No. 4 Tennessee 82, South Carolina 60
Pat Summitt is a big fan of the way Alicia Manning plays
defense. The reserve forward has spent extra time shooting in the
gym this season in hopes of pleasing her coach just as much with
her offensive output.
Manning scored a career-high 22 points to lead No. 4 Tennessee
to an 82-60 win over South Carolina on Thursday night, its 40th
consecutive win in the series.
”I think she’s a player that’s really invested in her game, and
there’s no substitute for getting in the gym and getting extra
shots,” Summitt said. ”She’s playing with a lot of confidence.
She’s extended her range, which I think has really, really helped
The victory secures at least a share of the Southeastern
Conference regular-season crown for the Lady Volunteers. A win over
second-place Georgia on Monday would give them their 16th title and
third in four seasons.
Manning scored from all over the floor, going 8 of 11 from the
field, hitting three of her four attempts from 3-point range and
going 3 of 4 from the foul line.
She hit a 3-pointer to cap an early 17-2 run that gave the Lady
Vols a 21-7 lead with 10:07 left in the first half. After going
8:12 without hitting a field goal, South Carolina got back-to-back
3s by Markeshia Grant and a layup from Ieasia Walker to cut
Tennessee’s margin to 21-5.
The Gamecocks pulled within five points a few minutes later off
a three-point play by Walker, but it was the closest they would
get. Another Manning 3 pushed Tennessee’s lead back into double
digits with 1:32 to go before halftime, and the Lady Vols (25-2,
13-0) pulled away quickly in the second half.
”I’ve been shooting (3-pointers) a lot more in practice,”
Manning said. ”I was feeling a really good rhythm, so I just took
Meighan Simmons scored 17 points for the Lady Vols, Shekinna
Stricklen contributed 12 points and 10 rebounds and Alyssia Brewer
grabbed 10 boards.
Walker scored 16 points for South Carolina (15-11, 7-6), which
hasn’t beaten Tennessee since Jan. 23, 1980. Valerie Nainima hit
four 3-pointers and finished with 15 points.
”I think we passed the ball well. We had a lot of assists
tonight,” Walker said. ”We need to move a little bit quicker, but
we had a lot of good things we can take from this game.”
Tennessee also got a win at South Carolina this season,
overcoming 24 turnovers and surviving a late run by the Gamecocks
en route to a 71-56 win on Jan. 20.
That loss seemed to spark the Gamecocks, who won five of their
next six games, including victories over ranked foes Georgia and
Kentucky during the stretch.
South Carolina did its best to keep pace with the Lady Vols in
hopes of getting its third win over a ranked opponent for a second
season in a row. The Gamecocks fired away from around the perimeter
but hit only 34.9 percent of their shots and finished 8 of 22 from
Things got a little scrappy around the basket at times during
the first half. South Carolina was charged with 13 fouls in the
first half, leading to 11-of-17 shooting from the free throw line
by Tennessee, while Stricklen got called for a technical after
tangling with Ashley Bruner on a free-throw shot by teammate Glory
The Lady Vols finished 16 of 25 from the charity stripe,
outrebounded South Carolina 51-30 and turned 16 offensive boards
into 19 second-chance points.
”The outrebounded us by 20 in the last game. We knew it was a
difficult feat to outrebound them, but we thought that if we could
cut the deficit down by half it would give us a chance to compete
and maybe sneak out with a win,” Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley
”When you have waves of players coming in like they have, it
wears you down. If you don’t have players to match up with them,
you’re in for a long night,” she said.