Jan. 27, 2005
By PETE IACOBELLI
AP Sports Writer
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Fifth-ranked Tennessee beat South Carolina for the 30th straight time, getting 16 points from Shyra Ely in a 68-53 victory Thursday night.
The Lady Vols haven't lost to the Gamecocks since a 56-52 defeat on Jan. 23, 1980 - when Jimmy Carter was in The White House. Tennessee has won by an average of 33.3 points during the streak, but struggled some this time.
It took until the final 10 minutes for Tennessee (15-3, 5-0 Southeastern Conference) to wear down South Carolina (6-14, 0-6).
Stacy Booker hit a long 3-pointer that put South Carolina ahead 37-36 with 13:54 remaining. That's when Ely fueled a 16-2 run to take control.
She put back a missed shot, was fouled and converted the free throw to give Tennessee the lead for good. She followed with a short jumper and a wide-open 3-pointer for a 44-37 lead. After Nicky Nosike's inside basket, Shanna Zolman ended South Carolina's upset bid with consecutive 3-pointers.
When Zolman's second long-range shot swished through, the Lady Vols were ahead 52-39 with 8:14 left.
Besides the dominating run over South Carolina, the Lady Vols have won their last 39 SEC regular-season games dating to February 2002.
The Lady Vols missed nine of their first 12 shots and committed nine turnovers in falling behind 19-11 on Lea Fabri's 3-pointer with 9:47 to go.
Even after an 11-0 run put Tennessee back in front, the Gamecocks wouldn't fold. But South Carolina couldn't hang on all night against the more experienced Lady Vols.
While Ely was leading the decisive run, the Gamecocks went 0-for-4 from the field and 0-for-3 on free throws.
Iva Sliskovic had 14 points and eight rebounds to lead the Gamecocks.