Feb. 25, 2009
|February 26, 2009 - 9:00 p.m. ET|
Pete Maravich Assembly Ctr. (13,468) - Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The #18/23-ranked Tennessee Lady Vols (19-8, 8-4 SEC) will be fi ghting not to play on the fi rst day in the SEC Tournament when they visit the LSU Lady Tigers (15-9, 8-4 SEC) on "Senior Night" at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on Thurs., Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. CT. Both teams are deadlocked in the fourth position in the SEC league standings with identical 8-4 records and at stake is a fi rst round bye in the SEC tournament next week.
LADY VOLS AT A GLANCE
This is the Lady Vols' 35th season under Head Coach Pat Summitt...She has compiled a staggering 1,002-190 overall record... Registered her record-breaking 1,000th win over Georgia, 73-43, on Feb. 3, 2008 in Knoxville... Collected her 900th coaching win with a 80-68 decision over #19-ranked Vanderbilt on Jan. 19, 2006... She passed Dean Smith (879 wins) for most NCAA collegiate basketball wins of all-time with a 75-54 victory over Purdue on Mar. 22, 2005 ...Her 2006-07 and 2007-08 squads were crowned as the NCAA Champions producing the program's seventh and eighth titles...Last season, UT fi nished with a 36-2 overall record and were also the SEC Tournament Champions... This year, UT returned fi ve letterwinners, a redshirt freshman and welcomed a talented six-pack rookie class...The Lady Vols sport the youngest team and starting line-up in Summitt's 35 seasons at the helm...
OUR SCHEDULE THIS WEEK
The Lady Vols wrap up the last week of the regular season with two key SEC "must win" games on the slate. Tennessee travels to face LSU on Thurs., Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. CT in an FS-South telecast. The Lady Vols return home for a rematch with #19/21-ranked Vanderbilt on Sunday, Mar. 1 at 7 p.m. in Thompson-Boling Arena. The "Senior Night" game will honor Alex Fuller as ESPN2 has the telecast.
ON THIS DAY IN LADY VOL BASKETBALL HISTORY
UT is 8-6 all-time on Feb. 26, with an 3-5 mark in Knoxville, a 2-1 record on the road and a 3-0 slate on neutral courts. The last time the Lady Vols were in action on Feb. 26, UT dropped a 95-93 overtime decision to Florida in Knoxville on Senior Night 2006. The six losses on this date are the most losses of any date on the all-time Lady Vol schedule from November thru April.
Last year at this time, the #3/3-ranked Lady Vols were 25-2 (11-1 SEC) on the campaign after defeating Mississippi State, 72-46, in Knoxville.
LADY VOLS ON TV
Twenty-two Lady Vol regular season games are slated for television this season. Upcoming TV games include: LSU (FS-South) and Vanderbilt (ESPN2). Last season, UT had a school record 36 national television appearances. UT is 12-8 in TV games this year.
SEE YOU IN LITTLE ROCK
Depending what happens between Tennessee and LSU, the positioning for the SEC bracket probably will not be known until the conclusion of the UT-Vanderbilt game on Sunday, Mar. 1 following the 7 p.m. tip-off in Knoxville. The SEC Tournament will be held in North Little Rock, Ark., Mar. 5-8.
20 WIN SEASONS
With a victory over LSU, Tennessee will reach at least 20 wins in a season under Coach Pat Summitt for the 33rd consecutive time. Despite the 19-8 overall record, this Lady Vol team is still ahead of several other former UT teams who struggled to record 20 wins in a season. The 1984-85 team achieved 20 wins on Mar.3, 1985; the 1980-81 team picked up the 20th win on Mar. 10, 1981; the 1981-82 squad logged its 20th win on Mar. 13, 1982 and the 1983-84 squad picked up win number 20 on Mar. 17, 1984. With the exception of the 1984-85 three ACL injury-plagued team, the other squads advanced to the Final Four.
BAUGH HAS SURGERY
Jenny Moshak, University of Tennessee Associate Athletics Director for Sports Medicine, announced on Feb. 24 that Lady Vol basketball sophomore forward Vicki Baugh had undergone successful knee surgery at the UT Medical Center. "The surgery addressed the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) revision and repaired the medial meniscus tear of her knee," said Moshak. Baugh, a 6-4 sophomore from Sacramento, Cal., injured the knee on Feb. 2, 2009, in an 80-70 loss at #2-ranked Oklahoma. The injury occurred during the second half as Baugh was helping her Lady Vol team rally against the Sooners. A key member of the 2008-09 team, she had seen very limited action since suffering a sprain of the knee in practice on Jan. 1 in preparation for the game at Rutgers. This season, she played in 14 games and started 10. She was averaging 6.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg prior to the injury. This is Baugh's second ACL injury. Last season, in the NCAA title game versus Stanford (with a little more than seven minutes to play), Baugh's slashing-through-thekey lay-up gave the Lady Vols a double-digit lead (55-44) that they would not relinquish down the stretch en route to NCAA Championship number eight. Unfortunately for Baugh, that was the play when the injury occurred to her left knee. On April 11, 2008, an MRI confi rmed that Baugh had torn her ACL and she had surgery on May 13, 2008. This season, she started out as the best rebounder on the team registering double-digit boards. She picked up three double-doubles and was emerging as a force in the pivot. Prior to suffering a knee sprain before the game at Rutgers, she was coming off one of the best performances of her career with a 12 point and 15 rebound outing at Gonzaga.
SUMMING IT UP... THE ROAD TO 1,000 WINS WHAT A CELEBRATION!
To celebrate the 1,000 win milestone Coach Pat Summitt was surprised with the following: a $200,000 bonus for 1,000 career wins; a roast and toast event this Spring-- a night of "A Night of 1,000 Stories." It will be an event to celebrate all of the Lady Vol basketball players and coaches who have helped make the 1,000 victories possible; a star on the Knoxville River Walk; a commemorative plaque from the SEC; the game ball; an original Robert Tino painting celebrating the 1,000 win accomplishment and a little BLING -- a one-of-a-kind bracelet and matching necklace commemorating her 1000th victory.
1,000 WINS IN THE RECORD BOOKS -- WHO IS CHASING SUMMITT?
Pat Summitt stands with dear friend and active coach Don Meyer (909-306, .749; Northern State, NCAA Div. II, record as of Feb. 24),retired Bob Knight (902-317, .706) of Texas Tech, and Jody Conradt (900-307, .746) of Texas, on the 900-victory plateau among all NCAA coaches*. In reaching such an elite level, she passed a handful of legendary coaches - Dean Smith (879-254, .776), Adolph Rupp (876-190, .822), Herb Magee (876-344, .718; still active at Philadelphia Univ., NCAA Div. II, record as of Feb. 25), Jim Phelan (830- 524, .613), Clarence Gaines (828-447, .649) and Jerry Johnson (821-447, .647). *Feb. 25, 2009 (Gene Bess of NJCAA's Three Rivers Community College, Poplar Bluff, Mo., is still active with a 1080-282 record; Harry Statham of NAIA's McKendree College, Lebanon, Ill., is still active with a 990-379 record).
THIS IS AMAZING
From 1980-1997, the Lady Vols claimed a total of six SEC regular season titles in 17 years. From 1998- 2004, Tennessee captured seven consecutive SEC regular season crowns producing an amazing 109-4 record. UT's only league losses were to Vandy, Georgia and LSU (twice) during this stretch.
EIGHT WAS GREAT
Over the years, eight Lady Vols teams have gone undefeated in SEC play: 1993, `94, `95, `98, 2001, `03, `04 and `07.
UT WINNING STREAKS VS. SEC TEAMS
School Streak and last loss
LADY VOLS FEELING (BIG) BLUE
On "Pink Zone" night in Lexington, Kentucky packed 6,868 fans into Memorial Coliseum and the Wildcats grabbed their fi rst win over the Lady Vols in Memorial since 1986. UT had won 28 of the previous 29 meetings with UK.
