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SEC champ Vols hit all the right notes

Tennessee forward Alyssia Brewer battles with Kentucky forward Brittany Henderson for position on a rebound.

Associated Press

Tennessee forward Alyssia Brewer battles with Kentucky forward Brittany Henderson for position on a rebound.

NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Vols are playing so well these days, they have coach Pat Summitt singing.

Angie Bjorklund had 23 points, including seven 3-pointers, and No. 4 Tennessee hit a school- and tournament-record 16 3s to beat No. 16 Kentucky 90-65 on Sunday in the SEC championship game.

It was the most points ever in this game and such a dominating performance that Summitt celebrated by grabbing a microphone and belting out a version of Rocky Top with her Vols and the pep band. Then she went a capella by herself.

"She's got a good voice," Bjorklund said of Summitt.

Summitt, whose voice was raspy after yelling mostly at the officials, has reason to sing.

The Vols (31-2), who were unbeaten in the SEC, won their 15th tournament title overall. This one was a bit special because it marked the third time Tennessee went undefeated in winning the regular-season title before winning the conference tournament. It also did that in 1994 and 1998.

It's a big turnaround for nine of these Vols, who were on the first Tennessee team to lose in the NCAA Tournament's opening round two years ago to Ball State. It's a loss Summitt still says she could "chew on" every day if she wanted.

"But I think it took something like that to wake this team up and their youth, and now you look at the experience we have in this junior class," Summitt said.

Now the Vols can wait for what should be another No. 1 seeding in the NCAA Tournament.

"We've been through the highs and the lows," Bjorklund said. "We're not going to give up, and we want another championship."

Kentucky (24-8) goes home still looking for its first SEC tournament title since 1982.

ACC: Jasmine Thomas had 21 points and No. 8 Duke won its second straight tournament title by beating No. 19 North Carolina 81-66 in Greensboro, N.C. The top-seeded Blue Devils (29-3) shot 46 percent and held the Tar Heels (25-8) scoreless for 6½ minutes down the stretch.

BIG TEN: Jantel Lavender and Samantha Prahalis had 23 points each to lead fifth-seeded Ohio State (22-9) past second-seeded Penn State 84-70 in Indianapolis for a record-tying third straight conference tournament title.

Big East tournament

NO. 1 UCONN 59, NO. 17 G'TOWN 43: Stefanie Dolson had a career-high 24 points as the top-seeded Huskies (30-1) beat the Hoyas (22-10) in the quarterfinals in Hartford, Conn.

NO. 8 NOTRE DAME 63, LOUISVILLE 53: Devereaux Peters had 19 points, nine rebounds and six blocks to lead the third-seeded Irish (25-6).

NO. 13 DEPAUL 66, ST. JOHN'S 54: Anna Martin had 17 points for the second-seeded Blue Demons (27-5).

RUTGERS 68, NO. 20 MARQUETTE 62: April Sykes scored 16 of her 18 in the second half to lead the No. 4-seeded Scarlet Knights (19-11) past the Golden Eagles (23-8).

SSC tournament

FLA. SOUTHERN 79, FLA. TECH 66: Chelsea Johnson had 29 points and Emma Cannon 19 points and 17 rebounds as the top-seeded Moccasins (25-4) won the tournament title in Melbourne.

Around the nation

NO. 6 XAVIER 69, CHARLOTTE 53: Amber Harris had 23 points and 16 rebounds for the top-seeded Musketeers (27-2) in the Atlantic 10 semifinals in Lowell, Mass.

NO. 20 GONZAGA 96, PORTLAND 71: Janelle Bekkering had 17 points as the top-seeded Bulldogs (27-4) cruised in the West Coast Conference semifinals in Las Vegas.

ARK. ST. 77, MIDDLE TENN. 62: The Blue Raiders returned to the court for the first time since the stabbing death Wednesday of teammate Tina Stewart, losing in the Sun Belt tournament quarterfinals in Hot Springs, Ark. There was a pregame moment of silence.


Automatic bids

Duke ACC

Ohio State Big Ten

Princeton Ivy

Stetson Atlantic Sun

Tennessee SEC

Tenn.-Martin Ohio Valley

SEC champ Vols hit all the right notes 03/06/11 [Last modified: Sunday, March 6, 2011 10:56pm]
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