KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Mississippi coach Matt Insell believes the eight-ranked Tennessee Lady Vols will go as far as Ariel Massengale takes them.
Massengale seems more than ready for that kind of responsibility.
The 5-foot-7 guard continued arguably the best stretch of her career Thursday by scoring 23 points Thursday in the eighth-ranked Lady Vols' 94-70 victory over Mississippi. Massengale's big game came four days after she scored a career-high 28 points in an 85-70 triumph at Georgia. That's the first time Massengale has scored at least 20 points in consecutive games.
"Whatever it takes for this team to win, I'm willing to do it," Massengale said.
Massengale did a little bit of everything for Tennessee on a night when the Lady Vols (13-2, 2-1 SEC) crossed the 5 million mark in all-time home attendance. She shot 5 of 8 from 3-point range and pulled down a career-high seven rebounds.
"As long as Ariel's playing at a high level, Tennessee's got a chance to push on through and maybe even get to Nashville," said Insell, referring to the site of this year's Final Four.
Isabelle Harrison added 16 points and 10 rebounds to set a school record with her seventh straight double-double. Andraya Carter had 14 points and Meighan Simmons added 12 points. Diara Moore, Shequila Joseph, Gracie Frizzell and Amber Singletary scored nine points each for Mississippi.
Although she was happy with the win, Tennessee coach Holly Warlick didn't like the Lady Vols' energy level at times and said they would need to step up their performance.
"This is a team right now that is very talented, but we're underachieving," Warlick said. "I've gotten mad at them. I've raised my voice. I've threatened them. I've been nice. I don't know. When our backs are against the wall, we generally play pretty hard. But I don't have an answer. We play in spurts and at times we don't look like we really care if there's a game going on or not anything going on."
The Lady Vols were still good enough to beat Mississippi (9-7, 0-2) for the 25th consecutive time in front of an announced crowd of 10,382, which increased Tennessee's all-time home attendance to 5,006,586.