KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee is playing well enough to regain access to its locker room.
Lady Vols coach Holly Warlick took away her team's locker-room privileges two weeks ago after a loss at Vanderbilt. They were only allowed into the locker room for pregame, halftime and postgame meetings during game days. After getting their locker room back this week, the 10th-ranked Lady Vols responded Thursday by beating Arkansas 70-60 for their third straight victory.
"It's not a guaranteed thing," Warlick said. "They're renters right now. They're renting the locker room. They can get evicted anytime the landlord feels they can get evicted."
Tennessee shot 62.2 percent (28 of 45) overall and 7 of 13 from 3-point range against Arkansas. It marked the first time the Lady Vols shot at least 60 percent from the floor since an 85-64 victory over UCLA on Dec. 17, 2011.
Tennessee overcame the absence of starting point guard Ariel Massengale, who missed a second straight game. Massengale hasn't played since getting hit in the face Jan. 23 while making a steal in an 89-69 triumph over Florida. Warlick said Massengale's status remains day to day. Another Lady Vol got hurt Thursday when reserve forward Jasmine Jones appeared to pull a muscle in her back in the final minute of the game.
"As she was walking off, she was smiling, so I assume she's going to be OK," Warlick said.
Cierra Burdick and Meighan Simmons each scored 16 points for the Lady Vols (17-4, 6-2 SEC). Burdick's 16-point performance matched a career high, and the 6-foot-2 junior also had seven rebounds and four assists to continue putting an early-season slump behind her.
"I'm just trying to have fun," Burdick said. "In the beginning of the season, I feel like I put a lot of pressure on myself to do this and that. I'm just out here trying to enjoy my teammates, my coaches. I love this game. For a minute there, I kind of lost sight of what I was doing. I just got back to having fun."
Isabelle Harrison had 12 points and Andraya Carter added 10 points for Tennessee. Jessica Jackson scored 16 points, Keira Peak had 12, Jhasmin Bowen 11 and Calli Berna 10 for Arkansas, which lost for the fifth time in its last six games.