AUBURN GRABS BIG WIN OVER UT
Auburn, playing in front of the largest crowd in history (12,067), put an end to Tennessee's dominance with a 82-68 win on Jan. 25. The Tigers had lost 24 of the last 25 and 16 in a row to the Lady Vols.
VANDY STOPPED THE BLEEDING, TOO
The Vanderbilt Commodores halted the Lady Vols 16-game winning streak against them dating back to the 2002 season with a 74-58 dusting of Tennessee in Nashville on Jan. 11, 2009, in the fi rst SEC road game of the year. It also marked VU coach Melanie Balcomb's fi rst victory over Tennessee since becoming the Commodore coach.
RARE SEC ROAD LOSSES FOR SUMMITT
Lady Vol coach Pat Summitt's teams rarely lose on the road in the SEC. The loss to Vanderbilt on Jan. 11, 2009 was the 30th SEC road loss suffered by a Summitt-coached Lady Vol team and halted a 17-game SEC road winning streak. Two weeks later, UT also lost, this time at #6/5 Auburn and two weeks after that #11/13 Florida defeated the Lady Vols. Add another two weeks and another SEC road loss for UT, this time a 66-56 decision a the hands of the Kentucky Wildcats.
AMAZING AT HOME VS. THE SEC
Since Tennessee began contesting games with SEC opponents, the Lady Vols have produced a 169-12 record in home games. Only six SEC teams have ever managed a victory over the Lady Vols in Knoxville - Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU and Ole Miss. Georgia has won three games on UT's turf while Auburn, Kentucky, Ole Miss and LSU have registered two wins each and Florida one win. Georgia was the only team to defeat UT at home in the 1990s (1991 & 1996). LSU and Florida are the only SEC teams to defeat UT at home in the 21st century.
SEC ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Tennessee freshman Shekinna Stricklen (Morrilton, Ark.) was named SEC Freshman of the Week (Dec. 29-Jan. 3) for the second time this season, after helping the Lady Vols to a pair of wins over Gonzaga, 77- 58, and the come-from-behind win at Rutgers, 55-51. The rookie scored 12 points and grabbed six boards, while dishing out a career-high fi ve assists and making four steals in the win over the Bulldogs on Dec. 30. On Jan. 3 against Rutgers, Stricklen notched her fi rst career double-double with team-highs of 16 points and 11 rebounds and was named the CBS Chevrolet Player of the Game after leading the Lady Vols to a 20-point comeback win, the largest in school history. Additionally, Stricklen was named SEC Freshman of the Week (Dec. 15-22) for the fi rst time this season, after leading the Lady Vols to a 79-69 upset overtime win over #3/4-ranked Stanford on Dec. 21. After missing the game at Old Dominion on Dec. 18 due to illness, the rookie came back strong to lead the Lady Vols over the Cardinal. She scored a career high 25 points including the fi rst eight of the Lady Vols 11 points in overtime. For good measure, she grabbed seven rebounds, snagged three steals and registered a career high four assists.
GLORY BE -- SEC ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Lady Vol rookie Glory Johnson has picked up SEC Rookie of the Week honors twice this season. She received the award for the week of Nov. 23-30 after leading the Lady Vols to wins over Western Carolina (83-56) and DePaul (88-67). In each game, she scored a season-high 19 points. Johnson was also named SEC Freshman of the Week for the opening week of the new campaign after leading UT to a 68-39 win over San Francisco with 17 points and 12 rebounds.
SEC COACHES SELECT LADY VOLS AS #2
Vanderbilt was predicted to win the SEC women's basketball regular season championship. The Commodores were 25-9, 11-3 in the SEC last season. VU tops the order of fi nish with Tennessee, Auburn, Georgia, LSU and Florida rounding out the top half of the league. Kentucky comes in at seven while Mississippi St., Ole Miss, South Carolina, Arkansas and Alabama round out the bottom half of the conference. Auburn senior guard DeWanna Bonner was named SEC Preseason Player of the Year while three Lady Vols were selected to either the fi rst or second teams.. Joining Bonner, on the All- SEC First Team were UF's Marshae Dotson and Sha Brooks, UGA's Ashley Houts, LSU's Allison Hightower, Ole Miss' Shawn Goff, UT's Angie Bjorklund, and VU's Christina Wirth. Second team: AU's Whitney Boddie and Sherell Hobbs, UGA's Angel Robinson, UK's Victoria Dunlap, MSU's Marneshia Richard, USC's Demetress Adams, Tennessee's Vicki Baugh and Shekinna Stricklen, and VU's Jennifer Risper.
UT PICKED NUMBER TWO AT SEC MEDIA DAYS
Tennessee was picked to fi nish second in the SEC race with 261 points by a vote of conference and national media members. UT sophomore Angie Bjorklund and freshman Shekinna Stricklen were each selected to the All-SEC Second Team. Vanderbilt was picked to fi nish fi rst with 273 points, followed by UT, Auburn, Georgia, and LSU. Auburn's DeWanna Bonner was tabbed as Player of the Year. Joining her on the All- SEC First Team was Vanderbilt's Christina Wirth, Florida's Marshae Dotson, Georgia's Ashley Houts and Ole Miss' Shawn Goff. Bjorklund, the 2007-08 SEC Freshman of the Year and Stricklen, were joined on the second team by Whitney Boddie of Auburn, Sha Brooks of Florida, Angel Robinson of Georgia and Allison Hightower of LSU.
AGAINST THE SEC
Tennessee owns a 406-63 record all-time record vs. 12 teams from the SEC. UT maintains a winning record against every team in the SEC. SEC LEAGUE PLAY UT owns a league best record of 278-38 (.879) against all SEC teams dating back to the 1982-83 season.
SEC REGULAR SEASON STORY
UT's last SEC win at home:
15 SEASONS OF AT LEAST 10 SEC WINS
In the win over Alabama on Feb. 21, 2008, Tennessee claimed its 10th SEC victory of the 2007-08 season. The Lady Vols have now registered double-digit victories in conference play an incredible 15 times. Since the 1991-92 season when SEC play expanded, the Lady Vols have won at least 10 games in the following years: 1992-10 wins, 1993-11 wins, 1994-11 wins, 1995-11 wins, 1998-14 wins, 1999-13 wins, 2000-13 wins, 2001- 14 wins, 2002- 13 wins, 2003- 14 wins, 2004-14 wins, 2005- 13 wins, 2006-11 wins, 2007- 14 wins and 2008-13 wins.
The Lady Vols will face Kentucky and Mississippi State twice again this season and Vanderbilt twice as the "natural rival" in SEC play.
THE 4-1-1 ON LOUISIANA STATE
In the last outing before facing Tennessee, LSU's Allison Hightower tossed in 18 of her 20 points in the second half and blocked a potential game-winning shot in the fi nal ticks as the Lady Tigers held off Kentucky, 57-56, on Feb. 22 in Baton Rouge to win its third straight game. Despite the absence of UK leading scorer, senior center Eleia Roddy (due to illness), the Wildcats erased a double-digit defi cit and nearly pulled the upset with a lastsecond 3-point shot by Carly Morrow that was blocked by Hightower. LSU held a comfortable 53-42 lead with 4:36 to play, but late turnovers and poor free throw shooting allowed the Wildcats to claw back into the contest. Hightower fi nished 7-of-15 from the fl oor for her 12th consecutive game in double-fi gures. The Lady Tigers took a 26- 20 lead into the locker room and built that advantage to 39-29 with 11:30 in the second half. Hightower's 3-pointer - her fi rst in 13 games - put LSU up 48-39 with 6:23 remaining. Her ensuing jumper gave the Lady Tigers their largest lead, 51-39, before the Wildcats made their run. LSU held Kentucky to 37.5 percent (18-of-46) shooting for the game, while the Lady Tigers fi nished 48.9 percent (22-of-45) from the fl oor. LSU was just 11-of-21 from the free throw line and was outrebounded, 39-27.
