Johnson and Tennessee overcome nerves and GW Colonials fall to blitz in 2nd half, 73-53

December 30, 1992|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- Dana Johnson had a feeling she would be a tad nervous coming home to play before family and friends at Cole Field House in the opening round of the Maryland Invitational Tournament last night.

But Johnson, who starred at center at Western High, didn't expect her anxiousness to rub off on her top-ranked Tennessee teammates.

The Volunteers played slowdown with George Washington for a half, then blistered them for 50 second-half points on the way to a 73-53 pasting of the Colonials.

Tennessee will meet Maryland in tonight's championship game at 8:30.

Johnson, one of five Tennessee players in double figures, had 12 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks to lead the Volunteers (7-0), though the early going was a bit more anxious than she bargained for.

"It showed that I was nervous," said Johnson, a 6-foot-2 sophomore center. "I missed some easy shots, but as the half went on, I settled down and the team settled down. We played excellent defense."

Leading by six at halftime, the Volunteers hit George Washington with an 11-2 run, holding the Colonials without a basket for the first five minutes of the second half.

"We were playing at their tempo. We weren't playing Tennessee-style basketball," said senior forward Lisa Harrison.

Coach Pat Summitt added, "Defense and boards is something this team needs to be consistent about every game."

The first half more closely resembled a rugby scrum than a basketball game, with both teams clutching and grasping with very little offense to show for their efforts.

he Volunteers shot 28 percent, and the Colonials could hit only 30 percent of their attempts.

"We held back ourselves. We had every opportunity to run, and we knew we could run," said Johnson.

"It was an ugly first half, but it's not something that I'm going to be concerned with," said Summitt.

George Washington converted two steals for layups to take a 6-1 lead. The Volunteers, held without a basket on their first nine possessions, finally scored when Johnson powered her way to a short jumper.

From there, Tennessee collected some semblance of an offense, running off nine more points, four coming on point guard Tiffany Woosley's outside jumpers, to lead 12-6.

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