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Lady Vols cruise into 23rd straight Sweet 16

3/23/2004

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Tennessee coach Pat Summitt has her
team right where she wants it -- in the round of 16 for the 23rd
straight year.

The top-seeded Lady Vols dismantled ninth-seeded DePaul 79-59 in
the second round of the Midwest Regional on Monday night.

"I think we're back on track," Summitt said.

Summitt, who already has six national titles at Tennessee, said
the first half was the team's best 20 minutes of the season.

"It started with our defense and our rebounding," she said.

Shanna Zolman scored all of her 18 points in the first half for
the Lady Vols, who were up by as many as 27 before halftime.

"Shanna had the hot hand," Summitt said. "She knocked down
the shots."

Tennessee, which held its biggest lead at 73-41, next plays
Baylor in Norman, Okla., on Sunday as it seeks its first national
championship since 1998.

"It's a great momentum builder to take into the next game,"
Zolman said.

The Lady Vols (28-3) took command with a 10-3 start and DePaul
was hurt by scoring leader Khara Smith's early foul trouble.

Smith, who scored 23 points in an overtime loss to Tennessee
three months ago, played just more than six minutes in the first
half and was scoreless against Tennessee's taller inside players.

"It's very difficult when she picks up two quick fouls,"
DePaul coach Doug Bruno said. "At that place and point, we needed
to stop a better-shooting team and start using some clock."

Bruno was disappointed with his team's showing.

"I don't think we competed from the get-go," he said. "If
you've played them before, you know this is what Tennessee does to
people."

Zolman started 7-for-10, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range,
while her taller teammates controlled the boards by nearly a 3-to-1
margin in the first half.

"It was one of those nights when it seemed like throwing into
an ocean," Zolman said.

Zolman didn't score in the second half, but it hardly mattered.
Five other Lady Vols scored in double figures.

LaToya Davis and Shyra Ely each had 12, reserve Brittany Jackson
scored 11, and Tasha Butts and Sidney Spencer had 10 apiece. Davis
also had 10 rebounds and seven assists.

Ashley Robinson's season-high 12 rebounds in the first half
matched DePaul's total. She finished with a career-high 14
rebounds.

The Blue Demons (23-7) had just three players score in the first
half. Ashley Luke led with 13 points.

Smith scored 13 in the second half, despite drawing her fourth
foul with 14 minutes left. Charlene Smith also finished with 13
points for DePaul.

Tennessee shot 52.5 percent during its dominating first half,
while limiting DePaul to 25 percent.

Summitt now has 82 NCAA tournament wins among her 849 career
victories, second only to Dean Smith and Adolph Rupp among college
basketball coaches.

She remains perfect in first- and second-round games with a 34-0
record since the field was expanded to 64 teams. The Lady Vols
played the early rounds outside of Knoxville, Tenn., for the first
time.