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Lady Vols Road To Redemption Continues with SEC Tournament Win over Kentucky

DULUTH, Ga. — Shekinna Stricklen scored 20 points and No. 4 Tennessee beat Kentucky (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today, No. 19 AP) 70-62 on Sunday to win the SEC tournament and possibly wrap up a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Coach Pat Summitt was so pleased she brought down the house with a postgame song.
Tennessee completed its first sweep of the Southeastern Conference’s regular-season and tournament championships in 10 years. In each case, the decisive win came against Kentucky, which improved from a .500 finish a year ago to play in its first tournament final in 28 years.
Tennessee (30-2) earned its 14th straight win to give Summitt her 19th 30-win season.
Kentucky (25-7) played tough in its first championship game appearance since winning its only title in 1982. The Wildcats, led by Victoria Dunlap’s 21 points, played even with the Lady Vols until midway through the second half.
Tennessee players celebrated at midcourt before starting to cut down the nets. Summitt then stole the microphone — and the show — when she started singing “Rocky Top.”
“You are the best fans! We love you!” Summitt said after her song.
Tennessee fans dominated the Gwinnett Arena crowd of 5,854. The orange-clad fans were especially loud when the Lady Vols took control with an 11-3 run for a 61-53 lead following a 50-50 tie.
Tennessee set a school record with 15 blocks when it clinched the SEC regular-season title with its 81-65 win over Kentucky on Feb. 25. The Wildcats showed no sign of intimidation in the rematch, even after Tennessee took an early 19-9 lead.
Kentucky answered to take its first lead with 5 minutes remaining in the half.
A layup by A’dia Mathies cut the Tennessee lead to 23-22. Amber Smith then stole the ball, drove toward the basket and made a behind-the-back pass to Dunlap, who was fouled as she scored. Dunlap’s free throw gave Kentucky a 25-23 lead.
Freshman Kamiko Williams, who didn’t score in Tennessee’s first two tournament games, answered Dunlap’s three-point play with four straight baskets, helping the Lady Vols lead 35-29 at halftime.
Tennessee center Kelley Cain picked up two quick fouls and played only three minutes in the first half. The Lady Vols’ depth showed as they held a 31-14 advantage in rebounds even playing most of the half without the 6-foot-6 Cain.
Cain had 11 points, all in the second half.
Kentucky opened the second half with an 13-3 run for a 42-38 lead. Stricklen’s three-point play and 3-point shot helped Tennessee pull even at 46-46.
Following the last tie at 50-all, Tennessee took the lead for good with an 11-3 run, which included another 3-pointer from Stricklen.
Tennessee’s Alyssia Brewer, who had eight points, was named tournament MVP.

Great job by my LadyVols! The road 2 redemption continues…Pat Summitt once again is genius for adding Alicia Manning to this starting line up, and I give much props to Alicia for understanding her role on this team, and doing it beyond anything, we could have imagined. And for her relentlessness on the offensive boards..she get’s the fans MVP. And understand I noticed the games Alyssia Brewer has been having, but Manning just doing it through hustle plays, and on both ends of the floor.

Game ball goes to the freshman Kamiko Williams…when she entered the game, the momentum was turned around back into the Lady Vols favor. Kamiko played solid on both ends of the floor, and proved that when she is focused, Shekinna Stricklen is free to be that go to player we need. Her game just becomes so much easier.

Now it will be interesting to see, if the committee will give us our WELL-EARNED #1 seed in the NCAA tournament?…San Antonio the road to redemption leads to you. Go LadyVols!!

 

