Dec. 21, 2004
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - When Stanford tied Tennessee with 5 seconds to go, Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt thought about calling a timeout.
Her decision to let the game continue uninterrupted turned out to be for the best.
Shanna Zolman hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give ninth-ranked Tennessee a 70-67 victory over second-ranked Stanford on Tuesday night.
The Cardinal (8-1) had whittled Tennessee's 11-point lead with 6:51 remaining to 67-64 with 15.8 seconds to go to set up the dramatic finish.
Then Stanford's Kelley Suminski hit a 3 with 5.6 seconds left, and the game appeared on its way to overtime.
But the Lady Vols had another idea. While Summitt contemplated calling a timeout, Zolman was speeding down the middle of the court with the ball.
"Once I saw the ball coming up the floor at a pretty rapid pace, then I just looked the other way," Summitt said.
Zolman threw up the ball from about 25 feet away as the buzzer sounded.
The Lady Vols ran onto the court to celebrate while officials reviewed the play to make sure it counted. They ruled it did, and orange and white streamers fell from the ceiling as Tennessee resumed celebrating.
The Lady Vols handed Stanford its first loss of the season and beat the Cardinal for the ninth straight time.
Stanford hasn't beaten Tennessee since 1996, and each of the last three years the Lady Vols have handed the Cardinal their first loss.
"As hard as it is right now, I think it will pay off big dividends for us down the road," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "It was a great game. Honestly, I think you saw an NCAA tournament game. This is what it is like in the tournament."
Shyra Ely led the Lady Vols with 16 points. Suminski had 21 for Stanford.
Zolman finished with only 5, and the usually lethal long-range shooter was held to just 1-of-2 from beyond the arc.
"I didn't look over to the bench so I didn't know if she was calling timeout or not," Zolman said about the end of the game. "I saw there were 4 seconds left and I was at halfcourt, so I took a couple of dribbles and let it fly. I think Coach said it was the most open shot I had all night."
The frantic ending overshadowed strong defensive efforts by both teams.
"I don't think the numbers the teams put up really reflect the intensity of the defense that both teams played," Summitt said.
Tennessee looked in control after a 15-2 run that gave it a 59-48 lead with 6:51 remaining, but Stanford didn't give up and got back in it with a 9-2 run.
Candice Wiggins got a steal and layup that cut the lead to four points with 4:38 left, and the Cardinal kept the score close. Tennessee couldn't pull away, and Wiggins sank a free throw to cut it to three with 42.6 seconds left.
Wiggins then missed a free throw, and Ely made a pair that appeared to seal it for the Lady Vols with 29.8 seconds left.
But Wiggins scored again to cut the deficit to 67-64, and Tennessee's Brittany Jackson missed two free throws that gave Stanford another chance.
That's when Suminski tied with with her fourth 3-pointer of the game. She was 7-of-17 from the floor and 4-of-8 from long range with three assists and three steals.
"I thought Kelley was the best player on the floor today," VanDerveer said.
Jackson scored all of her points in the second half, including nine during Tennessee's big run after the break.
Wiggins finished with 15 points, T'nae Thiel 11 and Brooke Smith 10 for Stanford.
Tennessee shot only 37 percent (22-of-59) but was 23-of-27 from the free throw line.
Stanford overcame its 13 turnovers in the first half and outscored the Lady Vols 9-0 in the remaining 1:39 to take a 31-29 lead at the break.
The Cardinal finished with 21 turnovers and were 47 percent from the field (26-of-55).