Parker helps Tennessee capture seventh national title

Apr 4, 2007 - 8:27 AM By PA SportsTicker

Candace Parker believed Tennessee had gone too long without a national championship. So she decided to do something about it.

Parker and the top-seeded Lady Vols beat fourth-seeded Rutgers 59-46 in the women's NCAA championship game Tuesday night in Cleveland.

"This is something that we have wanted for day one," Parker said. "Our focus was just one game and then the next and the next, and then we looked up and we were in the national championship game. I can't describe the feeling. It's amazing."

At 6-4, Parker finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and three steals in her first appearance in the title game.

Tennessee (34-3) captured its tournament-record seventh national title - and first since 1998 - under Hall of Fame coach Pat Summitt.

"As sweet as ever," said Summitt, who improved to 7-5 in a national final. "This is not about me winning No. 7. This is about this team winning their first."

With Wade Trophy winner Parker struggling with her shot (5-of-15 from the floor), Shannon Bobbitt helped break the game open by hitting three 3-pointers in a span of 2:43 midway through the second half. She finished with 13 points.

Even when Bobbitt or Parker did misfire, Nicky Anosike was there to control the glass, pulling down 16 rebounds in an immense effort.

"All year it's been pick your poison," said Parker, who was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. "I think if you take one option away we have four others and I was just proud at how everybody came together and made corrections and adjustments and we just took it to them."

It was a disappointing loss for Scarlet Knights coach C. Vivian Stringer, who was looking for her first championship in her 36th year on the bench.

"I've been coaching a long time and (Summitt) won eight or nine of them so we would have like to have one," Stringer said. "So it hurts a lot. Because as I was saying to the team, you don't get to that point often in life, and I'm a living testimony."

Rutgers (27-9), meanwhile, came up short in its attempt to become the lowest seed and fell to a dismal 0-6 against Tennessee all-time in the NCAA Tournament.

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