New York City - Appearing in the Maggie Dixon Classic was special for DePaul coach Doug Bruno. The classic not only is a prestigious event to showcase your program and the opportunity to play at Madison Square Garden. For Bruno, the classic hit closer to home as Dixon served as an assistant on his DePaul staff.
"There isn't a day that goes by when we do not think of Maggie Dixon," Bruno said following DePaul's 84-61 loss to Tennessee. "Maggie was a special person in our program. She was a coach that literally touched people's lives. We have a mural in our basketball offices dedicated to her. There isn't a day that goes by when we do not discuss Maggie to our players, she was a special influence on all of all lives."
In DePaul's loss the aspect of the game bothered Bruno was competitiveness. Or lapses where it wasn't present.
"We played hard," Bruno said. "But it is not about winning or losing. There are times you are going to lose but you want to give a good effort. Today there were times we just did not compete consistently."
Tennessee enjoyed a 50-18 advantage in points in the paint. "Now I know we are not just a perimeter shooting team," Lady Vols assistant Holly Warlick said in a lighter tone . "We were 0 for 5 from three. Getting the ball in the post and attacking the basket are our game."
The Lady Vols' Glory Johnson led the way with 16 points 9 rebounds. Cierra Burdick added 15 points for Tennessee who had four players in double figures.
Alicia Manning, came into the game averaging 11 minutes per game, she logged just 3 the last outing. The 6-1 forward scored 12 points, pulled down 12 boards in 32 minutes.
"She (Manning) is one of our hardest workers in practice," Johnson said, "She's active in every drill."
Manning does not worry about the minutes saying, "I stay ready, prepared and ready to answer the call." Warlick was happy she answered the call. "We needed Manning today," Warlick said. "She was a factor on the offensive and defensive ends."
Jasmine Penny came off the bench to pace DePaul with 16 points. Keisha Hampton added 14. The Blue Demons were bothered by a Tennessee press that forced 24 turnovers and gave the Lady Vols a 23-13 edge in points off turnovers.
The Lady Vols, not only inspired by the memory of Maggie Dixon, had added incentive in their own coach Pat Summitt receiving the Maggie Dixon courage award. Summitt was on the Lady Vol bench and signed autographs post game for adoring and well wishing fans.
"Pat (Summitt) has had an incredible impact at Tennessee," Warlick said. "It's great to see fans in 'We Back Pat' shirts and it's just a tremendous following as a tribute to what she's done over the years. What John Wooden did for the men's game, Pat Summitt has done for the women."
Defense by Tennessee was reflected in DePaul's shooting percentages. Blue Demons shot 30.9% from the field. They were 7 of 28 (25%) from three and struggled inside the arc as well going 14 of 40(35%) from two point range.