggest comeback in school history in a 55-51 win.

On Sunday, Tennessee took a 21-7 lead, surpassing its halftime total from last year in the first 6 minutes. Rutgers rallied behind Ray, using a 9-2 spurt to cut it to 30-25 at halftime.

This was the fourth Maggie Dixon Classic in honor of the former Army coach, who died on April 6, 2006, of arrhythmia, likely caused by an enlarged heart. The inaugural Maggie Dixon Classic was held at Army in 2006—a men’s and women’s doubleheader. The Pittsburgh men, coached by Maggie’s brother Jamie, beat Western Michigan, and Ohio State routed Army. The last three have been played at Madison Square Garden.

“This has turned into one of the premier women’s events in the country,” Jamie Dixon said during a pregame ceremony honoring his sister. “She wanted some day to play at Madison Square Garden with her team. Now we have an event in her name.”

Stringer and Lieutenant Colonial Kim Kawamoto were honored before the game as the inaugural recipients of the Maggie Dixon Courage Award.

Lady Vols' Pat Summitt shows she's a winner

By Joe Biddle

This story was passed on by reader Larry Adamson, as it was told to him.

A daughter always took her father to at least one Tennessee football game a year, but it became more difficult when he was in his early 80s. There was the trip by car, getting from a parking lot to the stadium, climbing steps in the stadium, et cetera.

At one particular game, the weather was cold, windy with rain. They all agreed to leave about mid-way through the second half. When they reached the shuttle dropoff area, they learned the shuttle would not be running until after the game ended, and they had parked too far away for her father to walk.

A lady had been walking behind them, also leaving the game early. She overheard their plight and asked if they would like a ride, that her car was close. They accepted. She got her car and pulled up to let them get in. The lady's father got in the front seat next to the driver.

Soon, he asked, "Don't I know you?''

She smiled. "I don't know. Do you?'' He quickly figured it out.

It was Lady Vols basketball legend Pat Summitt.

Arriving at the family car, the elderly gentleman asked if he could have his picture made with Summitt. She didn't hesitate.

That's what makes Pat Summitt a winner on and off the court. Caring for others.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

No. 4 Tennessee faces new task: handling success

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee Lady Volunteers must learn how to manage success after a year of dealing with struggles.

Thanks to a win over Texas, the Lady Vols (7-0) are now No. 4 in the country, their highest ranking in more than a season.

“They’ve just committed. They’re invested,” coach Pat Summitt said. “We had a miserable year to get to where we are now, but it’s paid off.”

Summitt said her players must manage their success by continuing to improve.

Though forward/guard Shekinna Stricklen was named the Southeastern Conference player of the week, Summitt still called the sophomore in to see her in her office Monday, a day after Tennessee’s 78-58 win over Texas.

Stricklen was 6 of 10 from the field, scored 14 points and grabbed six rebounds, but Summitt didn’t like the way she played the point guard position. She didn’t drive the lane enough, and she was looking to often for shooting guard Angie Bjorklund.

“I said, ‘You’ve got to play with everybody,”’ Summitt said. “I went through every possession.”

That kind of nitpicking was a luxury a year ago. Summitt, coaching her youngest team ever, was busy teaching fundamentals and trying to motivate her team.

Summitt doesn’t talk rankings with her players, but there’s no doubt they’re aware of their current success after easily handling No. 17 Texas, a team that beat Tennessee during its disappointing 2008-09 season.

It started with the players’ commitment to their offseason conditioning program. Strength and conditioning coach Heather Mason said it was the most dedicated any Lady Vols team had been in the summer in her seven seasons at Tennessee.

It’s carried over onto the court, where Summitt’s first-ever senior-less team is playing together better and showing maturity.

“It’s just knowing that we’re much better this year than we were last year and just all the time that we put in this summer,” sophomore forward Glory Johnson said. “When everyone brings their A-game and everyone can contribute during a game, then I think our team will be great.”

The season is young and the Lady Vols still have plenty of plenty of challenges ahead, starting Sunday against Rutgers at the Maggie Dixon Classic in New York. They’ll also travel to No. 2 Stanford next week.

Rutgers (6-4) might not be enjoying as much early success as Tennessee is, but Summitt still expects a tough game from Vivian Stringer’s squad.

Last season, Rutgers held Tennessee to only 13 first-half points, but the Lady Vols overcame their 20-point halftime deficit to win 55-51.

Summitt reminded the Lady Vols how much work it took to win that game, just in case they’re in danger of slipping back into their old ways.

“I asked them if they remembered the score at halftime,” Summitt said. “You never knew when they were going to show up or when they were going to play great or give in to fatigue.”

Monday, December 07, 2009

No. 6 Tennessee beats No. 17 Texas 78-58

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Angie Bjorklund remembers Tennessee playing well in the first half against Texas last season before unraveling in the second.

What a difference a year makes.

Bjorklund scored 15 points, and No. 6 Tennessee cruised to a 78-58 victory over No. 17 Texas on Sunday night.

“I just think it shows a lot—how hard we worked in the summer, how having a year of experience under your belt helps,” she said.

