Dec. 2, 2008
WASHINGTON (AP) -- One of these days, George Washington might finally pull off that upset of Tennessee. It sure looked possible Tuesday night, when Jazmine Adair had an easy layup that would have tied the score with 4 minutes to play.
She missed. A foul during the scramble for the rebound sent Tennessee to the line, and the No. 7 Lady Vols finished the game with a 15-5 run to hold on for a 71-59 victory.
"I actually saw it rolling down her hand," GW coach Mike Bozeman said. "I said, 'Wow.' I'm thinking before she shoots it she's going to miss it. I was hoping she'd grab it back. I was hoping for a rebound at that point -- she almost got it.
"That hurts right there. Shoot, that took a little air out of me. I know it took some out of the team. ... I don't know how many opportunities we'll have to be down two points and have a layup to tie it."
Nine times GW and Tennessee have played, and nine times the Lady Vols have won. The average margin of victory was 21.1 points before Tuesday night, and the 12-point loss is as close as the Colonials have come. That's the difference between a program that is a solid contender every year to make the NCAA tournament and one that is always a threat to win the NCAA title.
"It definitely hurts," GW senior Antelia Parrish said, "to see how close it was."
Tennessee (6-1) won by dominating the glass, compensating for poor shooting and ball handling. The Lady Vols shot only 35 percent and committed 19 turnovers, but they outrebounded the Colonials 51-35, including 25-11 on the offensive boards. The two-time defending NCAA champs, retooling with a young roster, won their fifth straight and snapped GW's 17-game homecourt winning streak.
"This was a tough game," Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said. "We expected that. I expected to get a little bit more from our bench play. We're young, and some of our freshmen played very young tonight."
So much so that Summitt cut the playing time for some of the freshmen in the second half and gave them a stern lecture after the game.
"What really bothers me is when I see what they do in practice, and then they go out on the court and they don't bring it," Summitt said. "You never do that to your team, to the fans, to the program, to your coaches -- it's stressful on me. I let them know after the game how I felt about it, and I'm not going to change. ... And I know that's youth. And I need to have more patience. Tonight I didn't have a lot of patience."
Tara Booker scored 14 to lead the Colonials (4-3). Jessica Adair, GW's second-leading scorer on the season, scored six points and fouled out with 3:58 to play. GW shot 44 percent and had 21 turnovers.
"We came into the Tennessee game not wishing that we could win," said first-year coach Bozeman, a GW assistant for three years under recently departed Joe McKeown. "We came into the Tennessee game really believing that there was an opportunity for us to pull what would be a big upset. We fully believed we could win."