Lady Vols accomplish mission in lopsided win over Arkansas
By: By Beth Rucker, Associated Press Writer
KNOXVILLE (AP) — Candace Parker knew the Lady Vols wanted to get off to a quick start against Arkansas. Mission accomplished.
No. 2 Tennessee jumped out to an 18-0 lead in a 98-55 rout of Arkansas on Thursday night, tying the team record of 13 3-pointers along the way.
“That was our goal — to get out to a great start,” said Parker, who scored 24 points. “The shots were falling, we were playing good defense and making steals. We held them scoreless through the first timeout.”
The margin of victory was the largest of the season for the Lady Vols (17-1, 5-0 Southeastern Conference), who shot 50 percent from the field and 43.3 percent from behind the arc.
Angie Bjorklund scored a career-high 29 points and tied the Lady Vols 3-point record for the third time this season, hitting 7-of-16. The freshman had four open shots in the last three minutes to break the record but missed all of them.
“The team was trying to get me the ball tonight,” she said. “We’ve got a lot of games left. We’ll see if the record comes.”
Ayana Brereton finally found the basket for Arkansas (16-4, 1-4) with 15:17 left in the first half, earning applause from the Lady Vols fans.
Brereton finished with 13 points. Sarah Pfeifer led the Lady Razorbacks with 16 points and Brittney Vaughn had 11.
“The game was over at the beginning,” Pfeifer said.
The Lady Razorbacks missed Lauren Ervin perhaps more than ever.
The senior, who leads the team with 16.2 points and 11.2 rebounds per game, is out for the season after tearing a knee ligament against LSU in the conference opener on Jan. 10.
Tennessee was missing one of its own best shooters in Alexis Hornbuckle, who is second on the team with 11.1 points per game. Hornbuckle missed the game because she was undergoing scheduled medical testing but was expected to return Monday against No. 10 Duke.
Bjorklund got hot in the first half, sinking 6-of-8 from the field and 5-of-7 from 3-point range. Fellow freshman Sydney Smallbone also added three 3s in the first half.
“In recruiting we identified them as two of the best shooters in their class,” Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said. “We expected to add to our back court and 3-point game. I am pleased where we are with both of them.”
Smallbone and Nicky Anosike both finished with 12 points and Anosike grabbed 11 rebounds.
The Lady Razorbacks cut the margin to 28-15 with 10:23 in the first half with an 8-0 run on the shooting of Vaughn and Pfeifer.
But Parker helped the Lady Vols build their lead up to 56-28 at halftime, stealing the ball from Brittney Richardson, dribbling behind her back and breaking away for a one-handed layup with 42 seconds left.
Tennessee slowly built its lead after the half, but Arkansas’ 37.5 percent 3-point shooting kept the margin from growing larger.
The Lady Vols dominated the Lady Razorbacks in every category, leading rebounding 48-31, bench points 25-10, second-chance points 18-2, points off turnovers 30-18 and points in the paint 40-14.
Tennessee had not hit 13 treys since 2005, against Mississippi.
“I didn’t take the Arkansas job to get humbled by Tennessee every time I come into this arena,” Arkansas coach Tom Collen said. “I think we can get there, but we are in the beginning phases.”