Dec. 12, 2010
Box Score |
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Tennessee's tough, two-game Texas swing got off to a rousing start.
Angie Bjorklund scored 20 points in the first half and Meighan Simmons added 18 and the eighth-ranked Lady Vols pulled away in the second half to coast to a 92-77 victory over No. No. 21 Texas on Sunday.
Bjorklund provided the early punch with four 3-pointers in the first half, then Simmons took over in the second as the Lady Vols (9-1) sent Texas (5-3) to its third consecutive loss.
As soon as it was over, the Lady Vols turned their attention to their big Tuesday night showdown with No. 2 Baylor just 100 miles north in Waco. Baylor knocked Tennessee out of the NCAA tournament last season.
"We've been looking forward to (Baylor) for a while," Bjorklund said. "When that game ended, my mind went to Baylor. I'm not going to lie."
Kathleen Nash scored 21 points to lead Texas, which committed its season average of 20 turnovers that led to 23 Tennessee points. The loss also snapped Texas' 27-game non-conference winning streak at home.
"The guard play we have allows us to be out and bring the heat early. Watching them on tape, Texas does a great job of pushing tempo. We knew we had to match that intensity," Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said. "Our depth definitely helped us in this game, being able to rotate and keep people fresh."
Tennessee shot 51 percent in the first half. Bjorklund made a variety of shots, hitting 4 of 8 3-pointers or driving at will. Her reverse dribble around the perimeter and burst along the baseline for a reverse layup put the Lady Vols up 38-29.
Tennessee led by as many as nine points in the half and kept finding the shots it needed to end Texas rallies. The Longhorns got within 40-37 on Yvonne Anderson's 3-pointer before Bjorklund made her fourth 3-pointer of the half in a 6-0 run.
Nash kept making the shots that kept the Lady Vols from pulling too far away. Nash was 6 of 8 from the field in the first half with four 3-pointers. A defensive lapse by the Lady Vols let Nash slip into the right wing for a wide-open 3-pointer with 5 seconds left to pull the Longhorns within 48-42.
"We made them pay for being in their zone. In the second half, we made too many turnovers and that led to transition for them," Nash said.
Texas clamped down on Bjorklund in the second half, holding her to just one shot over the first 12 minutes. But the Lady Vols finally pushed to their first double-digit lead on consecutive fast breaks after Texas missed shots.
Bjorklund fired a long pass to Simmons for an easy layup and 20 seconds later, Simmons was out front on another break. She missed the contested layup but Kelley Cain was there for an easy putback and a 65-54 lead with 13:43 to play.
The lightning-quick Simmons was on the run in just about every Tennessee break. Her layup started an 11-1 Tennessee run that put the game away. Taber Spani made a 3-pointer from the left corner and Shekinna Stricklen had a fastbreak layup and a three-point play to put the Lady Vols up 82-64 with 6:38 left.
- Texas is now 20-12 all-time against Tennessee. The loss snapped Texas' winning streak of 27 consecutive non-conference regular season victories at the Frank Erwin Center.
- UT's 32 3FG attempts were its most of the season.
- Posted her sixth double-digit scoring effort of the season with 18 points (5-of-15 FG, 1-of-8 3FG, 7-of-8 FT)
- Has recorded double-figures in all but one game played this season
- Also pulled down six rebounds and picked up three steals
- Posted her fifth-straight double-digit scoring effort of the season with 20 points (8-of-20 FG, 1-of-6 3FG, 3-of-4 FT)
- Scored 10 or more points for the seventh time this year and 31st time of her career
- Scored 20 or more points for the fourth time this year and 10th time of her career
- Dished out five assists marking the fourth game this season she has recorded five or more assists
- Pulled down team-high 10 rebounds to lead the Horns for the fourth time this season and 15th time of her career
- Pulled down season-high six blocks, one shy of career high, marking the sixth game this season she has posted four or more blocks
- Has 197 career blocks, placing her fourth all-time at Texas
- Played a career-high 40 minutes
- Posted 11 points (4-of-9 FG, 2-of-5 3FG, 1-of-2 FT) for her sixth double-digit scoring effort this season and the 12th of her career
- Recorded her eighth-straight double-digit scoring effort with season-high tying 21 points (7-of-13 FG, 5-of-10 3FG, 2-of-2 FT)
- Has scored 10 or more points in all eight games this season and 61 times in her career
- Has scored 20 or more points two times this season and 11 times in her career
- Is the only Longhorn to score in double-digits in all eight games this season
- Scored 11 straight points for the Longhorns from 14:51 to 9:39 in the first half
- Tied career-high with five made from 3-point range
- Made at least one three-point basket for the 20th straight game dating back to Feb. 3, 2010 when she did not make one
- With five made from beyond the arc, now has 184 career 3-pointers, moving her into sole possession of fourth place all-time at UT
- With 21 points, now has 1,194 career points, placing her 24th all time at UT.
