Originally created 01/18/00

Lady Bulldogs stick it to No. 2 Tennessee



ATHENS, Ga. -- Tennessee hasn't endured too many games like this one.

The No. 2 Lady Vols sustained their worst loss in more than 15 years, beaten by No. 7 Georgia 78-51 Monday as the crowd chanted "Overrated! Overrated!" at the six-time national champions.

"I thought we quit," Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said. "In my 26 years, not many of my teams have been non-competitive."

Georgia's Deana Nolan equaled her career high with 25 points and the Lady Bulldogs (17-2, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) turned up the pressure at the defensive end before a raucous crowd of 10,523 at Stegeman Coliseum.

Tennessee (13-3, 3-1) shot only 32 percent and handled the ball like a contagious disease, leading to a season-high 28 turnovers.

"We were excellent defensively all over the floor," Georgia coach Andy Landers said. "We didn't let them shoot well and we limited their second shots."

Georgia had lost five in a row to Tennessee by an average margin of almost 30 points per game.

But the Lady Bulldogs, cheered by the third sellout crowd in school history, pulled away from a 31-30 halftime lead with a brilliant second half. They shot 65 percent from the field (17-of-26) in handing the Lady Vols their worst SEC defeat.

"We never had any pressure on us offensively," Landers said. "The fact that our defense played so well allowed our offense to come down the floor with confidence. We passed, we shared, we found the open people."

The Lady Vols turned the ball over on their first four possessions of the second half and Georgia capitalized. Gwen Jackson finally scored Tennessee's first basket of the half with 14:51 remaining, but the Lady Bulldogs had pushed their lead to 43-33.

Tennessee got within 46-37 on a layup by Michelle Snow, but Camille Murphy banked in a 3-pointer and the Lady Bulldogs were never threatened again.

"We were very confident going into the game," Georgia's Angie Ball said. "We weren't intimidated. We knew we had a team that was capable of playing with Tennessee and capable of beating Tennessee."

Ball and Kiesha Brown are the only holdovers from the last Georgia team to beat the Lady Vols. Both were reserves when the Lady Dogs pulled out a 94-93 overtime victory at Knoxville Dec. 8, 1996.

"This game means a lot," said Nolan, speaking for those getting their first victory over the most dominant program in women's basketball. "Even though some of our past teams have beaten them, we never have."

It was the worst defeat for the Lady Vols since Dec. 11, 1984, when they lost 91-60 to Texas. Tennessee had never lost by more than 19 points in an SEC game.

"I don't know what the personality of this team is going to be," Summitt said. "They say a team takes on the personality of its coach, but this is not my personality."

In particular, the Lady Vols are plagued by poor play at the point. Starter Kristen Clement was 1-for-8 shooting, dished out only one assist and had six turnovers. Her backup, freshman April McDivitt, had five turnovers in nine minutes.

Nolan, on the other hand, carried Georgia in the first half with 15 points. She finished 9-of-14 from the field and also had eight rebounds, five assists, two blocks and two steals.

While Nolan is overshadowed at Georgia by twins Kelly and Coco Miller, she is the most talented athlete in the lineup.

"She's a competitor and sparked the Georgia team," Tennessee's Tamika Catchings said. "We didn't have anybody who could stop her."

Coco Miller scored 14 points, while her sister had nine points and nine assists. Tawana McDonald balanced the offense with a big game on the inside -- 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Tennessee made only 20-of-62 shots to equal the second-lowest scoring game in school history, eclipsed by a 46-point performance against Louisiana Tech in the 1982 Final Four. The Lady Vols were leading the SEC with an average of 89.2 points per game.

Catchings led Tennessee with 13 points, while Semeka Randall had only five on 1-of-6 shooting. For most of the game, the Lady Vols were in total disarray.

"There were plays that Pat called that she never saw," Catchings said. "We have a lot of work to do. We have competitors, but we never have five competing at one time."