SC continues Lady Vols’ woes
Posted: Friday, February 3, 2012 7:01 pm
By BETH RUCKER
AP Sports Writer
KNOXVILLE (AP) — At the beginning of the season, the Tennessee Lady Volunteers said they wanted to win a championship in honor of coach Pat Summitt. Instead, they’re just finding new ways to frustrate her and the rest of their coaches.
The eighth-ranked Lady Vols lost to 64-60 to South Carolina on Thursday night, marking their first Southeastern Conference home loss in four seasons and first loss to the Gamecocks since 1980.
“We knew what they could do. We just were flat, and I don’t have an answer for it. I don’t have an answer for it,” associate head coach Holly Warlick said, shaking her head.
Tennessee (16-6, 7-2) boasts the toughest schedule in the nation this season but has been flat against many of the stronger opponents it has faced in the first season since Summitt announced she’d been diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type.
Already this season, the Lady Vols ended their two-year SEC winning streak with a loss at Kentucky. They suffered their second-worst margin of defeat and logged their lowest point total ever in a loss at Notre Dame.
Tennessee hadn’t dropped a SEC game at home since a loss to LSU on Feb. 14, 2008, and hadn’t lost to South Carolina since a 56-52 victory on Jan. 23, 1980, when Warlick was a point guard for Tennessee. The Lady Vols had won 40 straight meetings since then, the second longest streak by one team over another.
“I’m just glad our players got a chance to experience this experience, knowing the tradition of Tennessee,” South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said. “By far, this is the biggest win of my career.”
During the team shootaround on Thursday, Staley, South Carolina assistant coach and former Lady Vol Nikki McCray and the rest of the Gamecocks presented to Summitt’s son Tyler a $20,000 check to the Alzheimer’s Association in honor of the Hall of Fame coach.
The Gamecocks (18-5, 7-3) were down 60-55, when Ashley Bruner hit a layup with 3:18 to play to launch a 9-0 run.
Published in The Messenger 2.3.12