Parker rescues Lady Vols

Monday, March 31, 2008

— Candace Parker sensed her team was in distress and rushed in for a Rocky Top rescue.

Parker matched her career best with 34 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, leading top-seeded Tennessee to the regional finals for the eighth straight year with a 74-64 victory against Notre Dame on Sunday night in the Oklahoma City Regional.

The 6-foot-3 All-American put back Nicky Anosike's miss and then converted a three-point play off a transition jumper to send Tennessee into the lead with a 14-0 run early in the second half, and the Lady Vols never looked back on their way to the round of eight for the 23rd time.

"Honestly, in postseason, you've got to come through. That's what great players do," Parker said.

Shannon Bobbitt added a pair of three-pointers as Tennessee built its lead to 60-44 before Notre Dame made a late rally. Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw, who led the Irish to the 2001 national championship, fell to 0-16 against Tennessee.

The Lady Vols will face Texas A&M on Tuesday night in the regional final. Tennessee (33-2) is going for its 17th Final Four berth, while the Aggies are trying for their first.