Coach Pat Summitt spares no one her stony glare -- even Candace Parker.
It didn't matter that Parker hit her first eight shots, or that top-seeded Tennessee was in charge and about to end Marist's inspiring tournament run with a 65-46 victory yesterday in the Dayton (Ohio) Regional semifinals.
This is how Summitt works, and how she keeps everyone in line.
Parker keyed a 14-0 first-half run that put Tennessee in control, and finished with 16 points and nine rebounds. But when she didn't fight through a pick that resulted in a Marist layup early in the second half, Summitt called time out. The coach stared at Parker all the way to the bench, a stern lecture to follow.
"Since it was aimed at me, I'll answer the question," Parker said with a grin when Summitt's displeasure was mentioned. "Coach very calmly told me that I needed to play better defense. I didn't come out with the same intensity in the second half. So it was a timeout for Candace."
Shannon Bobbitt and Sidney Spencer each had 11 for Tennessee (31-3), which improved to 22-4 in regional semifinals and will face Mississippi in the final tomorrow night. The Lady Vols, a part of all 26 NCAA Tournaments, ran their record to 95-19 in the tournament.
Meg Dahlman had 16 points and Rachele Fitz 13 for Marist (29-6), which had never won an NCAA Tournament game until last weekend. The Red Foxes stunned fourth-seeded Ohio State, 67-63, in the first round and fifth-seeded Middle Tennessee, 73-59, in the second round, ending the Blue Raiders' 27-game winning streak.
The 4,000-student school in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., was just the third No. 13 seed to make it to the round of 16 in NCAA history.
A slow start was about the last thing the Red Foxes needed. Trailing, 8-5, after Dahlman scored off an assist from Nikki Flores, they didn't score again for 8 1/2 minutes.
Tennessee's harassing defense was its old methodical self. On offense, the Lady Vols would hit a three or pound the ball inside to Parker, who hit 8 of 10 from the floor. Tennessee did not turn the ball over during its 14-0 run.
"Survive and advance, that's what you want," Summit said.
Mississippi 90, Oklahoma 82 -- Armintie Price scored 31 points and Ashley Awkward added 25 for Ole Miss, which used its fast break and trapping defense to beat the Sooners.
Mississippi's frantic and frenetic defense completely set the tone. The Rebels (24-10) came out running and never stopped, denying passes, harassing shooters, and trapping surprised Sooners whether they were in the corner or the middle of the floor.
Averaging 18 turnovers a game, Oklahoma had 15 by halftime and finished with 26. The Rebels piled up 16 steals.
Courtney Paris led Oklahoma (28-5) with 31 points and 20 rebounds. But no other Sooner was in double figures in either category.
Price also had 10 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 steals -- making her only the second player in NCAA history to have 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 400 assists, and 400 steals. She joined Cheryl Miller.