Lady Vols defeat Ole Miss 75-63 to End Regular Season

KNOXVILLE — Tennessee coach Pat Summitt could tell a difference in her team in its first game since clinching the Southeastern Conference regular-season championship.
She was hardly happy about it.
Shekinna Stricklen scored 23 points to help the No. 4 Lady Volunteers fight off a second-half rally from Mississippi for a 75-63 victory Sunday night, but Summitt was in no mood to celebrate Tennessee’s 11th consecutive win to close out the regular season.
“Do I look like I’m happy? Do I sound like I’m happy?” Summitt said. “I’m disappointed in our team not bringing it all the time. If you are a team on a mission, you can see it. You can feel it, you know, and it’s just obvious. But no, in this game, we decided to pick and choose, and we had two players step up and play great.”
Alicia Manning recorded her first double-double with a career-high 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Lady Vols (27-2, 15-1 SEC), and Stricklen also had 10 rebounds.
“We won, and I know it’s not one of our best games,” Stricklen said. “But right now, we just have to let it go and just get ready for tournament time, and just go hard in every one of the games we play.”
The Rebels (16-13, 6-8) got 34 points from Bianca Thomas and erased a double-digit deficit in the second half only to lose for the eighth time in 10 games and the second time this season against Tennessee.
Elizabeth Robertson’s putback with 12:37 remaining completed Mississippi’s comeback to tie the score at 50, but Tennessee put away the game by scoring 17 of the next 21 points.
Thomas, the SEC’s leading scorer, hit 11 of 27 field goals and four of her 10 3-point attempts to post the second-highest point total of her senior season.
“I think she proved to everyone again tonight that she is one of the top players in the conference,” Rebels coach Renee Ladner said. “She’s still the leading scorer in the conference. I’ve said it all year. I think she’s been a little disrespected, and she continues to prove people wrong. She was just outstanding for our team.”
This one lacked some of the late drama of the last two meetings between the teams, both of which were won on last-second shots by Lady Vols guard Angie Bjorklund.
“It’s happened two years straight,” Thomas said. “Angie got a shot at the end in Oxford. It was very heartbreaking, not only to me but to the whole team.”
The two teams could meet again in just a few days. The loss dropped Mississippi to the No. 9 seed for this week’s SEC tournament in Duluth, Ga., where the Rebels will open Thursday against eighth-seeded South Carolina.
The winner will advance to play Tennessee for the third time this season on Friday.
“If we have to play Ole Miss again, that’s a big challenge,” Summitt said. “South Carolina is playing well.”
The Lady Vols scored the game’s first eight points in less than two minutes — including two 3s by Stricklen — and took a 40-32 advantage into halftime.
Stricklen finished with double-digit scoring for the sixth consecutive game for Tennessee, which shot 42.6 percent and scored 34 points in the paint.
“I think she’s been in the gym and getting up just shot after shot after shot,” Summitt said of Stricklen. “She’s just committed to being a player that’s going to have repetition offensively, and not just occasionally but often.”

Wow who would have ever thought that ALICIA MANNING was going to become the X-factor on this LadyVols team? I must admit, I didn’t at the beginning of the season, but every since she was inserted into the starting lineup, Alicia Manning has been playing like a woman possessed. Eating up rebounds on the offensive end, and laying the ball back up. Now if she get’s more confident to take the WIDE-OPEN jump shots, the opponents are done for. I am so happy to see her get an opportunity, but glad she doesn’t have to be the point guard, just able to be like a roamer on defense, and she takes it personally, and I love that. She get’s in there and mix it up with the best of them, and her toughness can not be denied. Alicia Manning I tip my hat to you, the Ladyvols are undefeated with you in the starting line-up, and now it’s tournament time.
THE ROAD TO REDEMPTION CONTINUES.

 

LadyVols Defeat Alabama 74-67 (Pat Summitt Not Happy)

At least it wasn’t a lost night.
The Lady Vols erased any lingering possibility of the unthinkable against the SEC’s last-place team with a scoring spurt inside the final 10 minutes. It provided sufficient breathing room for a 74-67 women’s a.inline_topic:hover { background-color: #EAEAEA; } basketball victory before a Pink Zone crowd of 3,900 at Coleman Coliseum.
The outcome didn’t provide much in the way of solace, however.
“It’s an opportunity for our basketball team to take a look at who we are,’’ UT coach a.inline_topic:hover { background-color: #EAEAEA; } Pat Summitt said. “… We disrespected the game of basketball tonight.”
Alyssia Brewer, who started in place of Kelley Cain, scored a team-high 20 points for No. 5 Tennessee (24-2, 12-1 SEC). She also grabbed 10 rebounds. Shekinna Stricklen scored 14 points and Angie Bjorklund had 13
Freshman guard Celiscia Farmer made her first career start and scored a career-high 21 for Alabama (10-16, 2-11).
The Crimson Tide committed 24 turnovers, which resulted in a corresponding 27-14 Tennessee advantage in points off turnovers. That helped cover for the Lady Vols being outrebounded 45-33 and shooting 11 for 24 from the free throw line.
The Crimson Tide became just the second team to outrebound Tennessee this season (the other was No. 2 Stanford) and shot 45.9 percent from the floor, a season best by a UT opponent.
“We had a chance, if we had made some shots, to pull off something big,’’ Alabama coach Wendell Hudson said.
Tennessee came to Tuscaloosa without Cain, who stayed in Knoxville to attend classes. Alabama, on the other hand, began without its usual starting five, sending reserves Alyson Butler, Carmen McCoy, Katie Hancock, Tamara Williams and Farmer out for the opening tip.
“We were going to play who will play hard,’’ Hudson said. “That’s the group that was playing hardest in practice.”
Alabama’s new lineup played UT to standstill until the usual starters checked in with 14:14 left in the first half, establishing the rebounding dominance and shooting accuracy.
Tennessee, meanwhile, wasn’t establishing much of anything.

