Spani’s 15 points came off the bench


Austin American-Statesman - - COLLEGES - C Ten­nessee head coach Holly War­lick di­rects her team to a 19-point vic­tory over Texas. Jay Jan­ner / amer­i­can-states­man longhorns.states­ Con­tact Rick Cantu at 4453953. Twit­ter: @Rick­yprep

dom­i­nated the paint, snag­ging 20 of­fen­sive re­bounds, which led to 23 sec­ond-chance points.

Ten­nessee raced to a 45-27 half­time lead and never looked back.

Texas was vic­tim­ized by poor shoot­ing in the half (25 per­cent from the field) and didn’t find a rhythm un­til Fus­sell and team­mate Nneka Enemk­pali got hot in the sec­ond half.

Texas climbed within 10 points of the lead at 7363 on Enemk­pali’s driv­ing layup with 8 min­utes, 15 sec­onds to go. Af­ter War­lick called a timeout, the Lady Vols coun­tered with a jumper by guard Kamiko Wil­liams, end­ing the Texas rally.

The Longhorns never got within sin­gle dig­its of the lead.

Spani was the game’s key player, Texas coach Karen As­ton said. Coming off the bench, the 6-foot-1inch se­nior scored all 15 of her points in the first half, hit­ting 5 of her 6 shots from the field. Get com­plete Longhorns cov­er­age at

Spani de­flected in­di­vid­ual praise.

“We can be a tough team to play be­cause so many of us are ca­pa­ble of scor­ing,” she said.

Enemk­pali played well in de­feat, scor­ing 15 points and grab­bing eight re­bounds. Fresh­man Imani McGee-Stafford, start­ing her sec­ond game, contributed eight points and a team-high nine re­bounds.

As­ton said she was en­cour­aged by her team’s ef­fort — com­pared with a 62-42 loss to UCLA on Dec. 8.

“I’m pleased with the sec­ond-half ef­fort, but we got our­selves in trou­ble some­times by shoot­ing too quickly,” As­ton said. “You’re never pleased with los­ing, and you’re not go­ing to beat any­body giv­ing up 90 points. But I do feel like we re­sponded from that UCLA game by play­ing bet­ter team bas­ket­ball.”

Fus­sell set a ca­reer high in scor­ing; she had tal­lied 30 points against Cal­i­for­nia and Ok­la­homa dur­ing her sopho­more year.

Texas hon­ored its new NCAA cham­pion vol­ley­ball team with a rous­ing half­time wel­come. Coach Jer­ritt El­liott and his play­ers car­ried their cham­pi­onship tro­phy aloft as they walked onto cen­ter court.

As for bas­ket­ball, the Longhorns will re­turn to the Er­win Cen­ter on Thurs­day to play Cor­nell. Tipoff will be at 7 p.m.

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