published Friday, January 7th, 2011

No. 5 Tennessee rolls past Alabama

By Beth Rucker

KNOXVILLE -- Tennessee's six reserves did plenty to beat Alabama by themselves. That was after the starting five took care of business.

The Lady Vols' starters scored 60 points while the bench had 50 points as No. 5 Tennessee cruised to a 110-45 win over Alabama on Thursday night, their 37th straight victory over the Crimson Tide.

"It's exciting to know you can rely on any one of your teammates to get the job done," Lady Vols forward Glory Johnson said. "Really, she can play anyone, and the lead's not going to go down. Anybody can go out there and play strong defense."

Tennessee (14-2, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) showed just how deep it can run this season with all 11 players getting at least 12 minutes on the floor in the blowout win. Coach Pat Summitt didn't even bother playing dynamic posts Vicki Baugh and Alyssia Brewer, who have been limited with injuries.

Alabama (11-4, 0-2) hit only one of its first 13 shots and went scoreless for seven minutes early in the first half. That allowed Tennessee to take a 24-3 lead with 12:16 before halftime off a jumper by Taber Spani.

The Lady Vols used 59.4 percent shooting in the first half to take a 59-22 lead at halftime. They extended their margin to 67 points in the second half before Alabama's Jasmine Robinson hit a jumper to close the game.

"It was like one of those songs, 'Mama said there would be days like this,"' Alabama coach Wendell Hudson said. "Everybody Tennessee put in the game played well, and we struggled a little bit shooting the basketball."

Tennessee had scored a 3-pointer in 422 consecutive games before missing all seven of their shots from behind the arc in a 73-65 win at LSU on Sunday. This time the Lady Vols hit 9-of-18 from beyond the arc and got 3-pointers from five different players.

Angie Bjorklund, who was scoreless against the Lady Tigers, sank the first four 3-pointers and hit all five of her shots and was perfect on a pair of free throws in her 21 minutes.

"Maybe she learned a lesson," Summitt said. "When she's on, she's one of the best shooters that we've ever had in this program. She's starting to understand that she has to work hard. She can't just catch and shoot because everybody knows that she's the best shooter on the team."

Johnson came off the bench to lead the team with 19 points, Meighan Simmons had a double-double with 15 points and 11 assists, Spani added 15 points and Alicia Manning scored 11 late in the game.

The Lady Vols were just as effective at the other end of the court, limiting the Crimson Tide to 19.5 percent shooting during the game.

Tierney Jenkins, who leads the nation with 11 double-doubles this season and averages 18.9 points and 11.4 rebounds per game, hit only one shot and pulled in one rebound in the first half while picking up a pair of fouls and committing a turnover. She fouled out with 8:18 to go and with seven rebounds and a team-leading 11 points off 5-of-20 shooting.

"We looked at the [Tennessee] name on the jersey and were like, 'Maybe we're not supposed to win,' and that's how we played," Jenkins said.

Robinson added 10 points for the Tide.

Tennessee had already crested the century mark in scoring twice this season but hadn't scored 110 since a 136-26 victory over Puerto Rico Mayaguez on Nov. 29, 2002. It's the most the Lady Vols have scored against an SEC opponent since a 119-52 victory over Mississippi on Feb. 8, 2001.

The Crimson Tide has not beat the Lady Vols since March 3, 1984, when it got an 85-66 victory in the second round of the SEC tournament. The closest the Tide has ever come to winning at The Summitt was a pair of seven-point losses in 1984 and 1998.

The 37-game streak is Tennessee's second-longest active streak. The Lady Vols have beaten South Carolina 38 straight times.

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