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Vols keep focus, rip UF

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 4, 2002

GAINESVILLE -- No. 2 Tennessee didn't get caught looking ahead to its weekend showdown with top-ranked Connecticut.

Senior Michelle Snow and junior Kara Lawson each had 12 points as Tennessee stayed focused and beat No. 15 Florida 88-64 Thursday night to set up a battle of undefeated teams.

"That speaks well to our leadership," coach Pat Summitt said. "The question I've been asked all week was, would we look past Florida? Our basketball team has done an excellent job of taking it one game at a time. That's a good sign."

The Volunteers (11-0) are off to their best start since they went 39-0 in the 1997-98 season.

Tennessee hosts the Huskies (15-0) on Saturday. Connecticut holds a 7-6 lead in the series and has won four of the five games when the teams are ranked 1-2.

LaToya Davis also had 12 points for the Volunteers, who have won 23 straight road games, 15 in the Southeastern Conference. They ended an eight-game road trip.

Vanessa Hayden had 15 points, 9 rebounds and 5 blocks for Florida. Brandi McCain scored 12 on 4-for-17 shooting, and Monique Cardena also had 12 points.

Florida made its first two shots for a 4-3 lead, then missed 23 of its next 29 and shot 25.8 percent in the first half. The Gators were outrebounded 54-34 for the game.

"We were just taking bad shots, rushing shots," said McCain, who had seven assists. "Also, we didn't get second shots. One shot, and it was over."

Typical of Florida's problems, Hayden, the SEC's player of the week, missed six of her first eight shots and sat with 9:34 left in the first half after picking up her third foul.

"It's very difficult for us to play the way we're used to playing when our inside presence is hampered with foul trouble," Florida coach Carol Ross said. "It's not like I can reach back and send in another Vanessa."

Snow was responsible for Hayden's misery on both ends of the court, which is how Summitt and her staff drew up the game plan. Snow went right at Hayden from the start and had eight points and eight rebounds in the first half.

"I thought we could go after her and challenge her," Summitt said. "I thought Michelle did a nice job of having a lot of poise inside and setting up a variety of attacks."

After Hayden left, Tennessee went on an 18-3 run over six minutes to take a 36-12 lead. Lawson had seven points in the run.

SAINT LEO 70, MOLLOY 57: Ebony Winn had 20 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 blocks and 4 steals to lead the host Lions to their third straight win.

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