Lady Vols Turn Up Defense, Top La. Tech
RUSTON, La. (AP) _ Louisiana Tech had no answer for Tennessee’s defensive pressure. The fourth-ranked Lady Vols forced 19 turnovers in the first half and beat Louisiana Tech 71-50 on Tuesday night.
``Tennessee’s length and athleticism really caused us problems, especially in the first half,″ said Tech head coach Chris Long. ``They are so talented. Our kids haven’t played against anything like that this year, and it took us the entire half to adjust.″
The Lady Vols (6-0) built a 42-15 halftime advantage and cruised the rest of the game.
``If you look at it, most of our turnovers (in the first half) weren’t because of the press. They came in the half court set. I was disappointed we didn’t execute better. I thought we did much better in the second half.″
Tech’s combination of turnovers and poor shooting (6-of-28) in the first 20 minutes of play were simply too much to overcome as Tennessee jumped out to an early lead and never looked back.
Candace Parker had 10 points, eight rebounds and seven blocked shots _ five in the first half.
``Our first half defensive intensity was really strong and disruptive and took them out of their rhythm. That’s what really got us going,″ said Tennessee coach Pat Summit.
``We were sporadic in the second half because we had a hard time having all five of our players show the type of intensity that we had in the first half.″
Even when the Lady Vols weren’t blocking shots _ they had 10 for the game _ they were forcing altered shots as Tech hit just 30 percent from the field (18-of-61) for the game.
On the plus side, Tech outrebounded Tennessee 46-37, including 23 on offense.
Down by 27 at the half, the Lady Techsters came out and outscored Tennessee 35-29 over the final 20 minutes of action. Long said it was because his team refused to quit.
``The kids rallied together in the locker room and came out and competed despite the score,″ he said.
Amber Metoyer led Tech with 13 points and nine rebounds while Shan Moore and Jokierra Sneed each added 12 points.
Dominique Redding led Tennessee with 13 points, while Alberta Auguste added 11, while Sidney Spencer had 10.