February 15, 2004

No. 3 Tennessee 94, Vanderbilt 88

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Pat Summitt has seen almost everything in her 30 years at Tennessee.

Senior guard Tasha Butts still found a way to surprise her.

Butts was averaging just 7.8 points per game, but she scored a career-high 37 points with a nearly perfect performance, and No. 3 Tennessee extended its Southeastern Conference winning streak to 30 straight by beating Vanderbilt 94-88 Sunday.

Summitt had no idea that Butts scored so many points.

``I know this: She really stepped up big for us in all aspects of the game. ... She was determined to get to the hole, and she played off the dribble. She got shots off the pass and created for herself,'' Summitt said.

Tennessee (21-2, 10-0) needed Butts because Vanderbilt, the last SEC opponent to beat the Lady Vols when they routed them 76-59 on Feb. 2, 2002, shut down senior center Ashley Robinson, and guard Shanna Zolman struggled again.

Robinson had just two points and three rebounds before fouling out. Zolman had five points, seven below her average.

The Commodores (16-7, 4-6) looked like they might rout their instate rival yet again as they built an 11-point lead in the first half and led at halftime, which hadn't happened to the Lady Vols in SEC play this season.

``Butts took over,'' Summitt said.

The senior, whose previous career best was 19 points last month against TCU, finished 12-of-15 from the floor, a perfect 6-of-6 from 3-point range and 7-of-8 at the free throw line. Butts also had a team-high nine rebounds and seven assists.

Shyra Ely added 16 points for Tennessee, followed by Brittany Jackson who had 14 off the bench and LaToya Davis with 10.

``After I hit probably my third or fourth 3, I felt like I was in a zone,'' Butts said. ``And Shyra did a good job of telling me I was in a zone every time I ran down the court. I told the team the last 3 I hit, I didn't see (the rim).''

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