UNC dominant in the paint

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.- No. 4 North Carolina used strong play down low to tie the game for much of the first half against No. 1 Tennessee, but a late layup from Alex Fuller gave the Lady Vols a 42-40 halftime lead.

UNC has 32 of its 40 points inside the paint, including 16 off second chance opportunities.

Tennessee jumped out to an eight-point lead with six minutes remaining, but a late UNC run helped close the gap. Forward Erlana Larkins's 11 pointsand eight rebounds leads UNC.

Alexis Hornbuckle has led the way for UT with 15 points and five rebounds in the first half on 6-of-8 shooting. All-American Candace Parker has struggled early on going 2 of 8 from the field for 6 points. Parker got off to a quick start scoring four points in the opening minutes, but struggled the rest of the way.

On a side note the Lady Vols public relations program just had a talent contest to give away a cruise to a Tennessee student and the winner made a really catchy "Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer" remix about the Lady Vols team. The crowd loved it and put Thompson-Boling arena in the Christmas spirit.

Things to watch for in the second half: Tennessee on the boards- The Lady Vols were outrebounded 30-21 in the first half. If Tennessee is going to pull off the win they will have to improve their play down low.

Player to watch: Alexis Hornbuckle- The senior guard shot 75 percent from the field and seemed to provide Tennessee with a spark while other players struggled. She'll need to continue to score if Parker can't find the bottom of the net.

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