Lady Vols struggle early, able to pull away later

WEST LAFAYETTE,Ind. — Candace Parker pulled on her warm-up top and found a seat on the bench early in the second half of Tennessee’s NCAA women’s basketball tournament opener Sunday night.

This wasn’t a case of the Lady Vols’ star player checking out early in a first-round Oklahoma City Regional rout of Oral Roberts. Instead, Parker was saddled with four fouls.

As expected, top-seed UT won 94-55 at Mackey Arena and advanced to a second-round 7 p.m. tipoff Tuesday (TV: ESPN2) against host Purdue, a 66-59 winner over Utah.

Still, Tennessee’s night didn’t always play out in typical first-round fashion. While the Lady Vols never had to rush Parker back into the game, they had to hustle a littler longer and a little harder than usual against a No. 16 seed.

Undermanned Oral Roberts (19-14) withstood a key player loss and kept the deficit respectable well into the second half. The rout wasn’t on in earnest until the final eight minutes.

“In the first half we played like we had a two-week break,’’ UT coach Pat Summitt said. “Second half we had much better effort. It was hard for us to get in a rhythm.”

Angie Bjorklund led five-double scorers with 16 points for Tennessee (31-2). Parker scored 14. Alexis Hornbuckle and Alberta Auguste had 13.

Hornbuckle had seven assists, including a slick behind-the-back pass to Bjorklund for a layup.

UT’s 45-22 rebounding advantage was led by Alex Fuller with eight.

Jenny Hardin scored a team-high 16 for Oral Roberts.

Already overmatched, Oral Roberts suffered a tough blow just moments after the opening tip. Guard Mariana Camargo tried to outhustle Tennessee point guard Shannon Bobbitt for the basketball and slipped on a UT cheerleaders’ sign that was lying on the floor behind the baseline. Camargo, the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.2 points per game, went down with an apparent left knee injury.

The 5-foot-10 junior immediately was helped off the court. She returned with 11:58 left in the first half but only with the aid of crutches. Her left leg was heavily wrapped and, she likely will undergo surgery.

“We had to really wing it,’’ Oral Roberts coach Jerry Finkbeiner said. “Everything we ran for 39 minutes and 55 seconds was improvised.”

Despite losing Camargo, the Golden Eagles didn’t lose their composure, hanging within 48-34 at halftime.

Their problem wasn’t shooting. They were hitting at a 56.5 percent clip at the break (13 for 23), including 5 for 9 on 3-pointers. A Rachel Watman trey splashed down from at least five feet beyond the line.

Their problem was hanging onto the ball. The Golden Eagles had 17 turnovers in the first half and finished with 25.

Parker scored 12 of her points before sitting with two fouls 8:18 before halftime.

“I don’t think it was 18 minutes by design,’’ said Parker, referring to her playing minutes. “I got in a little foul trouble.”

Every Lady Vol played before the break. While everyone but Bobbitt scored, spreading out the playing minutes likely contributed to Oral Roberts’ hot shooting, as well as 11 Tennessee turnovers.

“I felt we came out and just didn’t defend,’’ Summitt said. “We weren’t in the mood to play out of our press.’’

The Lady Vols weren’t particularly inspired to pry open Oral Roberts’ zone defense either. They started out bombing away over the alignment before passing into it to set up their shots.

“We had to keep moving with their zone,’’ Bjorklund said. “We couldn’t hit our shots (early).’’

The Lady Vols finished with 47 percent field goal accuracy (31 for 66). They shot 41.4 percent on 3-pointers (12 for 29).

“We’re going to face a lot of zone in this tournament,’’ Parker said. “We got a lot of inside touches and that opened things up for us.”

A good example of Oral Roberts’ resilience came early in the second half. After Tennessee’s Nicky Anosike set a hard screen on Watman, Oral Roberts’ Janae Voelker responded moments later by laying out Bobbitt with a screen. UT’s point guard went to the locker room but returned to the bench shortly thereafter and played down the stretch.

Dan Fleser covers Tennessee Lady Vols basketball. He may be reached at 865-342-6288.

