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Bjorklund, Stricklen Lead Lady Vols Past No. 12 Virginia



Nov. 22, 2009

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Associated Press

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- A record crowd at Virginia was nothing unusual for Tennessee (No. 5 ESPN/USA Today, No. 6 AP) to face, and with Angie Bjorklund getting her shooting stroke working, the Lady Vols rolled 77-63 on Sunday.

Bjorklund scored 24 points and hit the biggest shot of the game, a 3-pointer early in the second half to halt a rally by the 12th-ranked Cavaliers. It also quieted the crowd of 11,895 that was lured in by a promotion designed to set a new attendance mark for the women's program, and provide a boost for the underdog Cavaliers.

Bjorklund's shot with 18:14 left came after Virginia came close to within 42-39, and she was fouled and completed the four-point play. When Taber Spani followed with a 3-pointer, the Lady Vols' lead was back to 10.

Tennessee (3-0) avenged a loss on its own home floor to Virginia last season, and coach Pat Summitt said early on, Bjorklund seemed to be trying to do too much. She missed the loss with back problems.

"At first she was trying to do it all in about the first four minutes," Summitt said. "But she settled down after that. She played with a lot of confidence."

Playing for only the second time in Charlottesville, Tennessee led 40-33 at halftime and pulled away after the Cavaliers (3-1) made their burst. Virginia got no closer than seven the rest of the way.

Bjorklund had a lot to do with it.

"She tore it up tonight. She was just so hot. It was hard to stop her," Monica Wright said.

Shekinna Stricklen added 20 points and Glory Johnson 14 for Tennessee, now 12-2 against Virginia.

Wright, a pre-season All-American, led Virginia with 21 points, but made just 8 of 21 shots. A year ago, she scored 35 as the Cavaliers won 83-82 before 11,627 fans as Thompson-Boling Arena.

"We were making sure that never, ever, ever happened again," Johnson said.

Chelsea Shine, coming off a 27-point effort in a victory against South Carolina Upstate, had her first shot blocked by 6-foot-6 Kelley Cain and never seemed to recover. She scored three on 1-for-6 shooting.

"I think she seemed a little bit timid and easy shots she was missing," coach Debbie Ryan said.

Summitt said it's nothing new to see Cain make an early impression on defense.

"I think Kelley's presence definitely had an impact and has had an impact in every game," she said after Cain had six points, six rebounds and six blocks. "She this year is healthy, but she's also a lot smarter in not taking herself out of position and going for every block."

Ariana Moorer scored 12 for the Cavaliers and Simone Egwu had 10.

The Lady Vols used an early 24-9 run to open a 26-15 lead. Stricklen had eight points in the spurt, and Cain blocked three shots and altered several others.

Tennessee built its lead as high as 13 on several ocassions, but Wright and Moorer hit 3-pointers and Whitny Edwards had a jumper in an 8-2 run for Virginia to end the half.

The game was billed as Hot Dog Day, with every fan receiving a voucher for a free hot dog and drink as part of a promotion to draw the largest crowd in program history. The previous mark of 11,174 was set Feb. 5, 1986, also a Hot Dog Day, when Virginia played North Carolina at its old arena.

 

 

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