By Kimberly Hood
The Lady Vols defeated Georgia Thursday night to give their coach her much anticipated 1,000th win at home. And they didn't just give her a win – they gave a landslide victory, winning 73-43 over an SEC rival who has handed the Lady Vols more losses than any other team.
After their loss at Oklahoma, Summitt was very upset with the team because she felt they hadn't utilized the scouting report the coaching staff had put together for them and hadn't played a smart game. So, in true Summitt fashion, she told them they could do their own scouting report for the Georgia game, and apparently, it worked.
The Lady Vols were tough defensively and held all three of Georgia's leading scorers below their averages. They also played smarter on offense, turning the ball over only 11 times.
In recent games, turnovers have been a huge problem for the Lady Vols, averaging somewhere in the low 20s.
Even Summitt was pleased with the job the team did with their scouting report.
"They did a pretty good job with it. They misspelled some things so I told them they'd probably be in school for six years instead of four … but they knew when they finished that they understood what Georgia liked to do and what they had to take away from them," she said.
The Lady Vols also were much more in synch on offense than they have been in recent games.
"I thought we played with more freedom on offense tonight, which was good. The ball was moving a lot quicker, it didn't get stuck in people's hands, we had a lot of interior passing, and that was, to me, an indication that we're growing on the offensive end," said Summitt.
UT had extremely balanced scoring with every member of the team contributing at least two points, with the exception of Alicia Manning, who was injured in the opening seconds and didn't return to the game.
They once again had four players in double figures and received 20 points from their bench.
Glory Johnson led the team in scoring with 20 points, setting a new career high. She was followed in scoring by Alex Fuller, who had 13. Fuller scored 11 of UT's first 13 points, setting the tone offensively.
Kelley Cain also stepped up, grabbing eight rebounds and contributing 12 points. Her presence was much needed against Georgia in the absence of Vicki Baugh, who tore her ACL in the Oklahoma game.
"I was excited to see us play some quality minutes on the basketball court because we'd been playing in spurts, and this was probably the closest we've been to playing a 40 minute game. I think maybe we grew up a little bit. I'm proud of how we played. They could have felt a lot of pressure, but I told them the only thing I wanted them to focus on was that we needed another SEC victory," said Summitt.
Fuller was also proud of her team for their efforts. "Our young players are finally stepping up and realizing how we have to play every game to win if we want to get to Saint Louis," she said.
More than 16,000 fans on hand also were very pleased with the effort, standing and chanting "One-thousand" for the final minute of the game and then exploding into applause at the final buzzer.
After the game Summitt thanked the fans and said it meant a lot to her that she was able to get her historical win in Thompson-Boling arena.
"We just have incredible fans, and I never want to do anything but compliment them, because they do make a difference. This was a huge crowd and I think our players responded well to it," she said.
The win puts the Lady Vols at 6-2 in the SEC and 16-4 on the season.