THREESIES IN 2007-08
Tennessee and LSU had three epic battles last season. After jumping out to a 21-2 lead, UT folded like a chair and LSU pounded the top ranked Lady Vols, 78-62, in the regular season game in Knoxville. Tennessee then gutted out a 61-55 SEC Championship game win and followed that with a last gasp putback bucket in the Final Four semis to eek out a 47-46 win and a 2-1 record over the Lady Tigers.
LAST MEETING BETWEEN UT AND LSU
At Tennessee's record 18th NCAA Final Four and with points in short supply, Alexis Hornbuckle made her only two count. It was just enough to put the defending champion Lady Vols back into the title game at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Fla.. Hornbuckle's putback with seven-tenths of a second left lifted the Lady Vols to a 47-46 victory over LSU in the national semifi nal on April 6, 2008. It was the lowest scoring game in Final Four history. Candace Parker did all she could with her bum shoulder, scoring 13 points and grabbing 15 rebounds to lead UT. Tennessee clung to a 45- 44 lead with 7.1 seconds left when Hornbuckle fouled LSU's Erica White on the sideline. The senior calmly stepped up and hit both free throws to give LSU a onepoint lead. After a timeout, Parker drove the length of the court and passed the ball to Nicky Anosike, who missed a layup. But Hornbuckle came from no where... grabbed the rebound and put it back up and in to give Tennessee the one-point lead -- and the eventual win. LSU had one last chance, but its inbounds pass with 0.7 left was intercepted at midcourt, and Tennessee celebrated its hard-fought victory. After Parker's scoring spurt gave the Lady Vols a 19-11 lead with 5:39 left in the half, LSU closed with a 7-3 run at the intermission to make it 22-18. It was the lowest scoring half in Final Four history. The 18 points by LSU broke the record for futility the Lady Tigers set last season, when they had 19 in the fi rst half against Rutgers. LSU scored the fi rst fi ve points of the second half to take a 25-24 lead -- its fi rst since midway through the fi rst half. UT answered with a 12-2 run as Shannon Bobbitt hit two treys to give UT a 37-27 lead with 11:15 left. LSU came right back scoring the next 10 points to tie it at 37. After Quianna Chaney drove the length of the court to give LSU a 45-44 lead, Alberta Auguste then missed a jumper from the corner that White rebounded to set up the fantastic fi nish. It was the fi rst time since a 69-46 loss to Louisiana Tech on March 26, 1982, that Tennessee failed to reach 50 points in a game.
LAST REGULAR SEASON MEETING
Three days after an emotional win and controversial fi nish in the Rutgers game, seventh-ranked Louisiana State grabbed the SEC regular season lead with a 78-62 win over top-ranked Tennessee on Feb. 14, 2008 in Knoxville. Sylvia Fowles led a balanced offensive attack for the Lady Tigers, who had six scorers reach double fi gures, including Fowles with 17 points. Tennessee jumped out to a 21-2 lead on an Angie Bjorklund three-pointer with 13:17 left in the fi rst half as LSU hit only two fi eld goals and a free throw in the fi rst eight minutes while missing 14 shots. LSU chipped away at the margin with fi ve three-pointers and took a 30-29 but UT would lead at the break, 33-30. After losing the 19 point fi rst-half lead, Tennessee allowed LSU to shoot 60 percent during the second half as, the Lady Vols managed just two fi eld goals in the fi rst eight minutes of the second period and shot 28.6 percent for the half. The purple and gold took advantage of 17 Tennessee fouls in the second half, sinking 17 of 26 at the line. LSU forced 15 steals and capitalized with 25 points off 19 turnovers by the Lady Vols. Candace Parker led Tennessee with 26 points and 10 rebounds, while Nicky Anosike had 10 points and 12 rebounds. Parker added a career-high six steals as well. It was Tennessee's worst loss since it fell, 75-53, at Duke on Jan. 23, 2006. The Lady Vols lost at home for the fi rst time since a 74-70 loss to Duke on Jan. 22, 2007 and suffered their worst home loss since dropping an 82-65 decision to then-No.1 Stanford on Dec. 15, 1996. The defeat also tied for the worst home SEC loss ever, with the Feb. 2, 1985 loss to No. 5 Georgia (72-56).
THE UT-LSU SERIES
Tennessee leads 37-11
This marks the 49th meeting between the two schools dating back to the 1977-78 season with UT holding a 37-11 advantage. The two teams began the series at the 1977 Miss. Univ. for Women Xmas Tournament and have played every year since that time. The 11 LSU wins have occurred in the following fashion: Win 1- in 1978, the Lady Tigers took a 72-62 win in Baton Rouge; Win 2-in 1979, LSU claimed an 85-80 OT win at home in a shortened, Dale Brown-inspired running clock overtime; Win 3-in 1991, LSU won the SEC Tourney with an 80-75 win over UT; Win 4-in the fi nal 1997 regular season game in Baton Rouge, Sue Gunter grabbed her then-second win (ever) over UT, 83-78; Win 5-in 1999, LSU upset #1 UT 72-69 in the fi nal game of the regular season, Win 6- in 2002, unranked LSU bounces #3 UT out of the SECs, 81-80, win 7-LSU outlasts UT in the 2003 SEC Final, 78-62, win 8- In 2005, LSU beats UT in Baton Rouge, 68-58, in front of the largest women's crowd ever at the PMAC and wins the SEC regular season title, win 9--LSU fi nally defeats the Lady Vols in Knoxville for the fi rst time ever, 72- 69, win 10--LSU takes UT out in the SEC tourney semis, 63-54 and win 11--LSU claims second win ever in Knoxville with inspired 78-62 victory after falling behind by 19 points
THE LINE-UP CAROUSEL
Lady Vol coach Pat Summitt started her 11th different line-up of the season in the win over Mississippi State in Knoxville. There has been no "common denominator" player to start in all 27 games. Freshman forward Glory Johnson started 23 consecutive games before being replaced by RS-freshman Kelley Cain. Johnson missed two starts but has returned to the starting rotation. In the last two NCAA title years, UT utilized fi ve different line-ups in 2008 and only four line-ups in 2007. Summitt changed the starters seven times in 2006 and a whopping 10 times in 2005. In that 2004-05 fruit-basket turnover line-up, there was no common denominator player for the fi rst time in fi ve years, either.
UT'S OFFENSIVE OPPORTUNITIES
In all games, this is how Tennessee has shot from the fi eld: 60% FG: none; 50%FG: Miss. St. 2 (.518), MTSU (.517), Gonzaga (.500); 40%FG: WCU (.475), Auburn (.473), Georgia (.456), Alabama (.451), Arkansas (.448), Oklahoma (.429), South Carolina (.429), LaTech (.429), DePaul (.427), Virginia (.413), Stanford (.403), San Francisco (.400), Rutgers (.400); 30%FG: Vandy1 (.393),ODU (.386), Fla. (.368), KY1 (.361), GWU (.353), Ole Miss (.351), KY2 (.350), UT-Chattanooga (.344), Miss St. (.339), Texas (.333), Duke (.321); 20%FG: none.
