Holdsclaw carries Vols
Tennessee dominates in second half to defeat Eagles
Posted: Tuesday March 16, 1999 12:55 AM
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee's unbeaten record at home in the NCAA tournament is safe for another year, thanks to three-time All-American Chamique Holdsclaw.
The senior, playing her final home game, tied her career high by scoring 39 points in helping Tennessee defeat Boston College 89-62 Monday night in the second round of the East Regional.
Coach Pat Summitt called it a fitting finish to Holdsclaw's career in Knoxville.
"She was focused ...," said Summitt. "At times, I thought she was the only one who was going to make plays for us offensively."
Boston College coach Cathy Inglese, who saw the Eagles' best season in school history finally end, also was impressed.
"If I wasn't coaching the game, I'd be up clapping for her. She was tremendous. I said to our players ahead of time, `You've got to play between her and the basket. Don't give her any points in the paint.' She just shot over us all night," Inglese said.
The Lady Vols (30-2) will play Virginia Tech Saturday in the regional semifinals in Greensboro, N.C. They improved their record to 34-0 in tournament games played at home, but had to rally after trailing much of the first half.
Boston College (22-8), which upset then-No. 2 Connecticut in January, looked ready to extend its first tournament appearance into the round of 16. The Eagles started quickly, hitting five of their first seven shots and led by as much as five during the first half.
Tennessee looked lost with Semeka Randall, their third-leading scorer and emotional spark, watching from a wheelchair with to a badly sprained ankle.
But Holdsclaw, seeking to become the first player to win four national championships, wouldn't let the Lady Vols fall.
"I feel like I was blessed tonight. Tonight was my night. Everything I threw up went in," said Holdsclaw.
She scored 23 of her points in the half, including four just before halftime, to give Tennessee a 42-41 lead it wouldn't relinquish. She stretched that lead by keying a 12-4 run to start the second half with six more points.
Holdsclaw's final points came on two free throws with 3:51 left. She then kissed the middle of the court and went to the bench for the final time to a standing ovation. She said she had talked about kissing the floor with fellow senior Kellie Jolly and thought that it would be cheesy.
"But I thought this place has been really good for me. It helped me mature as a person and a basketball player. I had great memories, and I thought it was the way for me to go out tonight," she said.
Tamika Catchings added 13 points and 13 rebounds for Tennessee and Michelle Snow had 12.
The Eagles couldn't hit anything in the second half. With Tennessee speeding up the tempo and keeping up the defensive pressure, Boston College missed 10 of its first 12 shots and went more than six minutes without a basket.
The Lady Vols took advantage of the drought to build their lead to as many as 32 points down the stretch as both Boston College's starting backcourt players fouled out.
Nicole Conway and reserve Jamie Cournoyer each had 16 points to lead Boston College. Alissa Murphy added 12.
The Lady Vols started sluggishly, missing six of their first nine shots. Holdsclaw gave Tennessee its first lead of the game at 11:09 to go in the first on a tip-in during a 9-0 run that left the Lady Vols up 25-19. The Eagles used their own 7-0 spurt to take back the lead before Holdsclaw stepped up and put Tennessee in front at the half.
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