No. 1 Tennessee falls again
Published: Friday, January 27, 2006 at 12:20 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 27, 2006 at 12:20 p.m.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Losing to the nation's No. 2 team is one thing. Losing to an unranked rival coached by a former pupil is something else.
No. 1 Tennessee has done both in four days, dropping to Kentucky 66-63 on Thursday night _ an unpleasant encore to its 22-point loss Monday against No. 2 Duke.
"This team should not have lost back-to-back games," Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said. "Kentucky was better tonight. This team has to understand that they just can't go out there and play. They have to execute a game plan and be mindful of one possession at a time on offense and defense."
A week ago, Summitt _ the winningest coach in college basketball history _ was celebrating career victory No. 900 against Vanderbilt. She's now 0-2 in her quest for No. 901.
The loss came at the hands of Kentucky coach Mickie DeMoss, who spent 18 years as an assistant under Summitt.
"This was a great win for this team and this program," DeMoss said. "I thought I was sitting here in a dream."
Never had Kentucky beaten a No. 1 team, and the previous 24 matchups between the Wildcats and Lady Vols were won by Tennessee.
Tennessee (18-2, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) hadn't dropped consecutive games since February 1997 against LSU and Louisiana Tech. It also was the Lady Vols' first loss to an unranked team since March 2, 2002, against LSU in the SEC tournament.
Even though Tennessee was a little wounded after its loss to Duke, which came after votes were tallied for the Top 25, Kentucky's players said the accomplishment was no less significant.
"I'm not going to be able to sleep tonight," said Jenny Pfeiffer, who led Kentucky (15-4, 4-2) with 16 points and nine rebounds. "I don't even know what to say. I'm just so happy."
Pfeiffer made two free throws with 15 seconds left to put the Wildcats ahead by one. Sidney Spencer then missed a 3-pointer for Tennessee and fouled Nastassia Alcius, who hit two foul shots with 3 seconds to go for the final margin.
Tennessee led 63-62 when Shanna Zolman tripped, and Kentucky's Carly Ormerod came up with the loose ball. Pfeiffer drew a foul from Spencer and made both free throws.
"It was definitely a lot of pressure and I was shaking so much," Pfeiffer said. "It was probably the most pressure situation I've been in. I'm just thankful I knocked them down."
The Lady Vols missed 11 of their first 15 shots. It didn't get much better as the team made only 39 percent in the game, compared to 54 percent for Kentucky.
"We tried not to come out flat because we were extremely hurt after the Duke game," Zolman said.
Freshman Candace Parker led the Lady Vols with 25 points _ one shy of a career high _ and nine rebounds. But it was her foul that sent Pfeiffer to the line for three free throws with 2:30 left. Pfeiffer made all three to tie the score at 60.
Before the game, DeMoss honored her mentor with a basketball dipped in the wax found on a Maker's Mark bottle. Afterward, Summitt congratulated DeMoss.
"I told her I was really proud of her," Summitt said. "Obviously, I worked with her for 18 years and I have watched her build this team and this program. I think she has done a remarkable job."
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