Nov. 12, 2006
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -Tennessee's Candace Parker opened the season by giving the home crowd something new to cheer about.
Parker dunked for the third time in her career during the fifth-ranked Lady Vols' 102-72 victory Sunday over Chattanooga, and the first time in Thompson-Boling Arena. She is the fourth woman to dunk in a college game.
With Tennessee leading Chattanooga 75-43 in the second half, the preseason All-American stole the ball from Brooke Hand near the sideline. Parker dribbled to the other end of the court and slammed it in with her right hand with 16:01 remaining.
"I know that Thompson-Boling has never seen a dunk here at home, so it's great the support we had, and the fans and their excitement and enthusiasm really helped us out tonight," she said.
Parker dunked twice against Army last season in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. Her dunk is the fifth in Lady Vols history.
"I just kind of wanted to come out today and just set the tone. I think we did that both from a defensive end and an offensive end. Hopefully this puts a stamp on it," Parker said.
The Lady Mocs (1-1) were in the game early, but a big run by Tennessee in the first half put the game out of reach. The Lady Vols were hot offensively, shooting 33-of-57 from the field.
Tennessee fans were focusing on the Lady Vols debuting four new players, including junior college transfer Shannon Bobbitt at point guard, when Parker stunned the crowd with the slam.
Parker joins former Tennessee player Michelle Snow, North Carolina's Charlotte Smith and West Virginia's Georgeann Wells as women to dunk in a college game. Snow dunked three times, but never in Thompson-Boling Arena.
"It was probably a good thing to get that over with. I know she wanted to dunk at home for the Lady Vol fans. I'm sure that's the reason she took advantage of the opportunity," Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said.
Said Chattanooga coach Wes Moore: "More power to her. It's good for the game, and obviously she's a special player."
Hand scored 20 for Chattanooga, going 6-of-13 from beyond the 3-point line. The Lady Mocs were 13-of-31 in 3-point shooting.
"I thought our team played hard from the defensive end and really generated a lot of opportunities on the offensive end. I thought they played well together. I liked the overall energy," Summitt said. "Just a great way for us to get started."
The Lady Mocs cut it to 25-19 with 10:55 remaining before halftime. But Parker rebounded her own miss and started a three-point play, and the Lady Vols were off on a 22-2 run. Chattanooga went scoreless for nearly 4 minutes during the run.
Bobbitt had a layup that capped the run and put Tennessee ahead 47-21 with 5:25 remaining before halftime.
Chattanooga had four turnovers in the first minute of the second half, and Tennessee increased its lead to 65-31.
PARKER HAS THIRD CAREER DUNK
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -Tennessee's Candace Parker dunked for the third time in her career on Sunday, and finally Lady Vols fans got to see it at home.
Parker made history in last year's NCAA tournament by dunking twice against Army in the first round. Parker is the fourth woman to dunk in a college game.
Parker got her slam Sunday against Chattanooga in the Lady Vols' season opener.
In the second half with Tennessee leading 75-43, Parker stole the ball from Chattanooga's Brooke Hand. Parker dribbled to the other end of the court and slammed it in with her right hand.
The fans seemed stunned at first and then cheered. Parker pounded her chest and pointed to the crowd.
Parker is the second Lady Vol to dunk but is the first to dunk in Thompson-Boling Arena. Former Lady Vol Michelle Snow dunked three times, in 2000, 2001 and 2002, but all were on the road.
The other female collegiate dunkers were Charlotte Smith of North Carolina (1994) and Georgeann Wells of West Virginia (twice in 1984).