A year ago, the teams were tied midway through the second half before Texas went ahead with a 10-1 run, and Tennessee never recovered.

This time, the Lady Volunteers (7-0) grabbed a double-digit lead midway through the first half and never let up against the Longhorns (5-3).

Texas coach Gail Goestenkors said it’s the best she’s seen Tennessee play all season and thinks the difference from last season can be attributed to many different things, including Kelley Cain’s dominance in the post and more confident guard play.

“They just have a better flow this year,” said Goestenkors, who is 6-6 against Tennessee coach Pat Summitt in her time at Texas and Duke. “They seem more confident. They trust themselves more, and they trust each other more.”

Shekinna Stricklen and Glory Johnson both added 14 points for Tennessee, which shot 52.5 percent. Kelley Cain, who missed Tennessee’s win over George Washington on Tuesday night recovering from a concussion, was 6-for-6 from the field for 12 points.

Texas shot only 30 percent from the field, the lowest figure by any Lady Vols’ opponent this season.

A 3-pointer by Stricklen with 7:10 left in the first half capped a 14-2 run, and another 3 by Stricklen sent the Lady Vols into halftime with a 41-24 lead. Tennessee led by at least 20 points for most of the second half.

Brittainey Raven led Texas with 19 points and 11 rebounds.

The Longhorns did best in creating scoring opportunities, getting 17 points off 18 Tennessee turnovers. They struggled with the easier shots, missing six layups in the first half, six layups in the second half and six of 16 free throws.

“If we would have made those shots, we would have won the game,” Raven said.

Texas is one of only six schools to hold multiple victories at Tennessee’s Thompson-Boling Arena after winning at “The Summitt” in 1987, 2002 and 2003. Only Connecticut has more wins—four.

Even with the recent success by Texas and Goestenkors, the Lady Vols lead the all-time series 19-12.

Summitt won’t let her players rest on their laurels, even with a week off to study for exams. Tennessee faces Rutgers Dec. 13 in the Maggie Dixon Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York.

“They’re excited, but this is just one game,” Summitt said. “I expected this game to be closer, but when you play on the road it can be different. It will be different for us.”

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Daedra Charles-Furlow Has Medical Problems

Tennessee assistant coach Daedra Charles-Furlow announced in a release after Tuesday night's 93-53 women's basketball victory over George Washington that she's dealing with medical issues that will impact her duties as the Lady Vols recruiting coordinator.

"It is possible that there may be times when I am unable to travel,'' Charles-Furlow said.

UT coach Pat Summitt said that Charles-Furlow will continue her coaching duties on the bench. Summitt also said in the release that she is designating her special assistant, Stephanie Glance, to help out on a temporary basis.

"Daedra is so passionate about recruiting our student-athletes," Summitt said.

"During the next several months she needs to be focusing on her health."

A former All-American for the Lady Vols, Charles-Furlow joined the Tennessee coaching staff in May of 2008. She replaced Nikki Caldwell, who left to become the head coach at UCLA.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

No. 6 Tennessee beats George Washington 93-53

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — This time, Alyssia Brewer delivered with Kelley Cain sidelined by another injury.

Brewer scored a career-high 23 points, Glory Johnson had 16 points and 12 rebounds and No. 6 Tennessee beat George Washington 93-53 on Tuesday night.

Cain missed much of the Lady Volunteers’ loss to Ball State in the opening round of the NCAA tournament last season after she hurt her knee. Brewer struggled in that one as Tennessee slipped to its worst postseason finish in history.

Cain suffered a concussion Saturday against UCLA, leaving the Lady Vols’ without their starting center against the Colonials. But Brewer finished with a strong effort, helping Tennessee (6-0) dominate inside.

“Last year it was the same scenario against Ball State, and I didn’t step up like I needed to,” Brewer said. “It’s all in my hands if I carry it over or not. I plan on doing that, but I need to stay consistent.”

Brewer got an earful from coach Pat Summitt regularly during practice last season as Tennessee struggled and was pushed hard during the team’s physical offseason conditioning program.

“I think she needed this game,” Johnson said. “Just watching her struggle in practice—sometimes she’ll do good things in practice, but she’ll dwell on the negatives.”

Johnson had a double-double by halftime and rested for much of the second half when Brewer took over. Shekinna Stricklen had 17 points.

“If we can rely on that, along with Kelley and Glory and Taber (Spani) doing some good things in the mix, I feel better about our post game,” Summitt said.

Tennessee led 54-24 at the break and finished with 54 points in the paint.

Kay-Kay Allums led George Washington (2-4) with 16 points. Tiana Myers and Megan Nipe both had 11.

The Colonials dropped to 0-10 against Tennessee, but Allums thought it was a good experience for her team.

“I love playing against the best. To be the best, you’ve got to beat them,” she said.

Like Tennessee, George Washington has been forced to deal with injuries early in the season. The Colonials lost starting point guard Danni Jackson on Friday when she broke her left leg in a 78-47 loss to Michigan State.

“They lose a player, they replace her with another high school All-American,” coach Mike Bozeman said. “I’m proud of the class that my young group came in here and played with.”