On the road to four straight
Randall leaves with injury in 113-54 Tennessee rout
Posted: Sunday March 14, 1999 09:21 AM
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The Tennessee Lady Vols served notice Saturday night. They are ready to make some history.
Chamique Holdsclaw scored 23 points as the three-time defending national champions started their bid for an unprecedented fourth NCAA title by routing Appalachian State 113-54 in the first round of the East Regional.
Top-seeded Tennessee (29-2) will play No. 8 seed Boston College, a 72-59 winner over Ohio State, in the second round Monday night.
Even coach Pat Summitt was pleased.
"The defensive intensity was there," she said. "The shot selection was good. Overall, it was just a good way to start the tournament."
Holdsclaw, who became the tournament's leading career scorer and rebounder, also liked what she saw from her teammates in her bid to end her college career as a winner.
"The focus was there. When you come out and play an opponent you know is not as talented as you, you can get lackadaisical," she said. "But I think we played a 40-minute ballgame. Everyone was into the game
"We need this kind of effort day in and day out."
The No. 2 Lady Vols opened with an intensity that 16th-seeded Appalachian State (14-15) just couldn't match. They scored the first 19 points and hassled the Mountaineers into five turnovers of their 33 turnovers in the first five minutes.
Appalachian State, the only team in the tournament without a winning record, had earned its way in by taking the Southern Conference tournament.
But the Mountaineers found themselves playing in front of their largest crowd ever at 11,190. That may have contributed to the nerves as they started out by missing their first nine shots.
"We don't face this kind of environment," said Appalachian State coach Barbi Breedlove. "This is not something that we ever see. That was difficult for our players. I think we did the best job we could do under the circumstances."
Still, Breedlove was impressed.
"We may very well have played tonight the next national champion," she said.
Beth Schoolfield earned a round of applause from the Tennessee crowd when she finally scored Appalachian State's first basket on a 12-foot jumper with 13:31 left.
By then it was too late. Tennessee simply expanded its lead through the half, scoring more points (29) points off the Mountaineers' turnovers than Appalachian State managed by halftime in trailing 53-19.
The Lady Vols stretched the lead to as many as 60 points in the final minutes with the starters cheering from the bench.
The only problem for Tennessee came five minutes into the second half when Semeka Randall went down under the basket on Appalachian State's Noel Dolan. She was being evaluated for a badly sprained left ankle, and her status for Monday's game was not immediately known.
Summitt called Randall the Lady Vols' emotional leader and hopes to have her back quickly.
"That's something you certainly need in March. She did it for us last year, and we expect her to do the same this year," she said.
Randall finished with 20 points, and Tamika Catchings added 18 on 8-of-9 shooting as all 11 Lady Vols scored. Sarah Edwards, a freshman walk-on who was given a scholarship midway through the season, had 10.
Natasha Lettsome came off the bench and led Appalachian State with 10 points.
Holdsclaw became the tournament's leading career scorer with 16:44 left in the first half with a three-point play, passing former Lady Vol Bridgette Gordon who had 388 points between 1986-1989. Holdsclaw's eight rebounds gave her 172, topping the 170 grabbed by Southern Cal's Cheryl Miller between 1983-1986.
Copyright © 1999 CNN/SI. A Time Warner Company.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.