Women's Hoops Defeated by Tennessee

Hokies fall in NCAA East Regional semifinal.

March 20, 1999

Box Score

AP Sports Writer

- Top-seeded and three-time defending national champion Tennessee forced Virginia Tech into 25 turnovers and a season-low point total in a 68-52 victory Saturday in the semifinals of the NCAA East Regional.

The result extended Tennessee's winning streak in the NCAA tournament to 21 games.

The victory over the No. 4 seed was no surprise, but the method the Lady Vols used may have been.

One of the nation's top offensive squads turned up its defensive pressure to suffocate the upstart Hokies and move within one game of still another Final Four.

Tennessee (31-2) advanced to the regional title game Monday night to face No. 3 seed Duke with a shot at its 12th Final Four berth since 1982. The Blue Devils beat Old Dominion 76-63 earlier Saturday.

Coach Pat Summitt improved to 64-11 in the tournament in getting career victory No. 695 as Chamique Holdsclaw led the way with 27 points, while Tamika Catchings added 15.

Michelle Houseright led the Hokies (28-3) with 13 points.

There were eight lead changes and three ties in the opening 10 1/2 minutes as the Hokies, making the program's first regional semifinal appearance, were able to hurt the taller Lady Vols inside. But Tennessee's talent, size and experience soon became too much for Virginia Tech.

Holdsclaw had 11 of her 15 first-half points midway through the period to become the fifth women's player to crack the 3,000-point barrier for a career, but it was injured guard Semeka Randall who sparked Tennessee.

The Lady Vols trailed 18-17 before going on a 16-0 run as Randall, who entered the game with 10:34 left in the half, scored six points and was key on the defensive end.

Randall had missed Tennessee's second-round victory over Boston College with a left ankle injury.

The Hokies turned the ball over on six straight possessions and were held scoreless for more than seven minutes as the Lady Vols wouldn't let Virginia Tech get into its offense.

Point guard Lisa Witherspoon had the most difficult time against the Tennessee defensive pressure. The 5-foot-6 senior came into the game third in the nation in assists, but coughed the ball up nine times in the opening 20 minutes alone.

Tennessee's 13-point halftime lead grew to 20 points with 13:47 left and the Hokies never got closer than 14 the rest of the way.

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