Four Lady Vols posted double-digit point totals, led by senior Ashley Robinson and sophomore Shanna Zolman with 15 points each. Ely, a preseason first-team All-SEC selection, weighed in with a 13-point, 10-rebound performance. Senior Courtney McDaniel chipped in 12 points.
For the second-consecutive game, Tennessee started out slowly, then came out of the intermission with inspired play. Down just 45-38 at the break, Athletes in Action cut the margin to just two points, 50-48, at the 15-minute mark following a Lisa Eckart bucket. However, the Big Orange responded with an incredible 26-0 run to push the lead to an insurmountable 76-48 advantage with less than eight minutes remaining in the contest.
''I thought we did a lot of good things tonight in spite of how we started,'' Head Coach Pat Summitt said. ''Our defensive intensity picked up. This game was a great test because they had good ball movement.''
In addition to the top scorers, Tennessee utilized a host of solid efforts to aid the offensive production. Senior Tasha Butts just missed reaching double figures with nine points on three-of-three shooting, while sophomore Tye'sha Fluker hit four of her eight attempts for eight points. Senior LaToya Davis and freshman Dominique Redding both came off the bench to chip in with seven points apiece. Also indicative of the balanced play on offense was the fact that eight Lady Vols had at least two assists.
''Getting ready to play Tennessee this year was a little different with this team because everyone does a little something that makes them dangerous,'' Athletes in Action Head Coach Tracey Tarkington said. ''So there is no one star to key on, you have to keep up with everyone.''
UT shot 52 percent (34-66) from the floor and 36 percent (5-14) behind the arc. The Lady Vols were also successful at the free throw stripe, connecting on 15 of 17 tries for 88 percent. Tennessee lost the battle on the boards, 43-39, but held its opponent to just 34-percent shooting.
The Lady Vols open the regular season against UT Chattanooga at 3 p.m. this Sunday in Thompson-Boling Arena.