Tired and true for final

Lady Vols log a lot of minutes against Vanderbilt

NASHVILLE - Tennessee put a lot of time and effort into an SEC women's basketball tournament game Saturday night.

The payoff was a 63-48 semifinal victory over Vanderbilt before a tournament-record crowd of 12,897 at the Sommet Center. The victory advanced second-seeded Tennessee (29-2) to tonight's championship game (TV: ESPN2, 7:30) against top-seeded LSU (27-4).

Candace Parker scored a game-high 25 points. Alexis Hornbuckle scored 14 points, grabbed seven rebounds and recorded four assists. Nicky Anosike grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.

The aforementioned Lady Vols all played 35 or more minutes. Reserve guard Alberta Auguste logged 32.

Parker's 36 minutes were hard minutes. She picked herself off the court several times, particularly in the second half when the game against the third-seeded Commodores (23-8) became more gritty in nature.

By comparison, LSU was on cruise control down the stretch of its 66-49 semifinal victory over Kentucky.

Did the Lady Vols' investment in Saturday's outcome borrow from tonight's effort? Hornbuckle, who played 39 minutes, said that she will be asking for some divine assistance.

"I'm going to say a little prayer,'' she said. "I'm going to pray that my legs come back."

Hornbuckle already was working on her recovery in the locker room with ice bags taped to both knees. The ice had something to do with Saturday's game, too.

"It was a tough game,'' Hornbuckle said. "It wasn't as cut and dry as we wanted it to be. You're not going to get that from Vanderbilt."

The game played out like two games in one. The first was geared toward offense. Vanderbilt ran a clinic at the outset, hitting five of its first eight shots and recording an assist on each basket.

To make matters worse, the undersized Commodores were scoring from close range as well. A rebound basket by Jennifer Risper, who finished with a team-high 14 points, gave Vanderbilt a 14-4 lead.

Tennessee's response was even stronger. Parker was the star, shooting 7-for-11 from the floor in the first half. She scored around the rim and swished a 3-point basket, her eighth of the season.

Parker's scoring show had some supporting acts. Anosike set up her teammate with a nice high-low pass and swished her own 12-footer. Shannon Bobbitt and Hornbuckle also nailed 3-pointers. UT's field-goal percentage reached 60 percent at one point and the Lady Vols looked like the Commodores with eight assists on their first 10 baskets.

UT reversed its early deficit and led by 10 points on two first-half occasions before settling for a 37-28 halftime lead.

The second half turned defensive in nature. Again UT had the upper hand, holding the Commodores to 20 points. UT coach Pat Summitt said the 6-foot-4 Anosike cast a long shadow.

"I thought Nicky Anosike had a tremendous defensive game,'' Summitt said. "Her presence made a big difference in what Vanderbilt was able to see and do."

The Commodores, who normally shoot 39.7 percent on 3-pointers, made just 2 of 17 attempts.

As bad as they were, UT was even worse, shooting 22.2 percent from the floor (6-for-27) in the second half. The Lady Vols survived at the free-throw line, hitting 12 of 15 attempts.

The Lady Vols could use some scoring from freshman sharpshooter Angie Bjorklund. But she had zero points and has just one 3-pointer for two tournament games.

"I think I need to continue to look for my shot,'' Bjorklund said. "If I miss a shot, I can't dwell on it."

In the meantime, the Lady Vols will seek rest and recuperation.

"We've been in this situation before,'' Anosike said. "Once the adrenaline starts pumping (tonight), it's not going to matter."

Naismith Finalist: Parker is one of four finalists for the Naismith Trophy. The other three are LSU's Sylvia Fowles, Oklahoma's Courtney Paris and Stanford's Candice Wiggins.

The winner will be announced April 7 at the Women's Final Four in Tampa, Fla.

Parker and Paris both won the Naismith national high school trophy twice.

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Comments » 24

usmcladyvolfan writes:

Tonights game was not very impressive Vandy is not an LSU and if we play as bad as we did in the Second half LSU will win both the regular and postseason championship. It is wrong of me to believe we should have beat Vandy by 30+, but im tired of these analyst and Candace getting disrespected and basically getting told she is second best to Fowles. I hope we go in to this game tomorrow and destroy LSU by 20+ and Candace lights Fowles up. If we play like in the Florida just a little bit less sloppy with the turnovers we cant be stopped, which would be nice especially to beat Mya and Geno and Let Uconn know really why we quit playing them they just cant compete with us. Just to go on i would also like to see Mya go up against Parker to see which player will really AS Vivian says "change the face of womens basketball" I wrote earleir about Mya not been able to play against the double team if we meet let her come in the paint and See Candace eat her alive.

