The women’s edition of the NCAA Tournament was full of many compelling stories. There was the impressive run made by LSU after losing their coach in scandal just as the tournament was about to start. Rutgers upsetting Duke after Lindsey Harding missed those two free throws was a scene replayed countless times in the days that followed. Throughout all the commotion it now seems incredible that lost in the shuffle was the greatest coach to ever walk the sidelines and her No. 1 seeded basketball team. Now Pat Summit and the Lady Vols will once again be the talk of the town.
Just the way it should be.
Tennessee defeated Rutgers 59-46 on Monday night to capture the seventh national championship in school history under Summit. The win hardly came as a surprise as the No. 1 seeded Lady Vols were expected to win. What was a surprise was that Rutgers made it this far at all. After their heart-stopping win against Duke the Scarlet Knights appeared to be a team of destiny in 2007. Unfortunately for them they ran into a team that was too fast, too strong, too fundamentally sound, and too good.
The two teams traded baskets in the first ten minutes of the game with either team grabbing the advantage. Tennessee took the lead with nine and a half minutes remaining in the half, and much like the Florida men the night before, the Lady Vols never relinquished the lead. Tennessee would eventually pull out to a double-digit advantage, taking a 29-18 lead into halftime. Tennessee kept control of the game in the second half. The Scarlet Knights would bring the game within seven points before giving up a three-pointer and a lay-up in consecutive possessions. In the end that is a perfect summary of this game. Whenever Rutgers would look like a run was in sight the Lady Vols would string together consecutive field goals and end the momentum of their opponents.
Superstar Candace Parker was spectacular once again, leading the Lady Vols in scoring with 17 points on her way to being named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament. Guard Shannon Bobbitt finished with 12 points and forward Sidney Spencer had 11. Center Nicky Anosike finished with only four points but had an incredible 16 rebounds.
Kia Vaughn was the leading scorer of the night, scoring 20 points for the Scarlet Knights. She finished with a double-double, adding ten rebounds in the losing effort. Vaughn though she played great, was the only player for her team to score in double-digits for Rutgers. They Knights did shoot 41 percent from the field, but also turned the ball over 18 times and made only two from beyond the arc.