Nov 10, 2002
By ELIZABETH A. DAVIS
AP Sports Writer
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Gwen Jackson scored 22 of her 29 points in the second half Sunday to help No. 2 Tennessee open its season with a 94-68 win over No. 22 Oklahoma, last year's NCAA runner-up.
Tennessee stretched an early lead to 20 points in the second half as the Sooners struggled to keep up with the Lady Vols.
Brittany Jackson added 13 points and Kara Lawson had 12 for Tennessee in the second game of the State Farm Classic.
The women's college season opened with No. 16 Louisiana Tech beating No. 7 Texas Tech 85-76 in Kurt Budke's debut as the Lady Techsters' coach. Leon Barmore retired in August after 17 seasons.
Theresa Schuknecht led Oklahoma with 27 points and 12 rebounds while freshman Erin Higgins had 18 points. Caton Hill added 11 points and 14 rebounds.
Tennessee and Oklahoma nearly met for the first time in last year's national title game, but the Lady Vols lost to eventual champion Connecticut in the semifinals. Oklahoma was clearly a much different team with only one returning starter.
The Lady Vols missed 15 of their first 21 shots as they unveiled coach Pat Summitt's new motion offense. The defense was as tenacious as ever, forcing 26 turnovers, including 17 steals.
Tennessee extended its lead to 10 before halftime after a 9-3 run and began pulling away early in the second half. The Lady Vols went on a 17-5 burst to lead by 20.
Lawson made a layup, Brittany Jackson had a 3 and a smooth transition play capped the spree. Lawson stole the ball, passed to Loree Moore, who dumped it to Gwen Jackson for the basket and a 53-33 lead with 16:18 left.
Down the stretch, the Sooners clearly missed departed starters Stacey Dales, Rosalind Ross, Jamie Talbert and LaNeisha Caufield.