Massengale, Harrison lead Lady Vols past Georgia

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 5, 2014 at 6:38 pm •  Published: January 5, 2014
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ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Ariel Massengale and Isabelle Harrison took turns carving up Georgia's defense.

With Massengale steering Tennessee's offense in the second half and Harrison in the first, the Lady Volunteers proved too tough for Georgia to overcome.

"The main focus at halftime was getting paint points and getting the ball inside," Massengale said. "Whether it was our posts scoring or our guards getting to the rim, we just wanted to score in the paint."

Massengale scored a career-high 28 points and Harrison added 18 points and 10 rebounds to help No. 5 Tennessee hold on for an 85-70 victory over No. 19 Georgia on Sunday.

The Lady Volunteers (12-2, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) have won six straight and 14 of the last 15 series matchups with Georgia.

Krista Donald finished with a career-high 18 points and Tiaria Griffin added 15 for the Lady Bulldogs (12-3, 0-2 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.

"We can't relax and we have to keep playing defense," Harrison said. "I think we can definitely take away that no matter what the score is, we definitely have to keep pushing."

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.

"We put some grit into it," Donald said. "We were going to lose anyway — we didn't do anything else so we put the pedal to the metal and tried to make a big comeback. It was a heartbreaker to not start the way we finished."

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 the since 1996-97.