Lady Vols hold off No. 19 Georgia, 85-70

Lady Vols hold off No. 19 Georgia, 85-70

January 5th, 2014 by Associated Press in Local - Breaking News

Georgia guard Erika Ford, left, and Tennessee forward Cierra Burdick (11) chase down a loose ball in their NCAA basketball game Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, in Athens, Ga. Tennessee won 85-70.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

ATHENS, Ga. - Ariel Massengale scored a career-high 28 points and Isabelle 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 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.

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 the since 1996-97.

Harrison has a double-double in six straight games.

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.

Mercedes Russell, Tennessee's highly touted freshman center, made her second career start and first against an SEC opponent. Russell finished with seven points and five rebounds.

In a 3:45 span early in the second half, Massengale scored hit a 3, a jumper, a halfcourt layup, converted a three-play and closed with two straight fastbreak layups to push the lead to 24.

The Lady Vols opened up their first double-digit lead on Carter's straightaway 3-pointer at the 3:07 mark of the first half.

Erika Ford stole the ball from Jasmine Jones and Miller followed by passing behind her back on near the Georgia baseline for a fastbreak layup by Shacobia Barbee that made it 36-26 with 2:02 left in the first.

On Tennessee's next possession, Donald stole the ball from Harrison, but Miller missed the ensuing layup. Harrison grabbed the rebound and sank a couple of free throws to make it 38-26 at the 1:38 mark.