Coach Summitt, Grentz Meet at Maui
LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) _ Tennessee coach Pat Summitt and Illinois coach Theresa Grentz have both played a big part of the remarkable growth of women’s basketball during the last 30 years.
They were teammates on the U.S. national team that won a silver medal in the 1973 World University Games held in the Soviet Union.
Summitt has won six national championships at Tennessee, second only in NCAA basketball to John Wooden’s 10 at UCLA. Grentz was the country’s first full-time women’s basketball coach at Rutgers in 1976, and has taken nine teams to the NCAA tournament the last 14 years.
The two, who have combined to win almost 1,300 games in their careers, get to make a little more history Saturday when their teams meet in the championship game of the inaugural women’s Maui Invitational.
Second-ranked Tennessee advanced with an 86-58 victory Clemson on Friday, while No. 21 Illinois beat Alcorn State 73-56.
``It was really momentous to play in that first game,″ Grentz said. ``I got chills when they presented the ceremonial game ball. I only hope that by 2025 this tournament has a tremendous history like the men’s version does.″
Grentz was then asked about preparing her team to meet Tennessee.
``Is any game good preparation for Tennessee?″ she answered. ``Obviously you know you’ll have to deal with their pressure and with us being young we’ll have to handle that.″
Tennessee (2-0) looked impressive in the second half against Clemson (0-2) in pulling away from a 38-34 halftime lead.
Most impressive for the Lady Vols was reigning national player of the year Tamika Catchings, who despite playing only 16 minutes because of first-half foul trouble and a second-half hand injury, had 20 points.
``I really don’t know how I hurt my hand,″ Catchings said. ``All I know is I looked down and there was a lot of blood. I have a cut between my fingers and they think I might need some stitches.
``It was frustrating sitting on the bench in the first half because I felt like I let my team down. But they stepped up big when it counted.″
Catchings picked up her second foul six minutes into the game and was on the bench the rest of the half. She scored the first four points of the second half as part of a 10-2 run that gave the Lady Vols a 48-36 lead with 17:46 to play, and they pulled away from there.
Tennessee went up 77-52 with 5:50 left on a 3-pointer by Catchings _ giving her nine points in the 3 1/2 minutes she came back with the second and third fingers of her left, non-shooting hand taped together. She was on the bench for good 21 seconds later.
``There’s an obvious difference when Tamika is in the game,″ Tennessee guard Kara Lawson said. ``She poses a real perimeter threat for us and I think we settle down with her in there.″
Lawson and Kristin Clement each had 11 points for Tennessee, which shot 51.6 percent (32-for-62) and finished with a 53-35 advantage on the boards.
``They are the very best offensive rebounding in basketball, men’s or women’s,″ Clemson coach Jim Davis said. ``They do a great job crashing the boards.″
Chrissy Floyd had 16 points to lead the Tigers, who shot just 31.3 percent (20-for-64).
``Their in-your-face defense will create some poor shooting games,″ Davis said.
Against Illinois (2-0), the Lady Vols will again be without starting guard Semeka Randall and reserve center Shalon Pillow, neither of whom made the trip to Hawaii for violating team rules.
``Without Semeka we’re forced to start subbing early on the wing, but that meant minutes for the freshmen,″ Summitt said.
Grentz knows about freshmen as she starts three along with sophomore guard Shavonna Hunter, who had 16 points against Alcorn State, and junior forward Allison Curtin, who had 13.
Daisha Reed had 13 points for Alcorn State (0-3).