No. 6 Tennessee 85, UCLA 64
Tennessee set a new standard in the first 16 minutes Saturday
when it comes to hot shooting.
The No. 6 Lady Vols stunned the UCLA women by making 18 of their
first 20 shots – many from long range – in rolling to an 85-64
triumph over the dazed Bruins before a sellout crowd of 2,025 at
the John Wooden Center.
As might be expected, Tennessee cooled off a bit, shooting just
under 70 percent (36 of 52) behind a balanced attack in which all
five starters scored in double figures.
”Obviously we shot the ball really, really well,” coach Pat
Summitt said after the Lady Vols threatened to break the school
record of 72.1 percent shooting against Old Dominion on Jan. 4,
1989 before cooling off. ”When you shoot like that, you feel good.
I think that gave them a lot more energy and a lot more
Meighan Simmons scored 18 points; Glory Johnson added 17; Vicki
Baugh had 14 points and 12 rebounds; Taber Spani scored all 14 of
her points in the first half; and Shekinna Stricklen added 11
despite dealing with an illness for Tennessee.
”It was awesome, it was exciting to see,” associate head coach
Holly Warlick said. ”It was a special day for everybody. We got
stops when we needed to, we played well together, we distributed
”They took great shots. I really don’t recall as a coach them
taking a bad shot. We took good shots. I can’t say enough about
Rebekah Gardner scored 15 of her career-high 24 points in the
first half for UCLA (5-4). Markel Walker had 11 points and eight
rebounds and Thea Lemberger added 11 points and six assists for the
Bruins, who outrebounded Tennessee 31-28 and had 19 offensive
rebounds to only four for the Lady Vols.
Of course, when a team shoots like the Lady Vols did, there
aren’t many offensive rebounds to be had.
”When we’re on, it brings the team together,” Simmons said.
”Today, it got our momentum going. When it mattered, we really hit
some good shots.”
The win was the fourth straight for the Lady Vols (7-2) and
their 18th in 19 meetings all-time against UCLA. It also raised
Summitt’s career record to 1,078-201.
The 59-year-old Hall of Famer, in her 38th season at Tennessee,
is the only coach in NCAA men’s and women’s basketball history to
reach 1,000 wins. She remains on the job despite having been
diagnosed last May with early onset Alzheimer’s.
First-year UCLA coach Cori Close was upbeat afterward despite
the one-sided loss.
”We’re going to learn a lot from this,” she said. ”Our goal
as a defensive team is to force them to take one hard shot. They
made them. I give them all the credit in the world for the hard
”We didn’t get rewarded by the win today, but it’s a step in
The Lady Vols never trailed, making their first eight shots,
including three 3-pointers, for a 19-8 lead. The Bruins went on a
10-3 run to draw within four points before Tennessee had a 21-9
burst to make it 43-27. The Lady Vols then missed five of six
shots, leaving them shooting 19 of 25 (76 percent) and with a 45-34
lead at halftime.
Tennessee outscored the Bruins 9-2 to begin the second half for
a 54-36 lead. UCLA wasn’t closer than 13 points after that. A layup
by Baugh with 7:29 remaining made it 74-52, with Tennessee shooting
32 of 43 (74.4 percent) from the field at that stage.
There were only four fouls called and just one free throw in the
first half, and 17 fouls and 18 free throws in the game.
”It was like a college men’s game. It’s crazy,” Gardner said
of Tennessee’s hot shooting. ”If we take what we learned from this
game, we’ll do good things in the Pac-12.”
The Lady Vols conclude a two-game trip through California on
Tuesday night against No. 4 Stanford (7-1), an 85-66 winner over
Princeton earlier Saturday.
Tennessee played its third straight game without starting point
guard Ariel Massengale, who dislocated her left middle finger
during practice earlier this month. Warlick said she believes
Massengale will return to action soon.
The game was supposed to pit former Tennessee star Nikki
Caldwell against her former team and mentor, but that changed when
Caldwell quit as UCLA coach last summer to take the LSU job. The
Bruins lost to Caldwell and the Tigers 58-41 last Tuesday night in
UCLA, ranked 22nd in the preseason AP poll, is playing without
senior forward Jasmine Dixon, its second-leading scorer and top
rebounder last year. Dixon tore her Achilles tendon before the