Vanderbilt vs Tennessee
March 25, 2002
8:30 pm
Hilton Coliseum • Ames, Iowa


AP Sports Writer
March 25, 2002

AMES, Iowa (AP) -- Tennessee beat a familiar opponent to put itself back in a familiar setting. Gwen Jackson had 18 points and 12 rebounds, and Michelle Snow hit three key shots down the stretch as second-seeded Tennessee beat top-seeded Vanderbilt 68-63 in the Midwest Regional final Monday night, sending the Lady Vols to the Final Four for the 13th time.

Tennessee (29-4) built a 15-point lead early in the second half against its Southeastern Conference rival, then survived a rally that got the Commodores (30-7) within two points.

Chantelle Anderson's 35 points and 12 rebounds weren't enough to get Vanderbilt to the Final Four for the second time. Vanderbilt lost to eventual champion Notre Dame in the Midwest Regional final last year.

Now, Tennessee, a six-time national champion, gets another crack at unbeaten and top-ranked Connecticut, the Mideast Regional champion. They'll meet in the national semifinals in San Antonio on Friday night. Connecticut beat Tennessee 86-72 in Knoxville on Jan. 5.

Disrupting Vanderbilt with its pressure defense, Tennessee built a 42-27 lead early in the second half and was up 57-47 after Jackson scored on a drive.

Vanderbilt then made its run. Zuzi Klimesova scored six straight points and Anderson got a basket inside, drawing the Commodores to 57-55 with 5:29 left. They would get no closer.

Snow, who had managed only two points until then, hit two straight turnaround jumpers to make it 61-55. After Anderson sank two free throws, Jackson made a jump shot from the free-throw line for a 63-57 lead.

Anderson's layup left Vanderbilt trailing 63-60 with 1:14 to play, but Snow came through again, hitting another turnaround jump shot to make it 65-60 with 48.3 seconds remaining.

After Klimesova missed a 3-pointer, Brittany Jackson made two free throws with 20.3 seconds left and the Lady Vols could start celebrating.

Klimesova finished with 18 points for Vanderbilt. Brittany Jackson scored 10 points and Snow added eight.

The victory was No. 788 for Tennessee coach Pat Summitt, tying her with Jody Conradt of Texas for first place among women's coaches.

Tennessee tried to make it difficult for Vanderbilt to run its offense by pressuring the perimeter players so they'd have to work to get the ball to the 6-foot-6 Anderson inside.

That pressure started to take a toll midway through the first half, when Vanderbilt went more then five minutes without a basket. Jackson scored two baskets as the Lady Vols outscored Vanderbilt 10-2 during that stretch to open a 20-10 lead.

Snow scored inside against Anderson and Loree Moore hit a 3-pointer to increase the lead to 34-21 before Vanderbilt got the final four points of the half to pull to 34-25.

Tennessee and Connecticut have become the nation's hottest women's basketball rivalry in recent years and this will be their fourth meeting at the Final Four.

Connecticut's two national championships both came at Tennessee's expense in the finals, in 1995 and 2000. When Tennessee won the championship in 1996, it beat UConn in the national semifinals.


Postgame Quotes
NCAA Midwest Regional Finals
Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt
March 25, 2002

VANDERBILT Coach Jim Foster
"We didn't space, we didn't cut. We just weren't in sync with it."

At the end:
"Snow made some big shots. We were behind her and we should have been in front of her."

On UT defense:
"It was the same way they've been playing all year."

Could Anderson have done more:
"She could have been in front of Michelle [Snow], and she knows that. She's her biggest critic."

Difference in game:
"Our lack of movement in the first half. We weren't moving to get opportunistic baskets by people other than Chantelle and Zuzi. Our cuts would have created opportunities for others in that first half."

Chantelle Anderson
"We picked up our dribble a lot and you hve to keep your dribble to keep the pressure off you. We just didn't execute in the first half."

Halftime deficit:
"It wasn't too big of a hole. Nine points is never too much to come back from, but I think our first half hurt us."

Zuzi Klimesova
On Snow:
"She got the ball where she's best with it. She got the turnaround and scored. It was a miscommunication on our part."

Ashley McElhiney
"It's a forty minute game. They played forty minutes, and we played about fifteen. They played man defense, they played zone defense, and they ran their usual offense. It comes down to execution; they executed for forty minutes and we broke down in areas."

(On season)
"We've accomplished things that many teams haven't, but we didn't want our season to end tonight. We got here last year, and we wanted to take the next step this year. We just didn't come ready to do that."

Jillian Danker
(On playing in Ames)
"The people at Iowa State have been great hosts. We have had a great time playing here."

"Our preparation for this game was great; our coaches had us ready. The execution just wasn't there."

"We've accomplished a lot this year, but we just wanted to keep playing."


Vanderbilt Athletic Department
2601 Jess Neely Drive
Nashville, TN 37212
615-322-GOLD (4653)