Musicman74 writes:

Great win lady's. Now Beat LSU.

VolMama writes:

Way to Go Lady Vols. Make all of your Fans happy show LSU how to play TN Basketball tommorrow night. You all are the Best! Angie needs to step up and hit the 3ball like we know she can. Candace needs to show Fowles who is really the SEC player of the year. Alexis needs to play well on defense and on offense. Anosike needs to rebound like we know she can. Bobbitt just needs to be Bobbitt. Bench players just come in and do what you do best. You need to show the world what it is like to win! Pat and her Staff is the BEST! IT IS GREAT TO BE A TN VOL! Go Lady Vols Beat those tigers!!!

usmcladyvolfan writes:

GO vol mama it is great to be a Tn vol. Dont get me wrong i hope our girls win number eight, but im just curious about what do you think the next few years has in store for us? With Candace leaving and im not really sure were keeping up with uconn recruiting wise thye got Maya Moore and i heard the number 1 girls player in the nation verbally commited to them, do we got anybody as good as Mya in our grasp.

VolMama writes:

usmcladyvolfan. We have seven freshmen coming in and four of them are going to be playing in an All Star game so maybe that tells us a little something. I am sure it going to be tuff, but we will just have to wait and see. We need to end this season with an SEC,and a National Title! #8 would be GREAT in '08.

Timed_vol (Inactive) writes:

UT beats LSU. The tough game with Vandy actually helps, coause when the LV's step on the court, they'll still be playing tough ball.

I never 'gaurantee' a win, but I look for the LV's to be TOUGH.

usmcladyvolfan writes:

volmama could you tell me who they are, im sorry to aggravate you but im stationed in cali with the marine corps, only time i really get to check up on the girls is when im usually on a 24 hour shift i am really a big lady vols fan i catch flack from the guys because i dont much care for the guys game, the girls just play pure fundamental b-ball, no showboating,or selfish playing.

zjcvols#543765 writes:

Actually we have 5 players coming in and they are all McDonald's High School All-Americans

VolMama writes:

usmcladyvolfan sorry I am just getting back to you, but there will be six coming in. Glory Johnson, Amber Gray, Alicia Manning, Shekinna Stricklen, Alyssia Brewer, and Briana Bass. Don't forget we have Cait McMahan and Kelley Cain who didn't play this year. Not just great to be a TN vol, but great to be an American thank you for your service.

usmcladyvolfan writes:

Plasticman keyword these Lady vols yes hornbuckle and bobbitt do some crazy things. I have watched the guys play and i still think if the girls play to their potential they are much more interesting, but who cares do they miss crazy dunks when as John Wooden would say a good old fashioned lay up would do, no in fact Wooden did not let his players dunk, because it takes away from the purity of the game whats wrong with just laying the ball in and getting back to play defense
like the girls instead we guys have to pop our jerseys, flex our muscles then run down the court, ok the women do it during timeouts, they shouldnt but its during a timeout not while your man is down court putting the ball in the basket

usmcladyvolfan writes:

thank you volmama alot i really appreciate it means alot to me i will be going to Iraq within the next year so im trying to keep up with the girls as much as possible, so you can tell im killing this comment board

BigOrangeJeff writes:

As odd as it sounds, and as much as I like Parker, I think we may have a better "team" without her next year. Too often, everyone on the offense just waits for her to do something. With Candace out of the picture, the offense will run as a team.

Regarding our recruiting vs. UConn, it has been hard to get the top player while Candace was on campus. I'm sure Geno has been telling them that they'll be second fiddle as long as she's here. Having said that, don't we have four of the top ten girls signed for next year? Could be a repeat of the Three Meeks.

Just my $.02,

usmcladyvolfan writes:

Big orange Jeff i was contemplating the same thing that just maybe as long as Candace was around recruits would feel like they would just have to be role players to her, and maybe thats why Mya didn't come here to tn Geno filled her head full of phooey. Yes and after volmama got back with me on the recruits i done some research on them and it looks like we got something special coming in this class. i cant wait until 1630 Sec Championship.

BigOrangeJeff writes:

The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades... orange tinted, of course.

