|ESPN.com: Women's College Basketball||[Print without images]|
SAN ANTONIO -- Well, right now it certainly appears that Tennessee would be the Big 12 favorite were the school not in the SEC, of course.
|Freshman Taber Spani scored 18 points on 5-for-9 shooting, and added six rebounds Tuesday.|
Pat Summitt's crew has faced two Jumbo Dozen schools to open the season, Baylor and Texas Tech, and dispatched of both. Two more Big 12 teams -- Texas and Oklahoma -- are on the schedule for Tennessee. Not sure it looks good for either the Longhorns or the Sooners; both those games are at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville.
Tuesday night in the AT&T Center, No. 5 Tennessee dominated overmatched Texas Tech 91-53 in the first game of the ESPN Classic doubleheader, which was followed by Texas against No. 1 UConn.
Having also beaten Baylor, the team picked to win the Big 12, on Sunday, Tennessee has pretty quickly established this season probably isn't going to have the up-and-down feel that last season did.
Tennessee didn't bring sophomore Alyssia Brewer and freshman Kamiko Williams to San Antonio because of a violation of team policy. If Summitt would have left a couple more players home, maybe it would have been a slightly closer blowout.
As it was, Tennessee had four players in double figures -- led by freshman Taber Spani with 18 -- on a night when everybody in orange who made the trip got to play double-digit minutes.
"I felt the people who had to step up early for us stepped up early," Summitt said. "Overall, I liked the balanced scoring. I liked the commitment to defense in the second half. I think it was good for us to be able to experiment a little bit with different looks in our zone and our man defense."
Tennessee held Texas Tech to 18.5 percent shooting from the field in the first half and 30.2 percent overall. Some of this reflected Texas Tech not having much cohesion yet with another influx of newcomers. But a lot also had to do with Tennessee being quicker, stronger and in general more athletic than Tech at every position.
This just wasn't much of a matchup. But after 11 losses last season, Tennessee is going to relish every victory this year -- and there figures to be plenty.
"Knowing that we could run on them, and that we could do it well, we pushed it the whole time," said Tennessee's Glory Johnson, who had six rebounds and 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting.
Mechelle Voepel, a regular contributor to ESPN.com, can be reached at email@example.com. Read her blog at http://voepel.wordpress.com.