By Kimberly Hood
Georgia coach Andy Landers sent Pat Summitt a text wishing her luck before her game at number two Oklahoma Tuesday night, which could have been her 1,000th career win.
It might be a genuinely nice gesture between rival coaches, or it could be that Georgia is next on the schedule and Landers knows all the hype surrounding Summitt's 1,000th win might come at his expense – you decide.
Regardless, despite his wishes, the Lady Vols fell 80-70 on the road at Oklahoma, and while the big story of the loss was that Summitt was denied 1,000, there were some definite bright spots for the Big Orange faithful – four in particular.
The first of those being that UT got off to a quick start, leading at many points during the game and by as many as 15 in the first half.
After struggling the entire game with both Arkansas and Ole Miss, scoring early was a welcome relief for Lady Vol fans.
With a team that starts three freshmen and one sophomore, it's only natural that consistency is a problem, but they proved Tuesday they can compete with the best teams in the nation.
Now, if Summitt can just get them playing that well for a solid 40 minutes, another national title won't be out of the question.
The second positive to draw from the game is that the Lady Vols managed to shut down Oklahoma's go-to player Courtney Paris and held her to 9 points and 12 rebounds before she fouled out of the game.
While this may not sound like such a big deal at first, it is important to mention that it's the first time in 112 games that Paris didn't have a double-double.
Thus, the Lady Vols proved they can effectively shut down a key player, something they were unable to do in their recent game with number 6 Auburn.
The third bright spot of the game is that the Lady Vols had four players in double figures. UT started off the season with points coming from all over the floor, but then hit a lull, struggling with balanced scoring since early January.
For the first time in six games, the Lady Vols had multiple offensive threats Tuesday night – no small task against such a quality opponent.
Hopefully, this marks a turning point in the season for the struggling offense, but only time will tell.
The last of the bright spots is that Coach Summitt will have a chance to reach the incredible milestone of 1,000 wins at home in Thompson Boling on the floor bearing her name and with some 20,000 adoring fans in attendance.
And for the fans, this means a chance to witness history first hand, that is, if there are still any tickets to be found.
So, good intentioned in his wishes or not, Andy Landers will face the Lady Vols at home at 7 p.m. Thursday, and will try his luck at fending off the inevitable 1,000th win until another day.
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