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Comments » 32

Hunter writes:

Can anyone explain to me why we're a #1 seed and playing a true away game in a few days???? The NCAA is brilliant!

vol4good#206163 writes:

If you read the story title--you would think the Lady VOLS barley won. Hell, were they only 40 % from half court or did they struggle with their left handed free throws. give me a break--the title should have said: Lady VOLS beat the Hell out of Oral Roberts!
GO LADY VOLS!

gohawks1 writes:

Too funny, bossvol!

LadyVolFanForever writes:

Welcome back Angie ! Great game Lex !
Rusty the first half but a great team victory the second. Only hope we have different officials for Purdue so Candace isn't sitting.
Each one will get harder, survive & advance. Potluck supper theory ! GO LADY VOLS !!!

GreerVol22 writes:

I really hate to see so many officials becoming glory whores. I mean the BS on Candace was down right flagrant. Didn't matter fortunately.

Same for Dorsey in the memphis game against MSU. he was killing guys, over the back, hacking and still no calls. 3 touch fouls on the Georgetown center in 3 minutes.

And heck, you can fart in Hansbrough's (UNC) general direction and get a foul called you.

houvol#438636 writes:

I'm glad Angie got her touch back. One at a time ladies. The goal is to beat Uconn. Go Vols!

HotlantaVol writes:

IMO - the officials blamed the injury of ORU's best player on the Tennessee cheerleaders and their signs on the floors. So, they took it upon themselves to make sure our best player was benched for as long as possible during the game.

Or it could just be the typical way Tennessee is treated in any tournament.

smokymtman writes:

AMEN to GreerVoll22...in a tournament where one loss sends you home for good, the refs should call evenly for both teams but let them play. Both the men's and women's tournament have had some baaaaadly called games!

TOCA writes:

I find it mind-boggling the NCAA thinks the Maya Moore visit to ESPN is an "extra benefit' considering it isn't very difficult to get a tour of the facility. And it isn't a tour that blows you away. You walk around the studio, watch ESPN news behind a glass window for a bit, take a look at their tape library and go home. Her interest in becoming a Communications major was one of the reason's she wanted the tour. But what if a tour was arranged at the Hartford Courant or another local paper? If Uconn arranged that tour, it would have to be considered an "extra benefit" as well based on the NCAA definition. But you wouldn't have heard boo about it because it’s just a local paper.

Also, the Geno paranoia from some of you comes across as quite pathetic. And the statements made without supporting links or quotes is amusing, especially the poster who said "Uconn's recruitment of Della Donne was dirty". No facts. UT has always had an excellent program which continues today so the mudslinging regarding Geno looks desperate. And for those who say Geno should be the one to explain why the regular season game between UT and UC was cancelled, I ask why? Neither he nor Uconn decided to stop the game. Pat Summit and UT did. It's up to your team to answer those questions.

UConn has had zero NCAA rules violations in the past. Both the men's and women's programs have been clean on the infraction side, and less so on the character side (ie., men's). BTW, someone mentioned Geno's "3 or 4 titles" which actually is 5 and accomplished in 11 less years of coaching than Summit. My guess is with Moore and Delle Donne playing together for the next 3 years (unless they leave early) and the departure of Candace Parker (who I think is the best player in the history of women's bball) I suspect that Uconn will add to that total.

Finally, Uconn fans don't hate UT. We do of course, enjoy 13 wins over the UT program vs only 9 defeats. However, the venomous tone of the messages directed toward Uconn, their coach and players on this board makes me think it's the other way around.

chelseavol#206134 writes:

Be consistent,ladies! Sloppy play and careless turnovers will come back to haunt you against a more formidable opponent.

EZE99 writes:

TOCA, while Summit has consistently declined to comment on the situation, AuriESPN has continued his relational scorched earth policy. Trace the history of their interaction and you will notice a similar pattern: Summit squelching the tension and AuriESPN generally heightening it. This may explain why TN fans generally dislike UConn a bit more (than the other way around).

I see no problem in UConn's recruitment of Della Donne. She is right in their back yard. And I could see why a Georgia superstar might choose UConn over some of the local schools. What is perplexing, is how a b-ball player from Gwinnet County, Georgia, could afford to take an unofficial (unpaid) trip to Storrs, Connecticut, during school (October 2005) of her junior year. ESPN tour aside, that scenario seems skewed.

volboy81#211803 writes:

Get off our message board, TOCA, you stupid yankee!

superk#226173 writes:

I think Geno must have made a personal remark about Coach Pat. I think that remark was off the record and that coach Pat got wind of it and chose to distance herself. .

