Sunday, January 30, 2011

Lady Vols 72 - Arkansas 53

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Shekinna Stricklen matched her career-high of 26 points to lift No. 5 Tennessee to a 72-53 win over Arkansas on Sunday.

Stricklen, from Morrilton, Ark., matched her season high of 18 points in the first half to help the Lady Volunteers (21-2, 9-0 Southeastern Conference) win their 12th straight after an overtime loss at Baylor on Dec. 14.

Tennessee led 39-27 at halftime, sparked by an 8-0 run to close out the period. Stricklen capped the first-half scoring with her fourth 3-pointer, during which the Lady Volunteers were 7 of 14 from behind the arc. They finished 9 of 18 on 3s, with Stricklen connecting on six.

Arkansas (16-5, 4-5) opened the second half with a 10-2 run to close within 41-37. Sarah Watkins had five of her 15 points during the spurt, but the Razorbacks couldn’t stick with Tennessee largely because they couldn’t hang tough on the glass. They were outrebounded 42-23.

After falling out of the rankings last week, Arkansas rebounded Thursday with a win at LSU. The Razorbacks played like that team early against the Lady Volunteers, much like they did earlier this season during home wins over then No. 12 Oklahoma and No. 10 Kentucky.

Arkansas led 10-8 early after an inside basket by Watkins, who finished with eight points in the first half. Tennessee took the lead for good at 13-10 after a 3-pointer by Taber Spani, but the Razorbacks stayed close for much of the rest of the half.

Lyndsay Harris pulled Arkansas to within 31-27 late in the half with a layup, but the Lady Volunteers finished with a flourish. Spani, who finished with 18 points, hit a 3-pointer with 2:13 remaining in the half and she followed that with another jumper 25 seconds later.

Stricklen then added her 3-pointer to close out the half and put Tennessee up 39-27.

After Arkansas’ run to open the second half, Spani started a 9-0 Tennessee run with a pair of free throws to put the Lady Volunteers comfortably back up 50-37.

Glory Johnson, who finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds, had a pair of baskets during the run and Tennessee led by double digits the remainder of the game.

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