March 4, 2005
By PETE IACOBELLI
AP Sports Writer
GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) - Tennessee gave coach Pat Summitt her 876th career win, tying Kentucky great Adolph Rupp, in a 64-54 victory over Auburn at the Southeastern Conference tournament Friday.
Despite one of their worst shooting performances of the season, the fifth-ranked Lady Vols (24-4) won their 12th straight tournament opener. Summitt needs just three wins to match Dean Smith's all-time leading mark of 879 victories.
Tennessee made only 19-of-67 field goals for 28.4 percent, close to the season-worst 27.8 percent (15 of 54) it shot in a loss to Rutgers in December.
The Lady Vols will play Vanderbilt or Arkansas in Saturday's semifinals, aiming for their first tournament title since 2000.
Tennessee's stars struggled against Auburn (16-13).
The difference was Anosike, the 6-foot-4 newcomer from Staten Island, N.Y.
After Nicole Louden's jumper cut the lead to 48-45, Anosike followed with a three-point play to extend the lead. When Auburn's Natasha Brackett had consecutive drives to make it 51-49, Anosike again converted a three-point play with 4:05 left.
The Lady Tigers could not recover.
Bracket led the Lady Tigers with 18 points and Louden had 15.
Brittany Jackson also had 11 points for Tennessee, which hasn't lost its first SEC tournament game since 1993.
The Lady Vols' shooting problems started early. Only a 13-2 run midway through the opening period put them ahead by the break, 25-21.
Tennessee's five starters made a shot apiece the first 20 minutes, going a combined 5-of-21. Ely was just 1-of-9 in the half.