Semper Fi

ICORANGE writes:

As posted earlier it is:--- UP! DOWN! UP! TIME.
for the Lady Vols that is: Pull UP your DRAWERS, Cut DOWN the NETS, and RAISE UP the BANNERS/FLAGS.
usmcladyvolfan I most defiantly agree with you (as with other things) that the Lady Vols basketball is more "pure" basketball than the mens BB,that is, when they do play team ball.
CP3 was spit in the face by the selection committee so now it is SHOW TIME!

usmcladyvolfan writes:

im getting to watch UNC at Duke im telling you UNC looks very athletic.our luck with the bracket even if we get a number one seed were going to get stuck in the toughest region we will probably see UNC, Duke, LSU, and maybe Maryland or Rutgers in our region if not two of them im betting will be in our region. It is going to be tough our girls will have to play 40 minutes of inspired we really want this ball through out the whole tournament. we can do it i know we can but the girls is going to have to buckle down and refuse to lose.

utahvolsfan56 writes:

BigOrangejeff I just read an article regarding the recruiting class for next year. Quantity vs Quality. Even though UT recruited 5 of the top 20 recruits the following questions were asked 1. Can they all find playing time? 2. Will they stay at UT? 3.What about all the current tall wings? Rutgers received #1 spot for their recruting incoming recruiting class #2 went to UCONN and #3 went to UT with #4 going to LSU.

As for Mya Moore she did not start this year for UCONN untill Green tore her ACL. Mya entered the starting line up in December, 2007. She has just been named the Big East player of the year. The first time in history for men or womens for a freshman to receive such an honor.

zjcvols#543765 writes:

BOJ, honestly, a better team w/o Candace, you don't easily replace 21/8, along w/ the best shot-blocker in UT history and the best passing post maybe ever. Honestly, do you see Bjorklund putting up 20? Yea the points will be more distrubeted. This team is going to struggle to be in the top 15 next year. Out of your top 10 players 9 will be freshman or sophomore. Candace is the second greatest player (top 15 all-time) in school history. You don't replace that. This team will struggle mightily next year w/o Candace and everyone else. They lose 4 starters next year and one upperclassmen.

zjcvols#543765 writes:

BOJ, honestly, a better team w/o Candace, you don't easily replace 21/8, along w/ the best shot-blocker in UT history and the best passing post maybe ever. Honestly, do you see Bjorklund putting up 20? Yea the points will be more distrubeted. This team is going to struggle to be in the top 15 next year. Out of your top 10 players 9 will be freshman or sophomore. Candace is the second greatest player (top 15 all-time) in school history. You don't replace that. This team will struggle mightily next year w/o Candace and everyone else. They lose 4 starters next year and one upperclassmen.

ladyvolsrock writes:

The top 15? Are you nuts? Its never easy. Losing Parker, Anosike, Bobbit, Auguste, and Hornbuckle just makes it tougher. Angie put up 20 on more than one occasion this year. And in case you have forgotten here of late she has been improving in other aspects of her game. We also have Fuller and Baugh returning. Baugh is extremely athletic. Fuller seems to be able to score at will. The Freshman will come along. They almost always do. As far as recruits not wanting to play second-fiddle to Parker, that may be a character issue. They told Catchings the same thing in regards to Holdsclaw and she came to Tennessee. Only time will tell.

dopedawg writes:

Proud of ya ladies!!! Sloppy, but you did ok. Play like you never have played before, go and get #8!!!!

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Congrats, LVs, roll on. Top 5.

Timed_vol (Inactive) writes:

exactly the kind of game I thought it would be.

Chancellor and LSU are going on about 'we're as good'....

Yeah, LSU, you ARE as good, but you didn't win. Why didn't you win?? Because Candace Parker made more plays on BOTH ends of the floor than Sylvia.

For LSU ot win the NC, Sylvia Fowlse has got to be MeAN EVERY PLAY. She's a helluva player, but Candace played harder in crunch time.

ps11824 writes:

ladyvolsrock writes: "They told Catchings the same thing in regards to Holdsclaw and she came to Tennessee." That's right, she came, she saw and she conquered. Catch worked her tail off, was a rookie on the greatest Class of Lady Vols ever, 39 and 0, National Champions. They (Catchings & Chamiqua) made each other better in Tamika's freshman year, 1998. By far the most athletic women's team to wear the orange. IMHO

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