ODA751 writes:

My Lord. Did I miss something? TOCA needs a timeout.

TheVolFan writes:

Just as a side note, the UT cheerleaders were not at fault for the ORU player injury. They were told by those involved that the ORU player had already injured her knee before she hit the sign that was on the floor.

superk#226173 writes:

yep and I told my puppy it wasn't his fault he pooped on my new carpet. He didn't know it was new.

ps11824 writes:

Listen up, Tennessee is going to be target of majority ire as long as this dance lasts, and then some. You see, we are the premier program. We must expect the worst and the best from all those outside our fan base. We are getting it and we WILL handle it. When we get our own national TV sports network, we will reveal to the nation how influential ESPN can be to the tiny minds of their disciples. No matter now because we are in position to make them pay. We need only play Tennessee basketball. Our coaches walk the walk. Talking is for the Skip Balesses of the world. Tiny black & white striped clad minds will do what monkey see. If they can add fuel to the misfire of Big Orange haters, they will. The Candace Parkers and the Tyler Smiths and the Orange Nation will prevail as winners no matter how much trash talking, quick whistles, clock stopping and Auriema delima spills onto the scene. That's what we do. We play by the rules and we win the ones that count. We stand tough and tall and we do not stoop to the level of bottom feeders.

Embarrassed writes:

TOCA has a point. I remain embarrassed after the Rutgers Game and I still want to know why our beloved PAT thinks she is bigger than the game. SHe should of never taken the only relevant womens basketball game away from us.

Also, my next door neighbor works at a local tv station and has seen a couple of UT recruits brought in for a tour...... We live in a glass house....

GreerVol22 writes:

correction embarrassed, only you live in a glass house and you have nappy hair too.

tenacee#580995 writes:

TOCA, I think that your comments are out of place, and definitely on the wrong board, to say in the least. You don't have to keep trying to justify your teams actions to us. We don't care, we do not have to justify anything, to anybody, as it is apparent that you and your kind keep doing all over every board in print.

I feel for that young lady and it stops there. Your team has not done justice to her. She will have this shadow on her for the rest of her life. And she and her mother, as I read, have made some bad decisions and this team and its supporters keep on smiling and trying to justifying. It really appears that your GA has the answers, not us.

So I have held off long enough. You will not stop. So IMO every win that Uconn ladies have with this young lady playing on its team is TAINTED. So on this subject shut up. The press has it and when will it end is up to the press and you folks. Not us.

And as far as EDD. I guess good for uconn. But she hasn't played yet.

Gosh I hate to get this upset. But enough is enough. These people just can't get it. Where there is smoke there is fire, as the old saying goes.

And there is nothing in this article, about a Lady Vol Victory, about uconn. What's with these people?

I'm over it!!!!

Just My Opinion. I feel better now.

Now great win. ORU was a scrappy, tough team. And to see that young lady slip on that card was awful. Everybody feels for her. And I am sure corrections will be made. Good luck to her. Hopefully no surgery.

CP don't you remember. Don't let the refs control your game. Don't let them get in your head. And they did make some of the most unreal calls. I guess they can now tell everyone how they called a foul on CP, or something like that. I couldn't see those calls. Even on on the replays.

Go Lady Vols

johnlg00 writes:

I love Candace like a daughter--or at least like a zealous fan(;-P)--but I was glad to see the rest of the team pulling their weight. WAY too bad about the ORU girl--hope she will be OK next year, if she has one left. Losing a star player like that affects both teams--anyone on either team starts to think something like that could happen to her. That and rustiness from the long layoff probably contributed to our early sloppiness. This team has all it needs to get another championship if it keeps playing hard and smart. GO LADY VOLS!!! BOTH TEAMS IN THE WINNER'S CIRCLE!!!

adimatteo#261830 writes:

This is what it means to be spoiled! You win by 39 points, and the news opens sounding negative.
Congrats Lady Vols, lets not lose sight that it is amazing and a feat to make the tournament consistently, to win all the time in the initial rounds, it is a "Big Deal". be proud, and you all are the ones who worked, and who battle, good luck tomorrow, as usual, there will be a home court, and another team wishing they could do this one season what you all acheive all the time!!Plus you will have a building full of home fans rooting agaianst you and wanting their team to beat the defending champs!
You deserve it all, go get them, you played great...