DEEE ----- FENSE
In all games, this is how the opposition has shot from the fi eld: 50%FG: Oklahoma (.534), Virginia (.500), 40%FG: Auburn (.482), Vandy1 (.462), KY1 (.455), KY2 (.444), Alabama (.419), Duke (.418), MTSU (.412), Arkansas (.404), GWU (.404), Rutgers (.404); 30%FG: ODU (.385), South Carolina (.379), Ole Miss (.375), De- Paul (.373), Gonzaga (.371), Fla. (.370), Texas (.369), UT-Chattanooga (.365), Miss. St. (.362), Stanford (.362), Georgia (.354), Miss. St. 2 (.352)LaTech (.313), 20%FG: WCU (.298); 10%FG: San Francisco (.186)
2008-09 WON-LOSS DIFFERENTIAL
Wins: +35 (1), +30 (1), +29 (2), +27 (1), +21 (1), +19 (2),
+14 (1), +12 (2), + 10 (1), +9 (1), +7 (1), +5 (2), +4 (1)
+3 (1), +1 (1)
For quite a few years, UT dominated LSU winning 29 of 34 games between 1977 and 2002. Over the past few seasons, the LSU-UT series has grown into the SEC's most anticipated match-up. The Lady Vols went 1-1 against LSU in 2004-05 and 2005-06 losing the regular season and winning the SEC Tournament title. In 2007, the opposite occurred as UT defeated the Lady Tigers in Baton, Rouge, 56-51 and lost in the SEC tourney semis, 63-54. It was UT's fi nal loss of 2007 en route to the NCAA title. Last year, the teams squared off three times with LSU winning in Knoxville during the regular season and UT taking the SEC title and the NCAA Final Four semi meeting.
HAILING FROM THE PELICAN STATE
Former Lady Vol Alberta Auguste is the only UT player to don the Orange and White from the state of Louisiana. Auguste, a JC transfer and a native of Marrero, played at Rocky Top from 2006-08.
Outside of SEC play, LSU and Tennessee have played two common opponents this season. Tennessee defeated Louisiana Tech 94-59 in Knoxville on Nov. 23 and LSU grabbed a 51-41 win on Dec. 15 in Baton Rouge. Tennessee claimed a 81-52 victory over Middle Tennessee on Dec. 11 in Knoxville, while LSU lost to the Blue Raiders, 79-75 on Nov 30 at the PMAC.
UT-LSU FACING THE RANKED
Tennessee faced their ninth ranked opponent of the 2008-09 season in the loss to #7/10-ranked Duke, 62-54, on Feb. 16. UT is 2-7 in games versus ranked teams out of 27 total contests. Meanwhile, LSU will be taking on their seventh ranked team out of a total of 28 games when they face #18/23Tennessee. LSU is 1-5 vs. ranked teams this season, with their only win coming on Feb. 15 over No. 9/11 Florida, 66-47, in Baton Rouge.
ALEX AND KRISTEN -- MOTHER HENS
Tennessee's graduated senior starting forward Alex Fuller and LSU's senior starting forward Kristen Morris could probably compare stories for hours on end about being mother hens to such young teams for their respective schools. Each player has been faced with the daunting task of leading seven freshmen players. Happy Senior Night to you both!
BATTLE NOT TO PLAY ON THE FIRST DAY
Tennessee and LSU are deadlocked for the fourth position in the SEC race with identical 8-4 records. Both schools are vying for that coveted spot since it earns a fi rst day bye in the SEC Tournament. The Lady Vols have only had to play on the fi rst day of the SEC Tournament one time -- in 1997. After tonight's game, each school will have one more emotionally charged game in the SEC regular season -- the Lady Vols will host crossstate rival Vanderbilt in Knoxville on Sunday, while LSU takes on Ole Miss in Oxford in a Coach Van Chancellor homecoming game.
Tennessee's four losses in SEC regular season play ties the most losses in that category in program history. UT recorded four SEC losses in 1984-85, 1985-86 and 1996-97. The Lady Vols had a TOTAL of four SEC regular season losses in the previous three seasons (2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08) combined.
Redshirt freshman Kelley Cain has been steadily gaining more playing time and confi dence on the low block in the last six games. Slow to get into the rotation following a season-opening concussion and later knee pain from her December 2007 surgery, Cain is turning into a paint presence. She has contributed fi ve double-fi gure scoring nights in the last six games and tallied her fi rst two career double-doubles. On Feb. 22 versus Mississippi State, she registered career highs of 17 points and 11 rebounds and held Mississippi State and SEC shot blocker Chanel Mokango to zero swats on the afternoon.
BROKE THE PATTERN, WELL... SORT OF
Tennessee was unable to break a win, loss, win, loss pattern it had developed since Jan. 22 defeating an unranked team and then losing to a ranked opponent in the very next game. UT defeated Arkansas on the road and then lost at #6/5-ranked Auburn... bounced back with a win over Ole Miss and then fell to #2/2-ranked Oklahoma... rebounded with a win over Georgia and then dropped a decision at #11/13-ranked Florida... handled Alabama and then dropped a game to #4/10-ranked Duke and followed that with a loss at unranked Kentucky... the Lady Vols dropped two straight games for only the 25th time in Pat Summitt's tenure at Rocky Top... UT fi nally secured a "gut-check" win over Mississippi State to start a one game winning streak.
IN PINK ZONETM GAMES
Tennessee has a 2-2 record when playing in PINK ZONETM games. In 2007, the Lady Vols defeated Alabama in Tuscaloosa, 80-51. Last year, 17,690 pinkclad fans were on the edge of their seats as Tennessee defeated #5-ranked Rutgers 59-58 in a controversial fi nish in Knoxville. This season was the fi rst opportunity to play in a PINK ZONETM game both at home and on the road. A season-high crowd of 16,990 watched the Lady Vols lose to #7/10-ranked Duke on Feb. 16 in Knoxville and a UK season-high 6,868 fans saw the Wildcats grab a 66-56 win.
OUR PINK ZONETM EVENT THIS YEAR -- LIVE PINK & BLEED ORANGE
The Lady Vols participated in the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Pink ZoneTM campaign on Monday night Feb. 16 when Tennessee played Duke on ESPN2 in Thompson- Boling Arena. UT's "Live Pink -- Bleed Orange" activities included a mobile mammogram unit... distribution of 13,000 t-shirts to the fans - alternating pink and white. The Lady Vols wore custom home white adidas uniforms with pink accents; UT staff wore pink polos; ushers and police wore pink ribbons. The Lady Vols partnered with the Susan G. Komen Foundation for several other activities involving breast cancer survivors.
ANEMIC OFFENSE REBOUNDED VS. STATE
The Lady Vols need to load up on some iron pills. Against Duke, Tennessee turned in its most anemic offensive showing of the season registering just .321 from the fi eld and an equally paltry 56 percent from the charity stripe. Six days later, the Lady Vols shot a season best 51.8 percent from the fl oor and 70 percent from the line.
YES I CAIN
Lady Vol center Kelley Cain was one of two bright spots for UT at Kentucky. The six foot, six inch post came off the bench to score a (then) career-high 16 points, grab four rebounds, block two shots and pick two steals.
LITTLE BASS WAS BIG
Lady Vol diminutive point guard Briana Bass was a bright spot in the loss to Duke. She came off the bench to turn in a career high 14 points. Bass was UT's most effi cient player on the night -- 3-4 FG, 2-2 3FG, 6-6 FT, two defensive boards, one assist and one turnover in 24 minutes.
DOESN'T HAPPEN OFTEN -- IT'S DUKE & UK AGAIN
The Lady Vols have lost back-to-back games just 25 times in Coach Pat Summitt's 35-year career. Prior to the Feb. 19 loss at UK, the last time it had happened, UT lost at #2 Duke, 75-53, and at Kentucky, 66-63, on Jan. 23 & 26, 2006. Before that, you have to go all the way back to the 1996-97 season for back-to-back losses.
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR...
