Nov. 26, 2010
By Zach Stipe, Media Relations Assistant
ST. THOMAS, U.S VIRGIN ISLANDS - Just before the start of the second half on Friday night, the power went off and it took several minutes for the lights to come back on at the University of the Virgin Islands' Sports and Fitness Center. With 11:28 remaining in the contest, they went out again. And again two more times in the second half.
The fourth-ranked Tennessee Lady Volunteer basketball team had already said good night to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets long before the first blackout, however, racing out to a 46-17 halftime lead en route to a 66-42 victory in the "Reef Division" of the Paradise Jam tournament in a game that gave new meaning to "Black Friday."
An island-wide power outage caused delays of 13:32, 11:30, 10:45 and 7:45 for a 43:15-minute total delay.
"At first, I really didn't mind the stoppages in the second half," Lady Vol head coach Pat Summitt said. "It gave us some breaks but it was hard to stay focused when they became more frequent. But what are you going to do? It was happening around the Island."
Relying heavily on its zone defense, Tennessee (6-0) held the Yellow Jackets (3-4) to just one field goal over a 13-minute, 28-second span of the first half and rattled off a 27-2 spurt before the halftime buzzer.
No Yellow Jacket reached double figures in scoring and junior forward Glory Johnson grabbed a career-best 18 boards and scored a game-high 15 points.
"This was one of Glory's better games," Summitt said. "She played hard on both ends of the floor and she was efficient on the glass. Overall, she did a super job. This was a great team win. We had a lot of people step up and contribute. I liked the way our zone looked because everyone was active and helped out."
Tennessee led 12-11 before junior point guard Shekinna Stricklen blocked a Tyuanna Marshall layup, grabbed the rebound, pushed the ball past half court and pulled up for a three-pointer to spark the 27-2 run.
Freshman Meighan Simmons continued her stellar start, scoring 14 points. She has started her career by reaching double figures in all six games. Tennessee held the Yellow Jackets to just 30.4 percent shooting and 11.1 percent from three in the first half.
Neither team drew much iron in a second half that was choppy because of delays.
Still Johnson and the Lady Vols were in high spirits after another blowout victory, having opened the tournament with an 82-44 win over Missouri on Thursday night.
"The blackouts were rough, but at the same time I'm in the Virgin Islands," Johnson said. "I'll take a couple blackouts to play in the Virgin Islands any day."
UT wraps up the tournament at 8 p.m. Saturday against No. 12/13 Georgetown.