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File photo by Patrick Murphy-Racey / Tennessee point guard Jazmine Massengill, who played high school basketball for Chattanooga's Hamilton Heights Christian Academy, scored 12 points with six rebounds and five assists to help the Lady Vols beat Stetson 73-46 on Tuesday night.

KNOXVILLE — Jazmine Massengill knows her strengths.

The Tennessee sophomore will never be known as a knockdown shooter, but as the point guard for the 5-0 Lady Volunteers, she has a role that can't be ignored for a team trying to figure things out in its first season under head coach Kellie Harper, a former Lady Vols point guard herself.

The 6-foot former standout for Chattanooga's Hamilton Heights Christian Academy has the primary job of getting teammates in scoring position — a role she relishes — and has done so time and time again.

Against Notre Dame, she scored only five points but found ways to affect the game with career highs in rebounds (13) and assists (nine). She's never going to be counted on for delivering a lot of shots, but at certain times she will show an ability to make some — just as she did Tuesday against Stetson, when she had 12 points, six rebounds and five assists in a 73-46 win over the Hatters before 7,246 at Thompson-Boling Arena.

The 12 points tied a career high, set against LSU last season.

"Jazmine's poise is terrific for our basketball team," Harper said. "We have two point guards (Massengill and freshman Jordan Horston), and I think they bring very different things and that's a very good thing. I think they complement each other well; Jordan looks to make plays, she's flashy. I think Jazmine is a little bit more reserved, a little bit more cautious. It's a nice balance.

"Jazmine has done a nice job of communicating with me during games, and that's a really good positive. Defensively, she's getting better and better. We have liked her progress on the court."

So have her teammates, who have found themselves in ideal scoring positions due to Massengill's unselfishness.

"I love it. I love it," said junior Rennia Davis, who had a team-high 15 points Tuesday. "I feel like every scorer loves to have a point guard that is willing to pass the ball. She knows she has teammates that can put the ball in the basket — not to say she can't score, because she clearly can — but I feel like she always has her teammates as the first option and I just like playing with a point guard like that."

All of her assists Tuesday came in the first 6:56 of the game, all leading to 3-pointers as the Lady Vols scored their first 18 points from beyond the arc. Tennessee tied a season high with eight made 3s against Stetson, and that included one by Massengill, who hit her first 3 of the season and first since knocking one down against Belmont on Dec. 30, 2018.

It ended a span of 11 consecutive missed 3s since then for the career 16% shooter from deep, but it hasn't affected any other part of her game. And if Tennessee can find some level of consistency scoring, it won't be necessary for her to do a lot in that department.

She's shown she can help, though.

"Whatever the team needs me to do to win, whether it's zero points and 12 assists, or 10 rebounds and zero points, I'll do whatever I need to do in order to get the win," Massengill said. "I'm a lot more comfortable on the court, especially with this team. Coach Kellie makes it a lot easier to be comfortable with this team."

And Massengill makes it a lot easier for the rest of the team to score.

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @genehenley3 or at Facebook.com/VolsUpdate.

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