Tennessee has suffered four SEC losses this season. Following each opponents' giant win over the Lady Vols, they went down in defeat in their next game or road game. Vandy beat UT, 74-58 in Nashville on Jan. 11 and lost at Georgia Jan. 22, 66-55. Auburn beat UT, 82-68, on The Plains on Jan. 25 and then lost at Georgia, 67- 58, on Jan. 29. Florida pulled off a 66-57 win over UT in Gainesville on Feb. 8 and then lost at Vandy on Feb. 12, 84-68. Finally, Kentucky pulled off a 66-56 win over UT in Lexington on Feb. 19 and then lost at LSU on Feb. 22, 57-56. Perhaps the curse of the Orange?
Since sophomore Vicki Baugh was lost for the season due to an ACL injury versus Oklahoma, her Lady Vol teammates have produced a 3-3 record and tried to pick up the slack. In the last six games, three players are averaging double-fi gure scoring led by RS freshman Kelley Cain's 11.8 ppg. Graduated RS-senior Alex Fuller has taken her game up a couple levels with 11.2 ppg and a team-leading 8.4 rpg and 3.0 apg. Sophomore Angie Bjorklund adds 10.8 ppg and a team-best 3.2 apg.
TWO OF A KIND ISN'T ENOUGH
In the loss at Kentucky, senior Alex Fuller and redshirt freshman Kelley Cain combined to score 29 of UT's 56 points on 12-of-21 shooting. The rest of the Lady Vol squad mustered only a 9-of-39 effort from the fl oor. The pair also grabbed 12 of 35 boards, to go with 5 of 6 blocks and 5 of 8 steals.
AMAZING SUMMITT NUMBERS
REVIEWING THE GOOD...
The Lady Vols have been hitting the boards... Tennessee is grabbing 43.8 rpg and outrebounding the opposition by +7.5 (36.3)...Duke schooled the Lady Vols on the boards, 49-36...Leading the charge on the boards is rookie Glory Johnson who is grabbing 7.3 rpg. If Johnson could deliver a double-digit rebounding slate, she'd be the fi rst Lady Vol since Patricia "Trish" Roberts to record extra digit rebounds in a season... Roberts averaged 14.2 rpg (1976-77)...Quick hands and feet for Shekinna Stricklen and Glory Johnson have resulted in the rookies leading the team in thefts this season as "Kinna" has 52 steals and Johnson 35... Stricklen has the individual team lead with fi ve steals against GWU... Speaking of team leaders, Briana Bass dished out eight helpers in the game versus Louisiana Tech... she was one assist off the Lady Vol rookie record of nine set by Jody Adams twice during her freshman campaign in 1989-90.
THEN THERE'S THE BAD AND/OR UGLY...
Perhaps one of the reasons UT has been so tough on the boards is that there are a lot of misses on the offensive end this year resulting in a 41.0 percent fi eld goal shooting accuracy... The team took a big step in the right direction notching their third 50% game of the season reaching 51.8 percent against Miss. State2. Previously, UT connected on 50.0 percent vs. Gonzaga and 51.7 percent from the fi eld vs. MTSU... With the exception of Angie Bjorklund, the Lady Vol threepoint bombardiers have only reached 31.9 percent of their tries... The young players need to embrace the "Love thy neighbor" credo... The Lady Vols have only registered 364 assists on 689 made fi eld goals... Free throws have fallen to 66.8 percent -- missing charity tosses could cost a bigger win down the line... In the second effort department, the Lady Vols are looking to improve on 15.8 ppg second chance points.
NEARING 200,000 AT HOME
The Lady Vols have eclipsed 100,000 fans at home games for the last 15 consecutive years. A total of 195,834 folks have attended 14 games at home this season for an average of 13,988. A season high 16,990 showed up at the Duke game on Feb. 16. UT will go over 200,000 at home on Sun. Mar. 1 when Vanderbilt comes to town. It will mark the 12th consecutive season to go over 200,000 at Thompson-Boling Arena.
The Lady Vol roster dipped to 11 players when redshirt sophomore basketball player Cait McMahan decided to change her role with the team. The 5'4" guard had been experiencing continued pain, swelling and dysfunction in her right knee following a number of surgeries and procedures, the most recent on Sept. 3, 2008. After consulting with her orthopaedic physicians, Dr. Greg Mathien and Dr. Russ Betcher, Lady Vol Head Coach Pat Summitt, and Jenny Moshak, University of Tennessee Associate Athletics Director for Sports Medicine, McMahan arrived at the joint decision (on Jan. 10, 2009) that it was time for her to step away from a playing role.
DODGED ANOTHER BULLET
Rookie Shekinna Stricklen played only nine minutes in Tennessee's 80-61 win over Alabama after suffering an injury to her patella. Stricklen responded to rehab and was back on the practice fl oor on Sunday in preparation for the game versus Duke.
STEPPED UP VS. BAMA
A pair of sharpshooters in sophomore Sydney Smallbone and rookie Alicia Manning provided some good minutes in the win over Alabama. Smallbone was one off of her career high and tossed in 11 points versus Bama, while Manning added 10 in the second doubledigit production of her rookie year.
SEMI FULL STRENGTH
Since losing Cait McMahan to crummy knees before the Vanderbilt game on Jan. 11 and Vicki Baugh to an ACL injury in the Oklahoma game on Feb. 2, the Lady Vols were fi nally at semi full strength for the game against Alabama. Rookie Amber Gray was back in the line-up for the fi rst time in four games as all 10 dressed players saw court time.
Yes, yes... we all know Tennessee has a young team facing a typically tough slate. How tough?? Currently, UT has the number ONE strength of schedule (SOS) in the nation. The Lady Vols' RPI is fi fth behind Oklahoma, UConn, Maryland and Auburn.
LEADING AT THE BREAK
The Lady Vols have led at halftime in 18 of 25 games this season. Tennessee was tied at the half with Texas (31-all), Arkansas (32-all) and Kentucky (29-all)... the Lady Vols trailed 33-13 after 20 minutes at Rutgers... Vandy jumped out to a 31-23 halftime lead...Auburn had a 31-26 lead and Miss. State was up 36-34 in Knoxville.. Oklahoma fashioned a fi ve-point, 41-36 lead over the Lady Vols at the break and Duke was up 28-23. On average, UT holds a 33.9 to 30.1 halftime lead. The Lady Vols have outscored the opposition 37.2 to 32.8 in the second stanza.
OUR OWN WORST ENEMY
Against Florida, the two teams traded 12 lead changes and saw the score tied eight times. Tennessee started on a roll with 10:25 left taking a 47-41 lead. Three minutes later, it was 50-43 Lady Vols advantage with 7:29 showing. UT still led 52-51 with 5:42 left before hitting the turnover, foul, busted defense and missed shot wall. Rookie Shekinna Stricklen pulled her team within two points 55-57 with two minutes left but UT allowed a trey and never recovered.
LAST TIME WITH FOUR SEC LOSSES ON FEB. 26
The Cinderella Season of 1996-97 keeps coming up in the conversation when folks are talking about the Lady Vols' losses this season. The 29-10 team from a decade ago was history-making as it won the 1997 NCAA title with 10 losses. During that SEC season, UT lost to Georgia at home, at Arkansas and to Florida on the road on Jan. 21 before going on a six-game SEC winning streak. The team picked up its fourth SEC loss of the year at LSU on Feb. 22 and fi nished the conference slate at 8-4. In the SEC tourney, UT lost to Auburn by a deuce, 61-59. It was the fi nal loss of the season as the team ran the table in the NCAA Tournament.
IT WAS BRUTAL, I TELL YOU
The week of Feb. 2-9 was brutal. Tennessee had three games on the docket in seven days -- UT started the week by losing at #2-ranked Oklahoma (80-70) on Mon., Feb. 2 and then picked up historic win number 1,000 on Thurs., Feb. 5 with a 73-43 win over Georgia. "Murderers Row" culminated with a trip to #11/13 Florida on Feb. 8 where UT lost a seven-point second half lead and fell 66-57.
