Pat Summitt remembered for achievements on, off court

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Pat Summitt was remembered as a loving mother, a loyal friend and a tireless fighter as well as a champion coach Thursday in a public ceremony honoring the person who built the Tennessee women’s basketball dynasty.

“She was the epitome of what being great is all about,” said Indiana Fever forward Tamika Catchings, one of the dozens of former Lady Volunteers who paid respects to Summitt at a “Celebration of Life” ceremony at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Catchings later added that “this is not a goodbye, but until we meet again.”

The ceremony at Thompson-Boling Arena gave the public a chance to honor Summitt, who won eight national titles and a Division I record 1,098 games in her 38-year coaching tenure. A private funeral was held June 30, two days after Summitt died at the age of 64.

The list of speakers included recently retired quarterback Peyton Manning, a former Tennessee football star who called Summitt “someone who literally changed history.” Manning said the only pieces of sports memorabilia he keeps in his office are two basketballs Summitt signed for his children.

Manning discussed visiting Summitt late in her fight against Alzheimer’s disease, when she couldn’t remember Manning’s name. He talked about attending Summitt’s private funeral and hearing from former Lady Vols star Chamique Holdsclaw, who told him that even as Summitt’s memory faded, the coach still could point to the screen when one of Manning’s games or commercials aired on television and would say, “That’s my friend who comes to visit me. There goes my friend.”

“Pat Summitt didn’t just change the history of Tennessee basketball or made this arena known well beyond the borders of this state,” Manning said. “She changed the history of the sport she loved – and of sports in general. She almost singlehandedly made women’s sports relevant well beyond mothers, daughters, sisters and grandmothers.”

Thursday’s event attracted Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker and a star-studded list of women’s basketball coaches that included Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma, who served as Summitt’s greatest rival. They were among several thousand spectators to honor Summitt at an arena where she orchestrated some of her greatest victories.

The stage for Thursday’s event included each of the Lady Vols’ eight national championship trophies plus a stool and whistle used by Summitt, who coached Tennessee from 1974-2012.

Fans withstood an afternoon downpour as they waited to enter the arena. The distance traveled by many of them underscored the way Summitt built Lady Vols basketball into a national brand.

Patti Stephen drove more than 700 miles from Teaneck, New Jersey, to pay her final respects. She packed a lunch in her car and arrived on campus more than seven hours before the start of the ceremony to make sure she got a seat in the arena.

“I’ve been a Lady Vol fan for a long time, and it felt like I just needed to be here,” said Stephen, who wore a T-shirt, hat and a set of bracelets bearing the message “We Back Pat.” `’It wouldn’t be the same on TV.”

Speakers included “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts, current Tennessee coach Holly Warlick and former Lady Volunteers assistant Mickie DeMoss as well as Summitt’s son, Tyler Summitt.

“For or all of us that in some way have been influenced by Pat Summitt, she wouldn’t just want us to remember her example,” Tyler Summitt said. “She would want us to go out and follow it. So let’s not just celebrate her legacy. Let’s carry it on.”

The ceremony had plenty of somber moments. A videotape that aired during the event showed Warlick and former Lady Vols guard Michelle Brooke-Marciniak in tears as they described what Summitt had meant to them. The event opened with a bagpipe rendition of “Amazing Grace.”

“Tyler told me that’s his mom’s favorite song,” Roberts said. “How appropriate. Two words that describe her (so well): Amazing. Grace.”

But it also included some laughter.

Shelley Sexton-Collier, who played on Tennessee’s 1987 national championship team, joked that she thought she was playing for Tennessee’s cross country team because Summitt made them run so often. Warlick talked about how Summitt loved to drive fast and talk her way out of speeding tickets.

Warlick also had the crowd break into a rendition of “Rocky Top” as the arena’s video screens showed a tape of Summitt singing that song while wearing a cheerleader uniform before a Tennessee men’s basketball game.

