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MONDAY, MARCH 26, 2007
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UT puts stop to Marist’s tournament run
Ole Miss is next up for Lady Vols

The Associated Press

Coach Pat Summitt spares no one her stony glare — even Candace Parker.

It didn’t matter that Parker hit her first eight shots, or that top-seeded Tennessee was in command and about to end Marist’s inspiring tournament run with a 65-46 victory Sunday in the Dayton Regional semifinals.

This is how the winningest Division I college basketball coach works, and how she keeps everyone in line.

Parker keyed a 14-0 first-half that put Tennessee in control, and finished with 16 points and nine rebounds. But when she didn’t fight through a pick that resulted in a Marist layup early in the second half, Summitt called timeout. The coach stared at Parker all the way to the bench, a stern lecture to follow.

“Since it was aimed at me, I’ll answer the question,” Parker said with a grin when Summitt’s displeasure was mentioned. “Coach very calmly told me that I needed to play better defense. I didn’t come out with the same intensity in the second half. So it was a timeout for Candace.”

And tournament time was up for the Red Foxes.

Marist, a 4,000-student school in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., was just the third No. 13 seed to make it to the round of 16 in NCAA history.

“We went up against a tremendous basketball team today,” coach Brian Giorgis said. “It’s tough to lose, but to lose to that team is really not that tough.”

Shannon Bobbitt and Sidney Spencer each had 11 for Tennessee (31-3), which improved its record to 22-4 in regional semifinals. The Lady Vols, a part of all 26 NCAA tournaments, ran their record to 95-19 in the tournament. Tennessee will face fellow SEC school Mississippi in the next round with a trip to the Final Four on the line.

“We knew that a lot of people wanted us to lose, wanted the Cinderella story to continue,” the Vols’ Alexis Hornbuckle said. “So we just relied on each other and said, we want this story to end now. We just came out with great intensity in the first half.”

Meg Dahlman had 16 points and Rachele Fitz 13 for Marist (29-6), which had never won an NCAA tournament game until last weekend. The Red Foxes stunned fourth-seeded Ohio State 67-63 in the first round and fifth-seeded Middle Tennessee 73-59 in the second round, ending the Blue Raiders’ 27-game winning streak.

Tennessee looked crisp and exacting, shooting 58 percent to 39 percent for Marist, which came in as the national leader with just 11.5 turnovers a game. But the Lady Vols had seven steals and forced 10 turnovers in the first half, and the Red Foxes ended up with 15 turnovers thanks to Tennessee’s trapping half-court pressure.

“Our perimeter defensive pressure was very effective,” Summitt said.

“Bringing the pressure in the first half might have been key for us.”

Ole Miss 90, Oklahoma 82: Mississippi is going to the regional final, and Courtney Paris is going home.

Armintie Price scored 31 points, and Ashley Awkward added 25 for Ole Miss, which fastbreaked and trapped its way to a 90-82 win over Oklahoma on Sunday in the Dayton Regional.

Next up for the Rebels (24-10) is Tennessee on Tuesday, with a spot in the Final Four awaiting the winner.

The Lady Vols topped Ole Miss 81-69 at home on Feb. 15 in their only meeting this season.

Paris led Oklahoma (28-5) with 31 points and 20 rebounds.

Purdue 78, Georgia 65: Katie Gearlds had 30 points and nine rebounds to help Purdue overcome a big early deficit and advance to the Dallas Regional final.

Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton had 24 points on 8-of-12 shooting and nine rebounds, while Danielle Campbell had 11 points for Purdue (31-5), which won its 10th straight game. Gearlds was 10-of-16 shooting with four 3-pointers.

The Boilermakers will play North Carolina or George Washington on Tuesday in their first regional final since 2003, which came two years after they were national runner-ups.

Tasha Humphrey had 20 points to lead Georgia (27-7).

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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