Tennessee coach Pat Summitt's latest milestone victory was similar to so many others in her illustrious 31-year career.
The Lady Vols' 94-43 rout of Western Carolina in a Philadelphia Regional first-round game last night was win No. 879 for Summitt, tying her with Dean Smith for the most victories in NCAA Division 1 history.
Former North Carolina coach Smith set the record in 1997, and Summitt could surpass it tomorrow night against Purdue in the second round. Summitt's record is 879-171. Smith went 879-254 in 36 years with the Tar Heels.
Summitt has been at the top of the women's game for years with six national titles and 15 Final Four appearances.
"I have so much respect and admiration for Coach Smith. This is more than just a number," Summitt said.
"The Lady Vols that have played here have been really special. You think about all of them, they made it happen. It says that we've had some of the best players in the history of the game. They're part of my family and my life and for that I say thank you to all of them."
Fittingly, Summitt tied Smith on Tennessee's home court at Thompson-Boling Arena, where the Lady Vols are 252-14 since it opened in 1987. Tennessee never has lost an NCAA game in Knoxville, Tenn., going 45-0 since the women's tournament began in 1982.
And this is the most appropriate time of year for Summitt, who tops all women's coaches with an 86-17 NCAA Tournament record.
The top-seeded Lady Vols (27-4) and, in particular, Shanna Zolman made it easy for Summitt to get the victory over the Catamounts and coach Kellie Harper, a point guard on Tennessee's three straight national championsip teams from 1996-98.
Zolman matched her career high of 28 points, going 5 of 8 on 3-pointers.
Liberty 78, Penn St. 70 -- In College Park, Md., Katie Feenstra had 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Rima Margeviciute added 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Flames, the fourth No. 13 seed to beat a No. 4 seed in tournament history. Big South champion Liberty was 0-8 in tournament play before dispatching the Nittany Lions in the Chattanooga Regional. Tanisha Wright led Penn State (19-11) with 19 points.
LSU 70, Stetson 36 -- Temeka Johnson scored 15 points, Seimone Augustus added 14, and the top-seeded Lady Tigers took their first step in the tournament by walloping the Hatters in the Chattanooga Regional at Knoxville. LSU (30-2) grabbed the top overall seed despite losing to Tennessee, 67-65, in the Southeastern Conference championship game two weeks ago.
DePaul 79, Virginia Tech 78 -- Jenni Dant sank the winning basket with 4.9 seconds left, and the Blue Demons blew a 20-point lead before escaping with a 1-point victory over the Hokies in the first round of the Chattanooga Regional at College Park. Fifth-seeded DePaul (26-4) led, 35-15, in the first half and 47-30 with 17:48 left, but needed a late comeback to avoid the embarrassment of falling to the 12th-seeded Hokies (17-12).
Arizona 72, Oklahoma 69 -- Dee-Dee Wheeler scored 16 points, Jessica Arnold added 15, and the ninth-seeded Wildcats advanced to the second round of the Chattanooga Regional by beating the eighth-seeded Sooners in Knoxville.
Maryland 65, Wisconsin-Green Bay 55 -- Shay Doron scored 26 points and sparked a second-half surge that carried the Terrapins past the Phoenix in the first round of the Philadelphia Regional at College Park.
Purdue 68, New Mexico 56 -- Erin Lawless had 22 points and the ninth-seeded Boilermakers used their height advantage to defeat the eighth-seeded Lobos in the first round of the Philadelphia Regional in Knoxville.