Women: Summitt, Vols earn record win

Tennessee routs Purdue 75-54 for the coach's 880th victory, passing Dean Smith.

Associated Press
Published March 23, 2005

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Pat Summitt stands alone at the top of NCAA basketball.

The Tennessee coach broke Dean Smith's victory record Tuesday, getting No.880 75-54 over Purdue in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Summitt tied Smith at 879 with an easy win over Western Carolina in the first round Sunday and passed the former North Carolina men's coach with another convincing victory. Summitt improved to 880-171. Smith was 879-254 when he retired in 1997 after 36 years with the Tar Heels.

"Obviously, to be in the company with Coach Smith, to think about all the people that were a part of these wins, I never thought I'd live this long," Summitt said.

After the game, NCAA officials presented Summitt with the game ball and a plaque. And the university announced the court at Thompson-Boling Arena will be named "The Summitt."

Summitt, 52, waved to the crowd and hugged family members, who came down to the court to celebrate with her. The team posed for a picture with the players holding up newspaper pages with a huge 880 in orange on the front.

"That's what it's all about," Summitt said. "We talk about the wins and the trophies, but it's all about the people. The players have influenced me more than I have influenced them."

Tennessee, led by Tye'sha Fluker's 18 points and 10 rebounds, Shyra Ely's 16 points and Shanna Zolman's 15 points, faces Texas Tech on Sunday.

Its defense was too much for Purdue in the second half. The Boilermakers didn't have a field goal during the first 6:35 while the Vols, now 46-0 at home in tournament games, pushed their lead to 20 with a 19-6 run.

Summitt passed Texas' Jody Conradt as the winningest women's college coach early in the 2002-03 season.

She holds nearly every NCAA Tournament record, including NCAA titles (six), Final Four appearances (15), Final Four wins (17), tournament appearances (24), tournament games (104) and tournament wins (87).

"A lot of players come and go, but the great ones leave and other great ones arrive," Summitt said.

"They wear the orange with tremendous pride."