Vols, Buckeyes show they aren't afraid to speak out

NCAA Women's Tournament Round of 16

Region semifinals and finals Semifinals Championship Semifinals Region semifinals and finals
PHILADELPHIA Region 1. Connecticut 1. Stanford SPOKANE, Wash., Region
noon Sunday, ESPN FINAL FOUR: CONSECO FIELDHOUSE, INDIANAPOLIS 11:30 tonight, ESPN2
5. Georgetown 5. North Carolina
3. DePaul 11. Gonzaga
2:30 Sunday, ESPN2 9 tonight, ESPN
2. Duke April 3 7. Louisville
April 5, ESPN April 3
DAYTON, Ohio, Region 1. Tennessee 1. Baylor DALLAS Region
noon today, ESPN 7 Sunday, ESPN2
4. Ohio State 5. Wis.-Green Bay
6. Oklahoma 6. Georgia
2:30 today, ESPN 4:30 Sunday, ESPN2
2. Notre Dame 2. Texas A&M


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DAYTON, Ohio — It took only a minute to raise the temperature.

Asked an innocuous opening question about Ohio State on Friday, Tennessee C Glory Johnson wasted little time offering bulletin board material leading up to today's region semifinal at the University of Dayton Arena.

"They have a huge post presence, just like ours, but we have more. (We'll) wear out their posts," she said. Try to push it back on them. They can't run with us. I know for sure they can't run with us."

That was only the latest trash talk.

Earlier this week, Ohio State coach Jim Foster was asked what he admired most about Tennessee coach Pat Summitt, whom he butted heads with during his 11 seasons as coach of SEC rival Vanderbilt.

"She's done a great job of getting great players," he said.

There was no mention of developing those players or being a great bench coach for the woman who has won an NCAA-record 1,070 games against just 198 losses.

Foster said his relationship with Summitt during his years at Vanderbilt could be summed up in three words: "No love lost."

Summitt didn't jump into the fray.

"I have a lot of respect for Jim," she said. "We had some knockdown, drag-out games. He did a great job at Vanderbilt. He's going to have his team ready to play."

Whether the Vols (33-2) can slow Ohio State star C Jantel Lavender and whether the Buckeyes (24-9) can run with Tennessee are the game's major subplots.

Lavender, a 6-foot-4 senior, averages 22.9 points and 10.9 rebounds. The Vols plan to throw a lot of big players at her — including the 6-3 Johnson, 6-6 Kelley Cain and 6-4 Vicki Baugh — hoping to wear her down.

"The Big Ten really prepared us for that," Lavender said. "We have big-bodied post players, post players who like to (get physical), post players who are really athletic. Tennessee is kind of that same thing all in one."

Tennessee scored 78.3 points per game in the regular season, 11th in the nation. Meanwhile, Ohio State allowed 65.3 per game, 208th in the nation.

But as for the Vols winning a track meet, Buckeyes PG Samantha Prahalis isn't so sure.

"We've been in a few," said Prahalis, whose team's offense was 30th at 73.9 points per game. "We like to play fast. We like to play in transition."

Injury news: Stanford (31-2) is unsure if backup G Toni Kokenis, whom coach Tara VanDerveer calls her "sixth starter," will be available tonight against North Carolina (28-8). Kokenis, who sprained her left ankle late during a second-round victory over St. John's, averages just 5.6 points coming off the bench but has scored in double figures in five of Stanford's past eight games.

Still home: The last time Gonzaga (30-4) left its home city of Spokane, Wash., was for the West Coast Conference tournament in Las Vegas, which it won March 7. The No. 11 seed played its first two tournament games, wins over No. 6 Iowa and No. 3 UCLA, on its homecourt. Today, it travels about 2 miles to the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena to face No. 7 Louisville (22-12).

Familiar foes: Notre Dame and Oklahoma meet today for the third time in the past four tournaments. In 2008, the Irish (28-7) won a second-round game 79-75. Last year, the Sooners (23-11) won a region semifinal 77-72 in overtime.

Vols, Buckeyes show they aren't afraid to speak out 03/25/11 [Last modified: Friday, March 25, 2011 11:43pm]

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