Georgia off to rare 0-2 start in SEC

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 5, 2014 at 7:14 pm •  Published: January 5, 2014
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ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Another game with Tennessee, another loss for Georgia.

This time, however, the Lady Bulldogs are 0-2 in the Southeastern Conference for the first time in 20 years.

"It is what it is, but it's only two games," Georgia coach Andy Landers said. "It doesn't feel good and you don't like it. But it's a long time until the first of March."

Despite a season-high 18 points from Krista Donald and 15 from Tiaria Griffin, No. 19 Georgia lost 85-70 to No. 5 Tennessee on Sunday — the Lady Bulldogs' sixth straight setback in the series and 14th in the last 15 matchups.

Ariel Massengale finished with a career-high 28 points and Isabelle Harrison added 18 points and 10 rebounds for Tennessee (12-2, 1-1 SEC).

During an 8-minute stretch of the second half, Georgia went on a 31-11 run to cut the lead to 76-70 with 1:12 remaining on Merritt Hempe's two free throws.

But Massengale followed with two free throws that pushed the lead back to eight, Donald committed an offensive foul and Tennessee went up 80-70 on a pair of foul shots by Andraya Carter.

Tennessee was coming off a rare loss in a SEC regular season opener, falling by three points last Wednesday at home to LSU.

Beating Georgia allowed the Lady Vols to avoid losing consecutive SEC regular season games for the just the fourth time in school history and the first since 1996-97.

"Tennessee is a great team," Hempe said. "They always are and they always have great players. We handled them pretty well at the beginning, but we've got to fix some things on defense."

The Lady Bulldogs have dropped three of four following an eight-point setback last week at Vanderbilt.

Khaalidah Miller, who began the game as Georgia's third-leading scorer, was 1 for 9 from the field and finished with five points.

With the scored tied 17-all, the Lady Vols went on a 23-11 run to close out the first half. During that stretch, Harrison had 12 points, six rebounds, one steal, one assist and two turnovers.

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