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2010 in alabama, ladyvols, pat summitt, tennessee, UT

 

Kelly Cain Will Not Make The Trip To Alabama

Tennessee center Kelley Cain will not be making the trip for Thursday’s game at Alabama in order to attend classes on campus.

UT coach Pat Summitt said during her teleconference today that she offered to allow the 6-foot-6 center to stay in Knoxville and Cain’s response was “Coach that would be awesome.”

Cain, who is an honor-roll student majoring in marketing, has a heavy class load on Thursday and the Lady Vols have been on the road for three of the last four Thursday games, which has limited her attendance. Alyssia Brewer will start in Cain’s absence.

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Posted by on February 17, 2010 in alabama, kelly cain, ladyvols, pat summitt, tennessee, UT

 

KAMIKO WILLIAMS WILL START FOR UT LADYVOLS VS ARKANSAS

Tennessee's Kamiko Williams  (4) drives for the basket as South Carolina's Samone Kennedy (4) and Ashley Bruner (21) look on during the first half of the game in Columbia, S.C.

Photo by Mary Ann Chastain
BEFORE YOU READ THIS, LET IT BE KNOWN THAT I BEEN SAYING THIS SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE SEASON!! OPPONENTS IT JUST GOT REAL!
Tennessee’s Kamiko Williams (4) drives for the basket as South Carolina’s Samone Kennedy (4) and Ashley Bruner (21) look on during the first half of the game in Columbia, S.C.

After Kamiko Williams’ strong supporting performance, the Tennessee freshman will be playing the lead role at point guard.
UT coach Pat Summitt said Monday that Williams will start Thursday when the Lady Vols face Arkansas in an SEC women’s basketball game at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Sophomore Shekinna Stricklen, who had been the starting point guard, will line up for the opening tip against the Razorbacks at a wing position while continuing to help at the point.
“I think she truly wants to help our team and she knows she can,’’ Summitt said of Williams. “I think she’s more serious now than at any point in time. Off the bounce, she’s the best we’ve got.”
Williams relieved Stricklen at South Carolina and responded with a season-high 17 points and a team-high four assists in a 60-55 comeback victory. Even after Stricklen returned in the second half, the 5-foot-11 Williams manned the point for some key possessions down the stretch.
South Carolina coach Dawn Staley described Williams as “a luxury” as a reserve and said that her size created a matchup problem for South Carolina’s players.
“We’ve always told her she has such potential,’’ UT teammate Angie Bjorklund said after Sunday’s game. “She just has to play with confidence.”
Williams’ role was upgraded after Stricklen suffered through a three-game stretch in January in which she committed 19 turnovers. Summitt and associate head coach Holly Warlick compiled a DVD of five set plays for Williams to study and she did her best to get a better handle on UT’s offense.
Williams, who played point and shooting guard at Northeast High in Clarksville, Tenn., ran the point while Stricklen was at the wing during portions of last Thursday’s 85-56 victory over Auburn.
Summitt thinks the lineup change ought to be a relief to Stricklen.
“I think her not feeling the burden of playing that position all the time will be good,’’ Summitt said. “I think she’ll be more comfortable when she knows she has help. I think she saw (Sunday) that she has some help.”
Stricklen scored all nine of her points against South Carolina in the second half.
The role of backup point guard Briana Bass, on the other hand, remains in flux. She played one minute Sunday. Summitt said the decision was based on UT going to its zone defense and utilizing the Lady Vols’ height.
“I think it all depends on situations in the game,’’ Summitt said.
In starting Williams, Summitt is mindful of filling a key role with a player who she has criticized this season for suspect work habits and a casual demeanor.
“It all depends on her,’’ Summitt said. “I can’t tell you she’s going to be doing this all the time. She’s young. We’ll take this one game at a time.”

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2010 in kamiko, ladyvols, tennessee, UT, williams

 

MY TAKE ON THE AUBURN GAME/SC LADYVOLS

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2010 in ladyvolnation, ladyvols, Pat, Summitt, tennessee, UT

 
 
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