The list of women’s basketball coaches at the ceremony featured Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer, North Carolina’s Sylvia Hatchell, South Carolina’s Dawn Staley, Notre Dame’s Muffet McGraw, Baylor’s Kim Mulkey, Rutgers’ C. Vivian Stringer, former Georgia coach Andy Landers and former Texas coach Jody Conradt among others. Also in attendance were current SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, former SEC commissioners Mike Slive and Roy Kramer, Tennessee football coach Butch Jones, Duke football coach David Cutcliffe and former Tennessee football coaches Phillip Fulmer and Johnny Majors.

They came to honor everything Summitt achieved off the court as well as on it.

“The real accomplishment of Pat’s life is this – you won 1,098 games and eight national championships, and what people talk about in the end is it’s not about how much you win but how much you did for others,” said DeMoss, now an LSU assistant.

Tennessee center Tamari Key out for season with blood clots

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee senior center Tamari Key will miss the rest of this season because of blood clots in her lungs, coach Kellie Harper said.

Doctors found the issue during testing. Key is expected to make a full recovery after treatment from University of Tennessee doctors, Harper said, adding that her sole concern is Key getting the medical care she needs to heal and return to full strength.

Key missed the first game of her career in a win Tuesday night over Chattanooga after playing her first 99.

“This is much bigger than basketball. We are so grateful that this medical condition was caught,” Harper said in a statement. “Our entire program will be right beside Tamari during this process and welcomes prayers and positive thoughts from Lady Vol Nation and beyond.”

The Lady Vols opened the season ranked fifth but currently are 5-5.

The 6-foot-6 Key from Cary, North Carolina, currently is Tennessee’s third-leading scorer averaging 8.4 points a game and averaged 4.2 rebounds per game. She started all 34 games as the Lady Vols reached their first Sweet 16 since 2016 last season and set the school record with 119 blocked shots.

Key had 18 blocks this season and 295 for her career, five away from becoming the eighth woman to reach that mark in Southeastern Conference history.

No. 7 Tennessee beats Eastern Kentucky, win streak hits 7

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tyreke Key scored 10 of the first 12 points of the second half and finished with 17, and No. 7 Tennessee overcame a sluggish first half and beat Eastern Kentucky 84-49 on Wednesday night.

“Tyreke is handling the ball now,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said. “That’s all new to him. He keeps getting better.”

The Volunteers (8-1) struggled in the first half but still built an 11-point lead over Eastern Kentucky (4-5) on the way to their seventh straight victory.

Key led Tennessee in scoring before leaving with a cramp in his right leg with 6:15 left in the game. Julian Phillips had 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Zakai Zeigler and Uros Plavsic added 13 points apiece. Olivier Nkamhoua scored 10.

“I’m still settling in,” said Key, a transfer from Indiana State who didn’t play last year while recovering from an injury. “This is a new role. I’m taking steps every day and keep learning.”

Eastern Kentucky, which came into the game averaging 83.5 points, was held well below that total due to 17% (6 for 35) shooting from long range and 22% (15 for 68) overall. Leland Walker led the Colonels with 13 points.

It was the seventh time this season Tennessee has held its opponent to 50 or fewer points.

“(Tennessee) is the best defensive team in the country,” Eastern Kentucky coach A.W. Hamilton said. “I think they’re the best team in the country.”

At one point in the first half, Tennessee was shooting 20% and still leading by 10 points. The teams combined to shoot 4 of 32 from 3-point range in the first 20 minutes. The Vols, who shot 24% (8 of 34), led 32-21 at the break.

“If we can’t make shots, can you find a way to win the game?” Barnes said. “When the shot’s not going in, find a way to play. The first thing we talk about is our defense.”

Tennessee shot 41 free throws. Phillips, a true freshman, was 7 of 10.

“(Phillips) has learned the pace of the game,” Barnes said. “I’m not sure there’s been a more effective freshman in the country (this season).”

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Since its early season slip against Colorado, Tennessee has had a steady ascent in the rankings. The Vols’ next two games – neutral site (Brooklyn) against No, 13 Maryland (Dec. 11) and at No. 10 Arizona (Dec. 17) – will go a long way toward justifying the No. 7 ranking.

BIG PICTURE

Eastern Kentucky: The Colonels’ run-and-gun style of offense had them averaging 83.5 points through their first eight games. They ran into a defensive buzz saw in Tennessee, which was yielding just over 51 points.