PureOrange writes:

I hated to see the player injured, but it was plain to see that she landed awkwardly on her left leg BEFORE she put her right foot on the cheerleader board. However, I have always thought it is rather stupid to have anyone sitting so close to the end of the court. It is amazing more people are not hurt.
As to our Lady Vols, I was glad to see some of them stepping up after Candace got hosed by the refs. I do hope we will learn to move a little more, and to please, please cut out the lazy passes and relaxing on defense.
To the refs, in both men and women's games, it is nothing short of pathetic. The picky fouls called out front are ridiculous, as the no-calls underneath when people are being mugged.
And to the UConn fan on our board, you have not been invited and we do not care what you have to say.

superk#226173 writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

topgun writes:

TOCA, if we UT fans are so bad and really, really don't appreciate poor ole Geno, why reduce yourself to making posts here?

Pat can schedule anyone she wants to and U cons don't measure up to her standards.

superk#226173 writes:

Did I what? Yea I found out. And they have a surprise awaiting them. It will take a little bit of time to evolve, but......

utfpmd writes:

I wish our football team was so good that people hated Phil the way they hate Pat and Bruce!

pendav#661488 writes:

Hey UT fans

FYI-Geno just voted 2008 WOMEN BASKETBALL COACH OF THE YEAR.

UCONN #1n all the pols.

Uconn does not need TN on the schedule. ESPN is the loser.

VolCane7979 writes:

What are the "Pols"? Is that something new? I see a #1 next to Tennessee. That's all we care about. Back under your bridge, UConn troll.

anthony writes:

What is LSU doing playing on its own court?? We thought the politically correct NCAA pickin' panel had elinimated this form of biasis???

Lvolsftilldeath writes:

Any kid who thinks that going to Uconn will guarantee or give him/her an advantage over others in landing a job at ESPN is fantasizing. Who is with Reese Davis during the tournament? Which school did Stacey Dales and Kara Lawson attended? Enough said. The ability to articulate, appeal to the audience, and have a voice of logic will go a long way than having just being a Uconn grad on your resume. The last time I check it's not a Ivy league school. Also, as I watched the game Sunday night, I was shocked to find out that they just have graduation rate of 92% this was news to me.

On to Bball. I watched and taped all the broadcast game on Lvols during the season. One game that got me really sick to my stomach was the LSU and the end result was a result of complacency. That game really shot them back to reality. No matter what the score you must keep playing hard, because teams always going to give Lady Vols their best shot. I really hope they listen to Coach Summit. In Sunday's game, Oral Roberts couldn't miss 3 pointers in the first hald and Lady Vols shots weren't falling. Second half, Oral Roberts shots weren't falling as before and Lady Vols ran their offense, and up the tempo.

One poster mentioned we must focus and one game at a time, and I agreed with that. In the stands on Sunday someone had a sign about Uconn. Our focus should be on winning one at a time. If the chips fall in place, then we focus on them. As for me,I would rather them sitting at home watching us playing for Championship, than we playing them. But, if it happens that way, I really don't see them stopping us, that's from watching both team play (well just one half of one Uconn game...really couldn't bare to see them and that was enough to know that we match up with them.) Also, I'm sure other have their own opinions. I'm just going to sit back and watch the season play out. Go Lady Vols!

LadyHusky writes:

Posted by Lvolsftilldeath "Any kid who thinks that going to Uconn will guarantee or give him/her an advantage over others in landing a job at ESPN is fantasizing"

Exactly the point. Do you really believe any ncaa star would chose a school based on an ESPN tour?? Are you kidding me??? This is a non-story. ESPN is boring and many high schools in CT offer this tour. Now, because of PAT, they are no longer allowing others to benefit from this experience. Therefore, why Pat felt she had to "report" an already reported event is beyond the imagination. Why did she feel she needed to stir the pot??? What is her agenda?? She is afraid of UCONN and Geno and how irrelevant the program will be during the next few years. What decent recruit would go to UT after this classless stunt?? No one can argue that she is a great coach, but after this she lost a lot of respect. This includes "fans" from Tenn. A laughing stock!!!

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