Tennessee 65, Marist 46 - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Tennessee 65, Marist 46

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) - Coach Pat Summitt spares no one her stony
glare - even Candace Parker.

It didn't matter that Parker hit her first eight shots, or that
top-seeded Tennessee was in command and about to end Marist's
inspiring tournament run with a 65-46 victory Sunday in the Dayton
Regional semifinals.

Parker keyed a 14-0 first-half that put Tennessee in control,
and finished with 16 points and nine rebounds. But when she didn't
fight through a pick that resulted in a Marist layup early in the
second half, Summitt called timeout. The coach stared at Parker all
the way to the bench, a stern lecture to follow.

"Since it was aimed at me, I'll answer the question," Parker
said with a grin when Summitt's displeasure was mentioned. "Coach
very calmly told me that I needed to play better defense. I didn't
come out with the same intensity in the second half. So it was a
timeout for Candace."

And tournament time was up for the Red Foxes.
Marist, a 4,000-student school in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., was just
the third No. 13 seed to make it to the round of 16 in NCAA
history.

"We went up against a tremendous basketball team today," coach
Brian Giorgis said. "It's tough to lose, but to lose to that team
is really not that tough."

Shannon Bobbitt and Sidney Spencer each had 11 for Tennessee
(31-3), which improved its record to 22-4 in regional semifinals.
The Lady Vols, a part of all 26 NCAA tournaments, ran their record
to 95-19 in the tournament. Tennessee will face fellow SEC school
Mississippi in the next round with a trip to the Final Four on the
line.

"We knew that a lot of people wanted us to lose, wanted the
Cinderella story to continue," the Vols' Alexis Hornbuckle said.
"So we just relied on each other and said, we want this story to
end now. We just came out with great intensity in the first half."
Meg Dahlman had 16 points and Rachele Fitz 13 for Marist (29-6),
which had never won an NCAA tournament game until last weekend.

The Red Foxes stunned fourth-seeded Ohio State 67-63 in the first round
and fifth-seeded Middle Tennessee 73-59 in the second round, ending
the Blue Raiders' 27-game winning streak.

Tennessee looked crisp and exacting, shooting 58 percent to 39
percent for Marist, which came in as the national leader with just
11.5 turnovers a game. But the Lady Vols had seven steals and
forced 10 turnovers in the first half, and the Red Foxes ended up
with 15 turnovers thanks to Tennessee's trapping half-court
pressure.

"Our perimeter defensive pressure was very effective," Summitt
said. "Bringing the pressure in the first half might have been key
for us."

Despite a solid turnout of Red Foxes supporters, the arena was
mostly orange. Tennessee travels as well if not better than any
team in the country, and Lady Vols fans had no trouble making the
260-mile trip from Knoxville to Dayton.

Marist fans held signs that read "Believe." Parker and
Tennessee, however, were unbelievable.
A slow start was about the last thing the Red Foxes needed.
Trailing 8-5 after Dahlman scored off an assist from Nikki Flores,
they didn't score again for 8½ minutes.

"They took us out of what we like to do," Giorgis said. "We
don't have the biggest or strongest team in the world, but we have
a lot of heart and we don't quit."
Tennessee's harassing defense was its old methodical self. On
offense, the Lady Vols would hit a 3 or pound the ball inside to
Parker, who hit 8-of-10 from the floor. Tennessee did not turn the
ball over during its 14-0 run.

Spencer hit a jumper and then a 3-pointer before Hornbuckle
stepped in a passing lane and completed a breakaway layup. Bobbitt
then threaded a pass to Parker to make it 17-5. After Bobbitt's
free throw, Nicky Anosike and Hornbuckle each scored inside to make
it 22-5.

The Red Foxes didn't break through until Lynzee Johnson's
3-pointer, ending a string of eight consecutive misses from the
field with six turnovers.

By halftime it was 42-21. Parker took over after the Lady Vols
built the big early lead, finishing the half 7-for-7 from the field
for 14 points in 14 minutes.

"Survive and advance, that's what you want," Summit said.
Giorgis said his team had fun while it lasted.

"For Tennessee, it's an expectation," Giorgis said. "But for
us, it's the greatest moment in our athletic lives. I think we
represented the mid-majors very well."

Powered by Frankly