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Final eight minutes the difference for Arkansas at UT

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Final eight minutes the difference for Arkansas at UT

KNOXVILLE – Senior Shanna Zolman was both the leading scorer and the crucial scorer for fifth ranked Tennessee as the Lady Vols defeated Arkansas, 77-37. Tennessee (21-2) moved to 7-1 in Southeastern Conference play while Arkansas drops to 13-9 overall and 5-4 in SEC play. Zolman led all scorers with 21 points. Melissa Hobbs led Arkansas with 12 points followed by nine from Leslie Howard. “We were outsized and out-personed, but we fought hard for the first 30 minutes,” UA head coach Susie Gardner said. “But the last 10 minutes were the difference.” A 10-point contest for most of the game, the Lady’Backs were outscored 24-1 in the final eight minutes of the game. “We let down and they turned it up at the end,” Howard said. “We had some bad decisions and that gave them the momentum.” The inside power of Tennessee on the boards and the outside scoring of Zolman and freshman Candace Parker overwhelmed Arkansas down the stretch. Parker scored most of her 18 points in the decisive final stretch. “Our starters, (Kristin) Moore and (Melissa) Hobbs, did an exceptional job doubling the post early, but we didn’t maintain it the whole game,” Gardner said. A five-point blitz from Hobbs to open the second half cut the Tennessee lead to seven, 33-26. The senior forward stayed hot, scoring seven of Arkansas’ first nine points of the second half as the Lady’Backs kept the Tennessee lead under 10 until another Zolman sparked Lady Vol run put the game out of reach. Hobbs short jumper at 15:19 cut the lead to 37-30, Zolman’s return jumper plus a pair of three-pointers in 14-4 surge to put Tennessee up 51-34 with 9:09 left. Parker took over the game to score the next nine Lady Vol points as Tennessee turned the game into a runaway, 62-36, with six minutes to play. Arkansas’ defense held the fifth-ranked Lady Vols in check through most of the first half, but Tennessee more than compensated for its slow offensive start through an aggressive defense. A back-and-forth game for the opening minutes, Danielle Allen’s layup cut the Tennessee lead to two, 11-9, with 12:04. It would be almost six more minutes before Hobbs’ three-pointer snapped a 6-0 UT run. Smothered by the Lady Vol defense early, Howard broke loose for a three-pointer to make it a four-point game, 24-19. One of the Lady’Backs’ few defensive lapses open the door for UT as Zolman came down on the next possession for a wide-open three-pointer to start a 5-0 run, part of a 14-6 close to give UT a 33-21 halftime lead. While Arkansas hit 38% from three-point range in the first half and held UT to only 37% from the field, the Lady’Backs had zero offensive rebounds in the first half. Arkansas’ only second chance points came after Lady Vol players fumbling Arkansas misses out of bounds or turnovers immediately after rebounds. For the game, Tennessee outrebounded Arkansas, 45-28, and the Lady’Backs finished the game with only three offensive rebounds. Arkansas returns to Tennessee on Thursday to face another top 25 opponent in Nashville as the Lady’Backs rematch with their Eastern Division partner Vanderbilt.



Sports Category : Basketball (W)