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Lady Vols' Winning Streak Ends

For the first time in nearly two years, top-ranked Tennessee left a basketball court with a loss.

The three-time defending national champions had a 46-game winning streak stopped Sunday when Stephanie White-McCarty scored 24 points to lead No. 5 Purdue to a 78-68 victory.

"We came into this game with a mindset to respect everyone and fear no one," White-McCarty said.

Four consecutive free throws by Katie Douglas, who was 7 of 8 from the line while scoring 11 points, allowed Purdue to hold off a late rally to record the upset in the State Farm Women's Tip-Off Classic.

In the opening game at Mackey Arena, No. 11 North Carolina downed No. 10 Kansas 76-58.

Tennessee went 39-0 last season in winning its third consecutive women's championship. The Lady Volunteers (1-1) were a unanimous pick as No. 1 in this season's preseason poll.

Douglas hit two foul shots to put Purdue ahead 74-65 with 58 seconds left and two more 15 seconds later following a 3-pointer by Kellie Jolly for Tennessee.

The Boilermakers (1-0) took the lead for good at 12-11 on a jumper by Douglas and pulled to a 46-33 halftime lead on a layup by Camile Cooper, who came off the bench to score 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting.

"I was very thankful I was so open and am much more comfortable inside," Cooper said. "Our guards are doing a great job looking inside."

Tennessee was led by Chamique Holdsclaw with 22 points, but she needed 20 shots to reach the total.

"Realistically being veterans we don't think that we're going to lose a game," she said. "I don't know whether to cry, feel sorry for myself. ... Watching films will help me, and hopefully it will help the rest of the team have a different attitude. "

"I want to become the emotional leader that I was last year. I think as a player I'm lacking that," she said.

The Volunteers were outreboundeD 36-25 and lost despite shooting 50 percent from the field. The big difference came at the free throw line, where Purdue was 22-for-33 and Tennessee was only 3-fro-8. Purdue, playing before 11,788 fans -- the third largest women's crowd in its history -- was called for 15 personals. Tennessee was whistled for 25 and coach Pat Summit also picked up a technical.

"Our fans are the best fans in the country. They played a big role in this win and helped us stop runs," Purdue guard Ukari Figgs said.

"Our crowd for this team is an energy bowl and they fill it," Purdue coach Carolyn Peck said. "We played an intense game for 40 minutes. The goal for our team was to come out, play hard and win. They accomplished their goal."

McCarty made a 3-point shot after Tennessee had cut its deficit to 54-47 with 10:53 remaining. Another 3-pointer by Kelly Komura gave the Boilermakers a 62-49 lead with 8:08 left.

But the Lady Volunteers refused to go away easily. A jumper by Holdsclaw, followed by consecutive layups by Semeka Randall and Hlly cut its margin to 62-55 with 6:04 to go.

At 64-57, McCarty-White hit another 3-pointer to give her team a 10-point edge with 5:41 remaining and set the stage for the clutch free throws by Douglas.

It was Tennessee's first loss since March 2, 1997, when they fell to Auburn 61-59 in the championship game of the Southeastern Conference tournament.

Tennessee's winning streak began with a 75-48 victory against South Carolina in the first round of the 1997 NCAA Tournament. The Lady Vols went on to defeat Old Dominion for their second successive national title and last season's 39-0 campaign culminated with a victory against Louisiana Tech to complete the unprecedented three-peat.

© 1998 SportsLine USA, Inc. All rights reserved

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