Jan. 4, 2006
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Tye'sha Fluker had 14 of her 18 points in the second half to lead No. 1 Tennessee to its 32nd straight win over South Carolina, 66-51 Wednesday night.
Fluker, a senior reserve, matched her career high for the Lady Vols (14-0), who opened the Southeastern Conference season with a win for the 10th consecutive season.
South Carolina (9-4) had come in with the league's top-field goal defense, a seven-game win streak of its own and legitimate hopes of topping Tennessee for the first time since 1980.
The Lady Vols led just 25-24 a minute into the second half when Fluker got going with her own 9-0 run. She had back-to-back baskets to extend the lead to 29-24, then made a three-point play and put back Parker's miss.
The Gamecocks seemed to lose steam after that. By the time Shanna Zolman hit her second straight 3-pointer, Tennessee was up 42-31 with 13:18 left.
Fluker's basket midway through the half increased the lead to 52-36.
Fluker hit 8 of 11 shots to tie her career-best game, which she set against Auburn last year and matched in Tennessee's NCAA tournament game against Purdue last March. She also added six rebounds and three steals.
A question coming in was whether Parker would dunk, as former Lady Vols star Michelle Snow did in Columbia four years ago. However, Parker had enough trouble getting any shots to go at all, finishing 4-for- 10 for 10 points and nine rebounds.
Lauren Simms led South Carolina with 16 points.
Tennessee didn't look like the country's best team early on. The Lady Vols had eight turnovers in the first 9 minutes and the Gamecocks, after Lakesha Tolliver's consecutive baskets, led 17-9.
But Tennessee found itself and closed the half with a 16-4 run to lead 25-21 at the break.
Sidney Spencer had two 3-pointers and the Lady Vols turned up their defense - South Carolina was just 2 of 13 shooting and had five turnovers during Tennessee's charge.