Angie Bjorklund scored 24 points and hit the big shots when Tennessee (No. 5 ESPN/USA Today, No. 6 AP) needed them as the Lady Vols beat No. 12 Virginia 77-63 on Sunday.
Tennessee (3-0), playing for only the second time in Charlottesville, led 40-33 at halftime and pulled away after the Cavaliers (3-1) closed to 42-39. The rally riled up the crowd of 11,895 fans, a record for a women's basketball game at Virginia.
But Bjorklund stopped the surge with a four-point play, and when Taber Spani followed with a 3-pointer, the Lady Vols' lead was back to 10. Virginia got no closer than seven again.Shekinna Stricklen added 20 points and Glory Johnson 14 for Tennessee, which has beaten the Cavaliers in 12 of 14 meetings, but lost to Virginia at home last season, 83-82.
Preseason All-American Monica Wright led Virginia with 21 points, but Chelsea Shine, coming off a 27-point effort in a victory against South Carolina Upstate, had her first shot blocked by Kelley Cain and never seemed to recover. She scored three on 1-for-6 shooting.
Ariana Moorer scored 12 for the Cavaliers and Simone Egwu had 10.The Lady Vols used an early 24-9 run to open a 26-15 lead. Stricklen had eight points in the spurt, and 6-foot-6 Cain blocked three shots and altered several others.
Tennessee built its lead as high as 13 on several ocassions, but Wright and Moorer hit 3-pointers and Whitny Edwards had a jumper in an 8-2 run for Virginia to end the half.The game was billed as Hot Dog Day, with every fan receiving a voucher for a free hot dog and drink as part of a promotion to draw the largest crowd in program history. The previous mark of 11,174 was set Feb. 5, 1986 when Virginia played North Carolina at its old arena.