March 17, 2002
By ELIZABETH A. DAVIS
AP Sports Writer
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Kara Lawson scored 16 points, and Brittany Jackson added 10 as Tennessee beat Notre Dame 89-50 Sunday night, ending the defending national champions’ season in the second round of the Midwest Regional.
The No. 2 seed Lady Vols (27-4) advanced to the round of 16 to face either BYU or Iowa State in Ames, Iowa, next weekend.
Tennessee came out with its usual aggressive offense and defense and with a relentless intensity and domination not shown in any other game this season.
Two big runs put the Lady Vols ahead 53-27 at halftime. They led by 30 points just 2:15 into the second half and never slacked off.
The No. 7 Irish (20-10), 0-14 against the Lady Vols, couldn’t match Tennessee’s pressure or quick shooting. The loss was their worst of the season, surpassing the 27-point defeat at Connecticut on Jan. 21.
After Brittany Jackson hit a 3-pointer to give the Lady Vols a 5-4 lead, Tennessee never looked back.
Le’Tania Severe’s basket for Notre Dame cut it to 15-8 with 14:02 to go before halftime.
Gwen Jackson’s jumper started a 13-6 Tennessee run that ended with Ashley Robinson’s three-point play to put the Lady Vols ahead 28-14.
Michelle Snow scored 11 points in reserve for Tennessee, which got points from 11 players.
Snow, who has dunked three times in her career, nearly capped the game with her fourth – and first at home.
LaToya Davis got a loose ball and passed it to Snow on the fastbreak with 1:59 to go, but the ball got caught under the rim as she jumped to put it in.
The Lady Vols harassed Notre Dame into 25 turnovers and grabbed 16 steals.
When their shots didn’t fall, the Lady Vols were 27-for-35 from the foul line.
The Irish got as close as 11 on Severe’s two free throws with seven minutes left, but Notre Dame was scoreless the next three minutes.
Tasha Butts made a shot at the halftime buzzer for a 26-point lead, Notre Dame’s biggest halftime deficit of the season.
Notre Dame was led by Kelsey Wicks’ 10 points while Jacqueline Batteast, the Irish’s second-leading scorer was held to just five.
Tennessee coach Pat Summitt has been looking for a proven starting lineup and may have found it. She didn’t pull any of the starters – Gwen and Brittany Jackson, Lawson, April McDivitt and Shyra Ely – until the 12:25 mark in the first half.
Tennessee has won 40 straight NCAA games at home and hasn’t lost at home in the postseason since 1979 against Old Dominion in the AIAW tournament.