Archive for Sunday, March 30, 2003

Volunteers win big — at home — again, 86-58

March 30, 2003


— One more home victory, and Tennessee will have to pack its bags for the first time in this NCAA Tournament.

Gwen Jackson had 24 points and 14 rebounds as the Vols jumped to a big early lead and defeated Penn State, 86-58, Saturday in the Mideast Regional semifinal.

Top-seeded Tennessee (31-4) advanced to its 18th regional final in 22 tries and Monday will play host to No. 2-seeded Villanova. The Wildcats beat Colorado, 53-51.

Tennessee, trying to reach the Final Four for the 14th time, improved its record in NCAA Tournament home games to 43-0. The Vols played host to the first- and second-round games before getting the regional semifinal and championship in Knoxville.

The fourth-seeded Lions (26-9), who won their early-round games by an average of 20.5 points, were overwhelmed by Tennessee's strong defense and dominant rebounding, which led to many easy transition baskets. The Vols had a 53-21 rebounding advantage.

Tennessee coach Pat Summitt was upset after the team's victory over Virginia in the second round because the Cavaliers outrebounded her team 42-41.

"I think our team was very mindful Virginia outrebounded them by one," Summitt said. "It's all about their mind-set."

Tennessee had a 14-point lead at halftime and stretched it to 59-41 in the first four minutes of the second half.

The Vols' victory sets up an interesting coaching matchup. Tennessee's Pat Summitt and Villanova's Harry Perretta became close friends over the summer after he visited Knoxville to give Summitt some tips on the motion offense.

Kara Lawson hit back-to-back three-pointers, and Jackson followed with another to get Tennessee going. Lawson finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

Penn State's leading scorer, Kelly Mazzante, was held to just three points in the first half.

Jess Strom led Penn State with 18 points; Mazzante had 12.

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