Heroic Lady Vol modest
Posted: Friday, December 19, 2008 8:16 pm
By: By HANK KURZ Jr., AP Sports Writer
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Angie Bjorklund called it “just one of those days” and shrugged her shoulders, but the Tennessee teammates she’d just finished rescuing knew differently.
“Every time we need a tough shot, Angie was there to knock it down,” said Alyssia Brewer after Bjorklund matched her career-high with 29 points and hit two huge 3-pointers.
That helped No. 11 11 Tennessee get back to its winning ways Thursday night by beating Old Dominion 81-76.
Tennessee (8-2), coming off a 73-59 loss at Texas that knocked it out of the Top 10 after a record 211 consecutive weeks there, won for the 13th straight time in the series between two of the schools that first brought women’s college basketball to prominence.
And even if she didn’t want to say it, Bjorklund was the reason why, scoring 20 points in the second half as the Lady Monarchs pulled ahead several times thinking ‘upset.’
Jessica Canady’s putback and Jazzmin Walters’ layup gave the Lady Monarchs a 67-65 lead with 4:56 left but, just as the crowd whipped itself into an upset-minded frenzy, Bjorklund’s fifth 3-pointer put the Lady Vols back in front. It was the first of her two daggers.
The second came with 1:51 to play, after Shadasia Green’s putback gave the Lady Monarchs the lead at 71-70, again igniting the crowd of 6,318. This time, Bjorklund connected from deep on the left wing to restore Tennessee’s lead to 73-71.
She added a 15-footer with 1:03 to play, pushing the Lady Vols’ advantage to four, and Old Dominion couldn’t recover.
“She’s catching and releasing the ball a lot quicker and playing with confidence,” Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt said. “That’s the difference between a freshman and a sophomore.”
The Lady Monarchs (5-3) got 17 points from Tiffany Green and 14 from Jasmine Parker, but couldn’t overcome a major size deficiency as the Lady Vols outrebounded them 56-38.
Green, who sat for some of the second half after drawing three quick fouls against the much taller Lady Vols, said size alone couldn’t explain the huge rebounding difference.
“We were just giving them chances after chances on the boards,” she said.
Tennessee scored 23 second-chance points, and Old Dominion had 13 — all after halftime.
Brewer added 15 points for Tennessee and Glory Johnson had 10 on 3-for-14 shooting. Vicki Baugh and Alex Fuller each got 12 rebounds for the Lady Vols, who had 26 offensive boards.
Canady and Jen Nuzzo added 11 each for Old Dominion.
Tennessee led 50-45 with 14:12 to play before Tiffany Green scored inside on a feed from Nuzzo, and Parker’s fourth 3-pointer 36 seconds later pulled the Lady Monarchs even.
Neither team led by more than four again until the closing seconds.
“This was the game to win,” Green said. “This was it.”
The Lady Vols led 24-18 until Tiffany Green’s two free throws with 6:39 left in the half sparked a 14-4 run for Old Dominion capped by consecutive 3-pointers by Parker.
The burst gave the Lady Monarchs a 32-28 lead, but just as quickly, Tennessee responded with an 11-4 spurt to end the half, getting two 3-pointers from Bjorklund in the run.