Tennessee 77, Virginia 56
TERESA M. WALKER
Mar. 25, 2000
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) _ Tamika Catchings scored 28 points as top-seeded Tennessee won its 18th straight game, routing Virginia 77-56 Saturday in the Mideast Regional semifinals of the NCAA women's tournament.
The victory puts the Lady Vols (31-3) into their sixth straight regional championship and 16th in 19 years. They will play either No. 2 seed Notre Dame or third-seeded Texas Tech on Monday night.
The last thing Virginia (25-9) wanted was to run with the quicker Lady Vols, but the Cavaliers found themselves sprinting from the opening tip.
Catchings scored the first six points, and Tennessee quickly built its lead to 18 as Virginia, which averaged 17.3 turnovers a game, had that many in the first half.
Sometimes it was the Lady Vols' pressing defense. On many of the others, the Cavaliers looked nervous and simply threw the ball away.
Virginia finished with a season-high 27 turnovers compared to just 13 for Tennessee.
Semeka Randall added 19 points as Tennessee now has beaten Virginia 10 times in their 11-game series. Michelle Snow added 11 points and nine rebounds, and April McDivitt had 13.
Virginia, trying to reach its first regional final since 1996, finally settled down in front of the pro-Tennessee crowd. The Cavaliers outplayed Tennessee over the first eight minutes of the second half and got within 45-42, its smallest margin since the opening minute, on an 11-0 run keyed by a pair of Lisa Hosac's 3-pointers.
That would be it as Tennessee responded with an 20-3 run. The Lady Vols took their biggest lead of the game at 22 twice, the last at 1:39 from a McDivitt jumper at the top of the key.
Svetlana Volnaya led Virginia with 18 points, and Schuye LaRue finished with 10 points and nine turnovers.