OUR FIRST 40-MINUTE GAME
Make no doubt about it, Pat Summitt was thrilled to achieve her 1,000th win milestone in the victory over Georgia on Feb. 5. Perhaps more rewarding to the Tennessee skipper was the 40-minute game her young team delivered. Summitt's constant challenge to the "Baby Lady Vols" was to put together two consistent halves of basketball. Against the Dawgs, UT grabbed 45 rebounds and allowed Georgia just fi ve offensive boards and 27 total. After a three-game "Miscue Fest" of 71 turnovers, the Lady Vols ball security was much better with just 11 turnovers. Four players turned in double-fi gure scoring and two players registered double-doubles led by freshman Glory Johnson with a career high 20 points, 10 rebounds and NO turnovers in 35 minutes. After rookie starter Alicia Manning suffered a thigh injury just 20 seconds into the game, fellow frosh Briana Bass took over at the point. Bass scored three points, grabbed three boards, dished three assists and had no turnovers in 29 minutes. Defensively, redshirt frosh Kelley Cain swatted away six shots while tossing in a dozen points and grabbing eight rebounds in 25 minutes.
WE SHOWED HER THE MONEY
UT President Dr. John Petersen and Women's Athletics Director Joan Cronan announced on Feb. 5, 2009, that Pat Summitt signed a contract extension that will run through 2014. Summitt will earn $1.4 million for 2008-09 and receive a $200,000 bonus for her 1,000 wins at Tennessee. "For the past 35 years, Pat has been a tremendous ambassador for our state, our University, college basketball and women's athletics," said Women's Athletics Director Joan Cronan. "We're excited that her new contract will take her through her 40th season with the Lady Vols." The contract also includes two lifetime achievement bonuses - $500,000 in 2009-10 and a $1 million longevity bonus in 2013-2014 to reward her for her 40 years as head coach of the Lady Vols.
ROOKIES CARRYING THE LOAD
UT's seven rookies are handling 68% (48.5 points per game) of the team's total of 71.2 ppg scoring load and 64.6% (28.4 rebounds per game) of the total of 44.0 rpg.
2008-09 RANKED TIDBITS
Tennessee is 2-7 against ranked opponents this season. UT lost to #7/10 Duke (62-54) after dropping a pair of games to ranked teams losing on Feb. 2, 2009, to #2-ranked Oklahoma, 80-70, and #11/13-ranked Florida, 66-57 on Feb. 8. The Lady Vols previously lost a pair of games to SEC ranked foes on the road -- Jan. 25, 2009, falling to #6/5-ranked Auburn, 82-68 and two weeks earlier, #24-ranked Vanderbilt sent UT home, 74- 58. UT claimed its second win over a ranked team this season with a 55-51 road win at #15/14 Rutgers. Number 3/4-ranked Stanford is the highest ranked opponent the Lady Vols have defeated this season (a 79-69 OT win)... The Lady Vols lost at #6/5-ranked Texas, 73-59... Virginia was Tennessee's fi rst ranked opponent of the 2008-09 season... The Cavs were ranked #16/15 when they defeated the #5/6 Lady Vols, 83-82... Last season, Tennessee faced a total of 20 ranked opponents in 38 games and produced a 18-2 record...
LADY VOL STREAKS
The Lady Vols last lost at home was against Duke, 62-54, since then UT has won one home game. Duke's win snapped a 10-game Lady Vol home winning streak since fellow ACC foe Virginia won 83-82 on Nov. 17, 2008. The last time UT lost on the road was on Feb. 19, 2009 at Kentucky, since then, UT has not played a road game. The last time the Lady Vols lost on a neutral court was against LSU, 63-54, on March 3, 2007. Since that time, UT is 15-0 on a neutral court.
LAST TIME WITH EIGHT LOSSES ON FEB. 26
The Cinderella Season of 1996-97 keeps coming up in the conversation when folks are talking about the Lady Vols' losses this season. The 29-10 team from a decade ago was history-making as it won the 1997 NCAA title with 10 losses. During that season, the champs had seven losses by Jan. 21 before going on an eight-game winning streak through the heart of the SEC schedule in February. Loss number eight that year came on Feb. 22, 83-78, at LSU. That team featured a couple of sophomores in Chamique Holdsclaw and Kellie Jolly and a pair of stubborn and motivated seniors in Abby Conklin and Pashen Thompson.
IF FIRST YOU DON'T SUCCEED
Tennessee stormed into the fi rst half of the game against Oklahoma looking like giant killers sprinting out to a 15-point, 33-18 lead with 7:58 to go in the fi rst half when the eight minute media time out was called. Five minutes later, OU fi nished its 19-0 run out and UT was behind 37-33.
LOST THE GAME-- BIGGER LOSS WAS BAUGH
Sophomore Vicki Baugh looked like her old self against Oklahoma. Baugh had seen spotty action since injuring her knee in practice on Jan. 1. Against OU, she was running the fl oor, playing tough "D" in the post against the formidable Paris twins and helping to direct traffi c. Then it happened again with 2:37 left in the game. The anterior cruciate ligament in her surgically repaired left knee blew out. Baugh suffered a similar injury in the 2008 NCAA title game versus Stanford last April. Surgery will be announced at a later date.
BAUGH'S NUMBERS WERE MISLEADING
Before she returned to the court for 26 strong minutes against Oklahoma (11 points, fi ve rebounds and two steals), Tennessee's cumulative stat sheet was a little misleading regarding Vicki Baugh. Heading into the Oklahoma game, it said that the sophomore post had played in 13 games, started 10 and was averaging 6.2 ppg and 7.5 rpg. Well sort of... Baugh missed the fi rst two games of the year as her surgically repaired knee continued a course of rehab. She then started the next 10 games before suffering an injury on New Year's Day prior to the game at Rutgers. She missed four games and returned to the court against South Carolina. She logged 2:52 and scored a bucket before the knee started to bother her. She attempted to play at Arkansas but managed just 1:24 on the court before her knee took a shot under the basket. After a good practice before Auburn, Baugh appeared ready for some solid minutes. This time the knee lasted just 20 seconds. Prior to the Rutgers game, Baugh was averaging 7.8 ppg and 9.7 rpg and had just come off of a 12 point, 15 rebound performance at Gonzaga for her third double-double of the season.
OUR SLOGAN SHOULD BE -- BALL SECURITY IS BEAUTIFUL
For most of the season, the Lady Vols were averaging around 16 turnovers per game. Not a great number but manageable with the up tempo style. In games versus #6/5-ranked Auburn, Ole Miss and #2-ranked Oklahoma, the UT coaches were ready to pull out their collective hair after their young charges gave up the ball 71 times. Tennessee had not given up the ball that many times in the previous fi ve-and-a-half games.
AND THEN THERE WERE 10
The Lady Vol ranks have been depleted to 10 active players for the remainder of the season. After redshirt sophomore Cait McMahan decided to quit playing basketball due to cranky knees and Vicki Baugh's season-ending ACL injury, Tennessee is down to a lone graduated senior, two sophomores and seven rookies to fi nish out the season.
ANGIE B TO THE RESCUE
Against Ole Miss, sophomore Angie Bjorklund went scoreless in the fi rst half for the second game in a row. In the second stanza, she was 2-7 from three point land before launching a perfect game winning, nothing but net, trey with 6.8 ticks left against Ole Miss to give UT the 60-59 win.
MANNING BECAME 56TH AND CAIN 57TH
Rookies Alicia Manning, a 6'1" freshman from Etowah, Ga., and Kelley Cain, a 6'6" RS-freshman from Atlanta, Ga., became the 56th and 57th all-time Lady Vol to earn a starting assignment as a Tennessee rookie. Manning started at point guard versus Vanderbilt on Jan. 11, 2009 and Cain picked up her fi rst start vs. Alabama on Feb. 12, 2009.
