Ely Too Much For Arkansas

FAYETTEVILLE -- Shyra Ely made sure Tennessee came out on top Sunday in its game against Arkansas.

Almost single-handedly.

Ely, a 6-foot senior post for the Lady Vols, scored 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in leading Tennessee past Arkansas, 84-71, in front of a season-high crowd of 5,839 in Bud Walton Arena.

The 30 points were one off a career-high for Ely set on Mar. 1, 2002, when -- as a freshman -- she scored 31 points against Georgia.

"I think (Tennessee) moved (Ely) back to the four spot and we did everything we could to keep her from getting the ball," said Lady'Backs coach Susie Gardner. "But she's so quick and she played with a lot of fire and passion."

When No. 6 Tennessee (21-4, 11-1) made its early push, building a 21-6 lead, it was Ely delivering several buckets in a row off the bench. And when Arkansas cut a 20-deficit to eight, at 63-55 with 8:02 to play, Ely again delivered for the Lady Vols, scoring six of her team's next 10 points to again put the contest out of reach.

"I knew I wanted the ball in my hands at one point," Ely said. "There was one possession where I just knew I had to have it."


The Lady'Backs did indeed draw a season-best crowd inside Bud Walton Arena on Sunday. But without the help of the traveling Tennessee faithful, the final number would have been much less. Of the 5,839 in attendance, many were wearing Lady Vols Orange and White. In fact, Tennessee brought as many as 1,000 fans Sunday.


If you take away the first half, things might have turned out a little different Sunday.

Much like in Arkansas' first meeting of the season with Tennessee, though, first-half troubles were the biggest reason for the Lady'Backs' failure to come away with a win.

Arkansas shot just 21.4 percent from the field in the first half Sunday, making just 6 of 28 shots from the field while falling behind, 39-22. Back on Jan. 13 in Knoxville, the Lady'Backs also suffered some first-half shooting woes and trailed 40-17 at the half.


Arkansas second year-coach Susie Gardner can't remember a time when Bud Walton Arena was as lively as it became during one point of Sunday's game.

When Arkansas made a 14-2 run to cut Tennessee's lead from 20 points to eight with 8:02 left in the second half, Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt was forced to call and timeout. And just before the break in action, Gardner said the arena was rockin' like never before.

"I don't know if I've felt the energy in this place at a women's game at Bud Walton Arena since I've been here then what I heard when that timeout was called," said Gardner. "It's been loud before, but I don't know if I've ever heard it as loud as that."

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