Bumped to the top; such a gritty win deserves its time in the sun this evening. A big, hearty chest-bump to Graysnail for keeping tabs on the Lady Vols when the rest of us were out. Don't miss Will's BlogPoll ballot just because I trumped it.
Lastly, congrats to Alex Fuller for a fine career. We're going to miss ya, dear. You've done Shelbyville, Knoxville, Tennessee and the University proud.
First, check the game thread for some onsite observations. This team grew up in a hurry; I'd say it took them about 15 minutes. The difference between the first and second half was stunning. After Vandy's 13-2 run to take the lead in the first half, Tennessee got tough and managed to hold it close into the locker room.
But that second half... that second half was something else. After the refs got done trying to influence the game, Tennessee pretty much took over. Took over in the paint. Took over on defense. Took over on the boards. Took over on the perimeter. This wasn't some temporarily hot 12-0 streak to win the game; this was legitimate.
Shekinna Stricklen dominated the second half with 15 points. Alex Fuller - getting the special treatment on Senior Day - dominated, pulling down an incredible 17-14 that would have people drooling if her name was Blake Griffin. Kelley Cain was a pedestiran 7-for-8 and 15 points. Angie Bjorklund hit 5 3s and had 17 on the game. Sure, there were only 9 points off the bench (including 7 from Glory Johnson), but I'm okay with that for now.
There were a lot of players coming into their own. Bjorklund ran the point for most of the second half, shifting Stricklen over to the 2. This was, um, a very good idea. (Sydney Smallbone started, I'm not sure why., maybe as a change of pace.) Bjorklund at the 1, Stricklen at the 2, Glory at 3, Fuller at 4, Cain at 5. I'm okay with this. How about you?
It might've taken 29 games for the Baby Vols to become the Lady Vols, but I think we can finally use that name now. It looks like their next two games will be Alabama and Florida. I'm not worried. Not anymore.