HOT POTATO HOOPS TIMES TWO
In dropping the fourth game of the year and the second in the SEC, the young Lady Vols really looked the part of "young" on Jan. 25 in front of 12,067 recordsetting fans at #6/5-ranked Auburn. Four Tennessee players had four turnovers each and a total of 23, leading to 29 points for the Tigers. In the next game versus Ole Miss, UT tallied 24 give-aways. Senior Alex Fuller had an uncharacteristic 7 miscues but balanced it with her fi rst career double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds. UM managed 17 points off of TO's. At Oklahoma, Tennessee coughed up the ball 24 times.
A bright spot in the loss at Auburn was a career afternoon from Shekinna Stricklen who tossed in 26 points. Fellow rookie Glory Johnson recorded her fourth career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
SELFLESS ACT BY FULLER
Tennessee Lady Vol basketball graduate forward Alex Fuller has decided to exchange her number 44 jersey for that of teammate Cait McMahan starting with the game versus South Carolina. Prior to the Vanderbilt game on Jan. 11, McMahan, a redshirt sophomore point guard, decided to step into the role of a student assistant after chronic knee soreness fi nally sidelined her. Fuller will now wear McMahan's number 2 jersey for the remainder of the season. "Cait is such a competitor and a leader for our team," said Fuller. "We are both Tennessee girls and grew up wanting to wear the orange jersey. I am doing this as a tribute to Cait. I know how much she wants to be on the fl oor helping to lead this team. There is a lot of heart in the number 2 jersey." A few years back, Fuller was forced to the sidelines during her rookie season to give her surgically repaired knees a chance to rehab. She remembers when Shanna Zolman had a surprise for teammate Sidney Spencer on Feb. 24, 2005 after Spencer tore her ACL. Zolman wore Spencer's #1 jersey for the rest of the season.
CAIN BACK VERSUS AUBURN & OLE MISS
Redshirt rookie Kelley Cain, a 6-6 post was back in the line-up at Auburn after sitting out the South Carolina and Arkansas games to rest her knees. Cain came down hard in the game at Mississippi State and irritate her surgically repaired knee. Against Auburn, she gutted out 16 minutes and had six points, fi ve rebounds and three blocked shots. She battled the bigs from Ole Miss and tallied eight points and four boards in 13 minutes.
ROOKIES SHOWED A LITTLE GRIT
After falling behind to Arkansas by six points, 44-38, with 16:02 to go on Thurs., Jan. 22, a couple of Lady Vol rookies showed some fi re and a little grit in a three minute spurt to reclaim the lead. Glory Johnson started things off with a traditional three point play... Lyssi Brewer made a defensive stop with a blocked shot and then made a layup off a beautiful feed from Johnson... Johnson then fed Shekinna Stricklen for a lay-up to tie the game at 45-all... A steal by Johnson led to another lay-up opportunity for Alicia Manning to put the Lady Vols up by two, 47-45.
SEND OUT A SEARCH PARTY
UT coach Pat Summitt needs to send out a search party to look for accurate shooters. The 2008-09 Lady Vols are shooting a program worst 41.1 percent from the fi eld eclipsing the 2004-05 team which only connected on 41.6 percent of its shots for the season.
CRASH CART AT MISS STATE
Tennessee was already without the temporary services of sophomore post Vicki Baugh (injured knee on Jan. 1) and the premature ending to point guard Cait McMahan's career (announced Jan. 10) when the team rolled into Mississippi State on Jan. 15. For the second year in a row at State, three UT players were injured. Last year, it was a broken nose for Angie Bjorklund, a hyper-extended knee for Candace Parker and a biceps strain for Alberta Auguste. This year, Kelley Cain came down hard on her surgically repaired right knee in the fi rst half and did not return... Alex Fuller's eye was scratched and Shekinna Stricklen received a rib contusion.
STRICK FOUND A WAY
Rookie Shekinna Stricklen was having a challenging night from the fi eld (1-10) against Mississippi State on Jan. 15 when she connected on a three-pointer with 1:45 to go to put the Lady Vols ahead for good, 59-56. Strick also cashed in on 10-10 free throws to fi nish with a team high 15 points on the night.
GRABBED 400TH SEC WIN
The University of Tennessee Lady Vols' win over Mississippi State on Jan. 15 was the program's 400th alltime victory over an SEC foe. UT is now 406-62 vs. SEC schools. Lady Vol coach Pat Summitt has been on board for 403 wins and 61 losses. A 2-1 record versus South Carolina and a 1-0 mark against Georgia pre-dates Summitt's coaching tenure with the Lady Vols.
YOUNGSTERS NOT TOUGH ON "D"
Tennessee's young team evolves each game but took a step backwards defensively against both Vanderbilt and Kentucky. The Commodores tossed in 46.2% of its fi eld goal tries -- the second-best by an opponent vs. UT this season. One game earlier vs. Kentucky, the defense was spotty there as well with the Cats tossing in 45% from the fi eld. Virginia is the only team to hit 50% vs. UT this season. To their credit, the Lady Vols have held nine of 15 opponents below 40% from the fi eld.
LAST LOSS TO AN UNRANKED TEAM?
Unranked Kentucky turned the trick in Lexington with a 66-56 win on Feb. 19, 2009. Prior to that, it was in the 2005-06 season. Florida became the second unranked team in the 2005-06 season to knock off the Lady Vols, when they won 95-93 OT on Feb. 26, 2006. Exactly one month earlier, unranked Kentucky turned the trick with a 66-63 win over#1/3-ranked Tennessee on Jan. 26, 2006 at Rupp Arena. Previously, it had been four years since an unranked team upset the Lady Vols. So before Florida and Kentucky had their way with UT, when was the last time Tennessee lost to an unranked team? That would have been to LSU on Mar. 2, 2002 at the SEC Tournament in Nashville, Tenn. LSU had been in and out of the Top 25 polls in late January and February. Prior to that, UT's last loss to an unranked team was fi ve years previous (to the day) losing to Auburn on Mar. 2, 1997 at the SEC Tournament.
THE COMEBACK KIDS
In all of UT coach Pat Summitt's career collegiate games, none of her Lady Vol teams had mounted the kind of comeback they fashioned against Rutgers on Jan. 3, 2009. Tennessee trailed 33-13 at the half. The 13 points were the fewest ever the Lady Vols have scored in the fi rst half. The defi cit also marked the fi rst time in the 2008-09 season, UT has trailed at the half. Additionally, the 20-point halftime defi cit was the largest in school history. The previous fi rst-half low was 14 at Virginia on March 25, 1996. The previous largest halftime defi cit was 19. Once on Feb. 4, 1996, at Ole Miss and on March 28, 1986, against Southern California in the Final Four in Lexington, Ky. Rutgers led by as many as 23-points before UT rallied for the win. Previously, the Lady Vols had to come back from a 22-point defi cit to defeat Illinois in the 1997-98 season.
Over the Christmas holidays, the Lady Vols gave new meaning to coast-to-coast. UT traveled to Spokane, Washington on Dec. 27 for Angie Bjorklund's homecoming game and made Gonzaga their temporary homeaway- from-home. The hospitality of Angie Bjorklund's mom and dad, Kris and Jim, made the junket even more enjoyable in the 56 inches of snow that blanketed the city. After defeating the Zags, 77-58, on Dec. 30, the Tennessee traveling party headed to the East Coast on New Year's Eve. Following the Jan. 3 come-from-behind game against Rutgers, 55-51, the Lady Vols fi nally returned to Knoxville.
