DePaul Falls to Tennessee
CHICAGO (AP) - It wasn't exactly the homecoming that Candace Parker had envisioned. Benched for the first half for missing curfew, Parker scored 17 points and third-ranked Tennessee beat No. 15 DePaul 102-68 on Wednesday night.
Tennessee coach Pat Summitt was torn on not playing Parker.
``I wanted to start her,'' the Hall of Fame coach said. ``With our rules we have to be consistent. I'm glad people got to see her play.''
Even without their All-American, the Lady Vols were too much for DePaul, handing the Blue Demons their worst loss at McGrath Arena.
``Anybody that plays with Tennessee has to survive the Tennessee run. Without Candace we were down by 19,'' DePaul coach Doug Bruno said.
Alex Fuller scored a career-high 19 points and Nicky Anosike added 17 for the Lady Vols (11-1).
``I'm really proud of them,'' Summitt said. ``Alex and Nicky did a fantastic job.''
Deirdre Naughton, Allie Quigley and Natasha Williams each scored 13 for DePaul (11-2).
With the game tied at 27 with 7:17 left in the first half, Tennessee went on a 17-2 run over the next 5 minutes. The Lady Vols pounded the ball inside as Anosike and Fuller combined for eight of the points.
DePaul's Erin Cattell made a 3-pointer with 2:20 left to cut it to 44-32, and the teams traded baskets before Fuller scored the last seven points of the half for Tennessee to extend the lead to 19.
After Quigley hit a 3-pointer to start the second half, the Lady Vols scored the next seven points to put the game away. DePaul could get no closer than 21.
Fuller was 8-for-8 from the field in the first half as the Lady Vols shot 62.5 percent (20-for-32) from the field.
Parker started the second half to a rousing cheer from the crowd. After drawing two quick offensive fouls, she finally scored on a layup.
This game was a chance for the Blue Demons to see how they stacked up against one of the best teams in the country. DePaul was coming off its first loss of the season on Friday night when they lost to Texas in the Maggie Dixon Surf 'N Slam Classic.
The Blue Demons, who had matched their best start in school history, rebounded from that loss to rout Appalachian State in the second game of that tournament.
With only one day to prepare, DePaul was no match for Tennessee, which has won all 17 meetings with the Blue Demons. DePaul's 26-game home winning streak against non-conference opponents ended.
``We have to play like we're the No. 15 team in the country all the time,'' Bruno said.
The Lady Vols, who were coming off their first loss of the season, scored over 100 points for the first time since last season. They fell in overtime to Stanford on Dec. 22.
DePaul opens BIG EAST play on Sunday afternoon against the Pittsburgh Panthers. The game can be seen live on ESPNU with the start time slated for 1 p.m.
Game Notes: The loss is the worst at McGrath Arena for DePaul... prior to tonight, the worst McGrath Arena loss was a 75-51 defeat against #25 Cincinnati on Feb. 17, 2002... the loss ends DePaul's 26-game home winning streak against non-conference opponents... the Lady Vols were the last loss prior to the streak that ended tonight. Tennessee won that game, 96-89, in overtime on Dec. 17, 2003... three of DePaul's 12 all-time losses at McGrath Arena have been to Tennessee... the Blue Demons are 90-12 in their eighth season in the facility... Allie Quigley surpassed the 1,700-point plateau... she has totaled 1,707 points in 110 career games... Quigley extended her streak of games in double-figures to 23 consecutive games dating back to last season... DePaul is now 5-7 all-time at McGrath Arena against team ranked in the top 25... the 102 points allowed were the most since a 105-71 loss at Oklahoma on Nov. 12, 2006... Tennessee was the last opponent to score 100 in Chicago with a 100-66 victory at Alumni Hall on Dec. 17, 1999... Tennessee has won all 17 meetings in the series.
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