Tennessee: Santiago Vescovi sat out his second straight game with a shoulder problem. He is expected to be ready to play Sunday against Maryland. . The Vols have won seven in a row since their loss to Colorado.

UP NEXT

Eastern Kentucky: The Colonels host Boyce College on Saturday.

Tennessee: Take on No. 13 Maryland on Sunday at the Hall of Fame Invitational in New York.

Hoggard scores career-high 23, Michigan State snaps 2-game skid

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A.J. Hoggard scored a career-high 23 points, Joey Hauser had 12 points and 15 rebounds and Michigan State beat Penn State 67-58 on Wednesday night to snap a two-game losing streak.

Michigan State (6-4, 1-1 Big Ten) avoided going .500 or worse after 10 games for the first time in 18 seasons.

Hoggard blocked an open layup with less than a minute to play and Hauser grabbed the rebound before being fouled and making two free throws at the other end for a 66-58 lead.

Hoggard, Hauser and Tyson Walker combined for 31 of Michigan State’s 32 second-half points.

The Michigan State defense allowed only one made field goal in the final five minutes. Penn State was just 1 of 9 from 3-point range in the second half after 7 of 18 before halftime.

Walker scored 10 of his 14 points in the second half for Michigan State. Hoggard, who entered third in the conference in assists at 6.3, had six rebounds, two assists and one key block.

Hoggard gave Michigan State 35-33 lead – its first since 4-2 – after back-to-back three-point plays with 59.3 seconds left in the first half. It was tied at 35-all at the break.

Seth Lundy scored 16 points and Jalen Pickett had 13 points, 17 rebounds and eight assists for Penn State (6-3, 0-1)

Michigan State hosts Brown on Saturday. Penn State, which hadn’t played since a double-overtime loss to Clemson on Nov. 29, plays at No. 17 Illinois on Saturday.

No. 7 Virginia Tech posts 9th straight win, beats Boston College 73-58

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BOSTON — Reigning Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year Elizabeth Kitley had 22 points and 12 rebounds, and Cayla King scored 16 on Wednesday night to lead No. 7 Virginia Tech to a 73-58 victory over Boston College, the Hokies’ ninth straight win.

Taylor Soule, one of two BC transfers on the roster for Virginia Tech (9-0, 1-0 ACC), added nine points and five rebounds. Soule scored more than 1,500 points and grabbed almost 700 rebounds in four seasons at BC, earning All-ACC honors three times.

Andrea Daley scored 15 points and Maria Gakdeng scored 14 for BC (7-4, 0-1). They each grabbed six rebounds.

Virginia Tech scored 17 of the game’s first 21 points and led by as many as 19 in the third quarter before BC cut the deficit to 10 in the fourth. Leading 64-54 with under three minutes left and the shot clock expiring, Kayana Traylor hit a 3-pointer for the Hokies.

Gakdeng missed two free throws for BC, and then Kitley scored from inside to make it a 15-point game.

Clara Ford, who also played four years in Chestnut Hill, pitched in 2 points in 2 minutes against her former team.

BIG PICTURE

At No. 7, the Hokies have the highest ranking in the program’s history. With the victory over BC, a 10th straight win against North Carolina-Asheville on Sunday would leave Virginia Tech in position to move up even higher should a top five team falter.

UP NEXT

Virginia Tech: Hosts North Carolina-Asheville on Sunday.

Boston College: Hosts Albany on Saturday.

Michigan’s Jaelin Llewellyn out for season with knee injury

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan point guard Jaelin Llewellyn is out for the rest of the season with an injured left knee and is expected to have surgery next month.

Wolverines coach Juwan Howard made the announcement three days after Llewellyn was hurt in a loss to Kentucky in London.

Llewellyn transferred to Michigan from Princeton last spring and that seemed to lead to Frankie Collins transferring to Arizona State after a solid freshman season for the Wolverines.

Llewellyn averaged seven points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists in eight games at Michigan. He was an All-Ivy League player last season and averaged nearly 16 points over three seasons at Princeton.