- Played in a season-high and career-high tying 40 minutes
Head Coach Gail Goestenkors
Opening statement: That's just a tough game. I was proud overall with how the team battled. We kept hanging in and fighting back and we hit that spell in the second half where I felt like we hit the wall. It doesn't take long against a great team like Tennessee where a six-point lead becomes a 16-point lead so that was a tough stretch for us, but I think we will learn a great deal from this game. It was a tough game for us, especially because they have so much depth and they're so talented, and to have a couple of our players out I think made it much more difficult for us. I was proud of AG [Ashley Gayle] and Kat [Nash] in particular because they didn't get a whole lot of rest, but I thought they competed and I thought they were warriors. We will learn from this game and get better. That's what these games early on before the Big 12 conference are all about.
On the difficulty of preparing for Tennessee's versatility: Absolutely. We didn't know what kind of line up they would start. They have changed their lineups a little bit recently. When [Kelley] Cain's in there they are so big and strong, and when [Shekinna] Stricklen is out on the perimeter they are one of the toughest, tallest teams to guard. Lately they have been going a little bit smaller, with Kamiko [Williams] in there and [Meighan] Simmons. They have one of the quickest backcourts in the country, so they aren't as big. Stricklen and Glory Johnson are match up problems wherever they are because they're so athletic. Stricklen in particular because she can take you out and hit the three but also can post up on the low block. It's tough to prepare for everything.
Senior Forward Kathleen Nash
On the difference between the first and second halves: I think in the first half we were playing a lot better. We didn't have as many turnovers and we made them pay for being in their zone. In the second half, we just turned it over too much and that lead to too many transition points for them. It was tiring for us to keep turning over the ball and having to run back. We just never really got into a better flow.
Junior Center Ashley Gayle
On feeling worn down: I don't think I was wormn down. I did play a lot of minutes today, probably the most this season, but I think that there were times where we just hit walls during the second half. Of course, I have my teammates there making sure everybody's energy is still up and keeping positive, so I think that definitely helped.
Head Coach Pat Summitt
Opening Statement: Obviously, I'm really pleased with how our team competed. I thought being able to get five people in double figures was really key for us. We had some really good balance. I liked the energy level we played at. I thought we maintained that throughout the game. I had some people come off the bench and do a good job as well. Big win for us. Texas has a great team and for us to come on the road and have the mindset that we had. I'm very happy for this basketball team and our program.
On having more points off of turnovers than Texas and if it was because of Tennessee's pressure or Texas' young team: It could be the combination, but I think this team, the guard play we have, allows us to be out and bring the heat early and pick up early. Just watching them on tape, Texas does a great job of pushing tempo. We knew we had to match that intensity and slow them down. I thought we had some success there. It was very important because from what I was on tape, I knew they would be running the ball up our backs.
Junior Forward Shekinna Stricklen
On being a versatile player: I'm just trying to help out, especially with the injuries that we've had in the post. I'm just trying to help out until some of our posts get back. God blessed me with this gift that I can play several positions. The team needs me right now on the inside.
Freshman Guard Meighan Simmons
On having a big cheering section for this game: I know I was glad to have my family there. I haven't seen them in a while. There were a lot of people there.
Senior Forward Angie Bjorkland
On the team's depth: I think our depth is great. If one person's not hitting shots, another person is going to step up, and when we're all hitting, like tonight, then that's great, too.