No. 1 Tennessee 92, Vermont 52
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ When opponents even begin to hint at a rally, the Tennessee Lady Vols know it’s time to pick up the defensive intensity.
Leading by six points early in the second half,No. 1 Tennessee took control with smothering full-court pressure that led to numerous Vermont turnovers and a 92-52 victory Tuesday night.
Tennessee took advantage of the mistakes and pulled ahead 56-39 with 12:55 to play. Vermont committed seven turnovers in the key six-minute span.
``We talked at halftime about what we wanted to do defensively,″ Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said. ``We went out and wore on them. We didn’t do anything different. We just did a better job. It was just a matter of keeping the pressure on.″
Chamique Holdsclaw scored 27 points and Tamika Catchings added 15 as the Lady Vols held Vermont to 20 second-half points.
The Lady Vols led virtually the entire way in improving to 4-0. The Catamounts (3-1), who committed 38 turnovers in the game, were led in scoring by Karalyn Church with 20 points and Kate Cronin with 14.
Tennessee, which led by as many as 40 points, also got 12 points from Kelly Jolly, 11 points from Brynae Laxton and 10 points from LaShonda Stephens.
Catchings and Holdsclaw carried the load down the stretch, as Tennessee pushed the edge to 85-52 on Kelly Jolly’s driving layup at 2:21. Vermont went the final six minutes without scoring.
``They just overwhelmed us in the second half and we started breaking down some,″ Vermont coach Keith Cieplicki said. ``It started with about 17 minutes left in the second half and just exploded from there.
``We got tired. They are so consistent that when you break down at all it can get away from you.″
Tennessee got off to a slow start, falling behind 6-2 in the first two minutes. But Holdsclaw and LaShonda Stephens rallied the Lady Vols during a 12-2 run that put UT ahead 14-8.
An 8-4 run midway through the half, keyed by Laxton’s three-point play, pushed the advantage to 24-14.
The Lady Vols built the lead to 15 points late in the half and held a 42-32 edge at halftime.
Holdsclaw added eight rebounds, four steals and three assists.