COMING OF AGE WIN
Tennessee's overtime upset victory against #3/4-ranked Stanford, 79-69, was a great way to go into the Christmas break. The Lady Vols had a great OT defensive effort in the win over the Cardinal holding SU to just one point in the extra stanza. The team, minus West Coasters Angie Bjorklund and Vicki Baugh, reassembled in Knoxville on Dec. 26 for practice prior to traveling to Spokane. The fi rst full team practice back after the break was on Dec. 27 following a full day of fl ying.
HEY! THE GANG WAS ALL HERE -- FINALLY
It's a little known fact that Lady Vol Coach Pat Summitt is a master juggler. After all, she's only had a full roster of 12 players available in just four games this season -- DePaul, George Washington, Texas and Gonzaga. Against DePaul on Nov. 30, Lady Vol Coach Pat Summitt enjoyed a full roster available to play for the fi rst time in the 2008-09 season. Sophomore Angie Bjorklund, the only returning player with solid experience as a starter (30 starts) was available for the fi rst time this season after missing fi ves games. Back from concussions were Alicia Manning and Kelley Cain who missed one and four games, respectively.
ALL THINGS ACADEMIC
Seven Lady Vols earned Dean's List honors for the Fall semester. Rookies Briana Bass, Kelley Cain, Glory Johnson, Alicia Manning and sophomores Vicki Baugh, Angie Bjorklund and Sydney Smallbone all earned over a 3.0 GPA.
GOT THE PATCH
Tennessee athletes who have achieved honor roll status in the classroom display a "Vol Scholar" patch on their uniform. The "VS" letters are wrapped around a replica of the torch carried by the UT Torchbearer. Currently, sophomores Angie Bjorklund, Cait McMahan and Sydney Smallbone display the academic patch on their uniforms. Following Fall semester grades, new additions to wear the patch will be Briana Bass, Kelley Cain, Glory Johnson, Alicia Manning and Vicki Baugh.
GLORY BROKE OUT OF MINI SLUMP
Rookie Glory Johnson broke out of a mini scoring slump vs. Kentucky with 14 points. In the three games previous, she managed single digits and was held to a season low four points against Gonzaga. Against Stanford, Johnson was held to just single digit scoring for the fi rst time in her Lady Vol career with seven points. One game previously (against Old Dominion), she became only the second Lady Vol to open her career with doubledigit scoring in her fi rst 10 games... Fourtime All-American Chamique Holdsclaw holds the UT record for most consecutive double-digit scoring outputs to begin her Tennessee career with 14... Against the list... Parker had nine straight games of double-digit scoring to open her freshman year...
IN THE GROOVE
Coming off a career-high night against Old Dominion with 29 points, sophomore Angie Bjorklund continued her hot streak against Stanford. She tallied 16 points and four assists in 41 minutes. As a rookie, she did not score a single point against the Cardinal last season in two games. Senior Alex Fuller maintained her groove after a career-high fi ve assists and tying a career high with 12 rebounds after being inserted back into the starting lineup replacing an ailing Shekinna Stricklen.... Fuller was 4-4 in free throws in a critical stretch versus Stanford and played some tough "D."
AP STREAK WAS BROKEN
Tennessee's record run in the top 10 was fi nally stopped. The Lady Vols' streak of 211 straight weeks in the top 10 ended on Dec. 15, 2008, when they were ranked 11th in The Associated Press Top 25 poll. Tennessee, which lost at then-No. 6/5 Texas 73-59 on Dec. 14, was last out of the fi rst 10 on March 3, 1997. The run went 56 weeks longer than the men's record of 155 set by UCLA. North Carolina, which stayed No. 2 this week, now has the longest active streak in the Top 10 with 70 consecutive weeks. It would take them nearly eight years to match the Lady Vols' run.
GOT BACK ON TRACK
Before UT lost at Texas on Dec. 14, 2008, the Lady Vols had won 13 consecutive road games dating back to a 73-68 OT loss at #5-ranked Stanford on Dec. 22, 2007. Tennessee got back on the winning road track with a tough 81-76 win at Old Dominion on Dec. 18.
YOUNGEST LINE-UP IN LADY VOL HISTORY
When rookies Shekinna Stricklen, Glory Johnson and Briana Bass started the game versus Middle Tennessee with sophomores Vicki Baugh and Angie Bjorklund, it marked the youngest starting lineup in Lady Vol history. Three rookies have started in three other lineups in the past but never with a couple of sophomores as their wing men. Previous three freshmen lineups: 1980-81 - Tanya Haave (Fr.), Mary Ostrowski (Fr.), Pat Hatmaker (Fr.), with Lea Henry (So.) and Cindy Noble (Sr.); 1984- 85 - Karla Horton (Fr.), Kathy Spinks (Fr.), Dawn Marsh (Fr.), with Shelley Sexton (So.) and Shelia Collins (Sr.); 1997-98 - Tamika Catchings (Fr.), Semeka Randall (Fr.), Teresa Geter (Fr.), with Chamique Holdsclaw (Jr.) and Kellie Jolly (Jr.).
THE NATIONAL YOUNGSTER WATCH
Tennessee has a young team this season but there are a few other schools also up to their elbows in Pampers and Desenex. The Lady Vols have the fourth youngest team in the nation.
Youngest Teams: 1. Tennessee-Martin, T2. Idaho, San
Jose State, T4. Tennessee, Illinois, 6. UMBC, 7. Elon,
T8. Central Arkansas, Arkansas, 10. Northeastern.
FAST STARTS FOR LADY VOL ROOKIES
UT has enjoyed a tremendous tradition of some great Lady Vol rookies. Glory Johnson registered doublefi gure scoring in her fi rst 10 games before being held to seven versus Stanford. Other Lady Vol rookies doublefi gure scoring streaks to start their UT career-- Consecutive Double-Digit Scoring Performances To Begin UT Freshman Season (Since 1980-81):
Chamique Holdsclaw 1995-96 14 Glory Johnson 2008-09 10 Candace Parker 2005-06 9 Dana Johnson 1991-92 6 Tamika Catchings 1997-98 5 Mary Ostrowski 1980-81 4 Vonda Ward 1991-92 4 Bridgette Gordon 1985-86 2 Peggy Evans 1990-91 2 Semeka Randall 1997-98 2 Shyra Ely 2001-02 2 Kelley Cain 2008-09 2 Shekinna Stricklen 2008-09 2
CAN'T SPOT OPPONENTS 36 POINTS
In Tennessee's loss at Texas, the Lady Vols missed 13 free throws (11-24) and allowed Texas to register 23 points off of 18 UT miscues -- basically spotting the Longhorns 36 points. Ironically, UT played the Horns to a 31-31 tie at the half.
GOTTA HAVE GLORY
The Lady Vols were a little hamstrung in the Texas game with leading scorer Glory Johnson on the bench. The super rookie from Knoxville was whistled for two fouls in the fi rst 1:52 of the game and took a seat on the bench. After watching her teammates fall behind by eight points during a 13 minute span, Johnson was sent back into the game. A scant 52 seconds was all the action Johnson saw before she was whistled for her third foul. Amazingly, Johnson played all 20 minutes in the second stanza and did not pick up another foul.
"BIRD" AND ALEX = GRADUATION RATE PERFECT
The Fall semester came to a close on the UT campus on Dec. 11 and redshirt senior Alex Fuller fi nished up her undergraduate degree requirements. On Sat., Dec. 13, Fuller went through commencement and then boarded the plane with her Lady Vol teammates to travel to Texas. Fuller received her degree in exercise science and will begin grad school in January 2009 majoring in both Sport Management and Sport Psychology. Also graduating on Saturday with Fuller was former Lady Vol hoopster Alberta "Bird" Auguste who completed her eligibility last May and was a member of the 2007 and 2008 NCAA title teams.