Vicki Baugh had 11 points, five rebounds and two steals, all in just 13 minutes of play. She took an elbow to the face early in the second half in a collision with UCLA's Regina Rogers - and was called for a foul - and did not return to the game. Baugh did the radio show and then left to get medical attention for a possibly broken nose. She was examined by UCLA doctors, who determined there was no fracture, according to UT officials.
The shot to the head left her down on the floor for a few minutes, but she was able to walk to the bench on her own. She remained on the sideline for the rest of the game, but is good to go Saturday against Stanford.
Tennessee, 10-0, had four other players in double digits led by Candace Parker with 17 points. Shannon Bobbitt had 16 points – she was 3-4 from behind the arc – and Alexis Hornbuckle and Angie Bjorklund added 12 each.
Alexander was inserted into the starting lineup at center for her size – she is 6'6 – and was asked to provide defensive support. The fact she was perfect from the field is indicative of Tennessee's poor defensive effort, particularly in the first half.
The Bruins shot 60 percent in the first half – the number was in the 70s late in the first half – but cooled off to 41.0 percent in the second half. No team has shot 50 percent or better for the game against Tennessee this season, but UCLA has checked in the closest now at 47.5 percent.
Pat Summitt said on her radio show that Tennessee lacked commitment to defend one on one in the first half so she went to a matchup zone in the second half. Tennessee quickly went on a run and suddenly the slim halftime lead was in double digits, 52-40, in less than seven minutes.
The Lady Vols increased that to 19 points with 10:19 to go, 62-43. But the Bruins had another run left in them and the lead decreased to nine points, 75-66, with 3:06 to play.
So Tennessee got the ball in the hands of Parker, Bobbitt and Bjorklund and sealed the game at the free throw line. As a team the Lady Vols were 17-23 from the line, and Parker was 7-10 and now has 400 made free throws for her career.
"In practice, if they don't shoot 80 percent or better, then they run," Summitt said. "But thus far they've been over 80 percent. I think Candace Parker has really done a good job of getting in and working on her free throw shooting. That brings an even better example and more confidence from that standpoint."
The Bruins tried some full-court pressure in the second half, but Bobbitt broke it alone. She weaved through three players on one late possession and then found Hornbuckle alone under the basket for the easy conversion.
Nothing came easy offensively for Hornbuckle in this game – she even suggested to Summitt that she come out in the second half after not scoring a point in the first half; Summitt told her to refocus – but she started the second half by stroking a three-pointer. That seemed to loosen up everyone's jump shot, and Tennessee went on its run and separated itself from the Bruins.
After opening up with some efficient offensive play – all five starters touched the ball on Tennessee's first possession, which ended with a finish under the basket by Nicky Anosike, the Lady Vols hit a lull and UCLA took the lead.
Tennessee needed baskets from somebody besides Bobbitt – she had 13 before the break and now has 410 in her Lady Vol career – and Baugh stepped up. She hit the layup that gave Tennessee its 32-31 halftime lead after the Bruins had been up four, 31-27, with 2:18 left in the half.
The Lady Vols shot 41.2 percent in the first half – they finished the game at 50.0 percent on the strength of a 62.5 percent second half – but Baugh was getting open under the basket and scoring off of offensive rebounds. She had eight points in the first half.
"She plays better in California," Summitt told Dearstone. "Seriously, she's a player that has such a great upside. She's a player that doesn't take possessions off."
Parker and Hornbuckle led Tennessee in the second half. All of Hornbuckle's 12 points came then, and 13 of Parker's 17 did. Summitt told Dearstone that she directed Parker to get on the block and go to the basket. UCLA, despite its big frontline of Alexander, the 6'3 Regina Brown, the 6'4 Pluimer and the 6'4 Christina Nzekwe, could not stop her and had to foul when she drove to the rim. Parker scored on direct drives and underneath moves.
Summitt lifted Parker in the second half but then had to reinsert her when Anosike fouled out with 4:43 to go. Anosike's last two fouls were questionable – the UCLA announcers from the online feed also noted the "home cookin' " as they called it – so Summitt wasn't upset about that post-game. Anosike's fifth foul clearly appeared to be a drawn charge, but she got called for the block.
The turnover issue has followed Tennessee to California. The Lady Vols had a season-high 23 for the game but did manage 15 steals. The starters accounted for 17 of the turnovers led by Bobbitt with six and Parker with four. Hornbuckle and Bjorklund led the team with three steals each.
Baugh had two turnovers, and one came on a fast break when she whipped a behind-the-back pass to Bobbitt that never came near the guard, who was tucked in the corner getting ready to get the ball and launch a three-pointer.
"That was a freshman mistake," said Baugh, who added she forgot Bobbitt would prefer to take the shot and expected her to cut to the basket.
Tennessee did prevail on the boards, 38-27, but Summitt noted the team is still giving up too many offensive boards to its opponent. UCLA had 12.
The Lady Vols were led on the boards by Hornbuckle, who had eight. Despite her shooting woes in the first half the senior guard ended up with a sweet stat line: 12 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, three steals and two blocks.
Hornbuckle has 294 career steals and is now just 39 away from the all-time school record of 333 held by Bridgette Gordon. Her seven assists tied a season high and gave her 410 for her career, ranking on 10th all-time at Tennessee.
Anosike, despite her foul trouble, had seven points and four boards. She has now gone over the 700 mark for total career rebounds with 701.
Summitt saw both some things to like and some things to work on before the Lady Vols take their perfect record and top ranking into Maples Pavilion to face Stanford in Palo Alto on Saturday evening. Summitt said she wanted to get the team some rest between now and then. Against UCLA, Hornbuckle played 38 minutes, Parker, 37, and Bobbitt, 36.
"We're going to need our legs there," Summitt said.