Friday, November 29, 2013

Junkanoo Jam: Lady Vols 87, SMU 47

Ariel Massengale paced No. 3/4 Tennessee with 16 points and the Lady Vols used a big second half to crush SMU, 87-47, on Friday and win the Lucaya Division championship of the 11th-annual Junkanoo Jam.

The win marked UT's first holiday tournament title since winning the 2005 Paradise Jam during Thanksgiving break in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Lady Vols (7-0) advanced to Friday's title game after defeating Virginia, 76-67, on Thursday afternoon. The Mustangs (7-1) topped Kansas State, 68-57, on Thursday.

Bashaara Graves posted her second double-double of the year with 10 points and 10 assists. Isabelle Harrison had 10 points, most coming off a big surge early in the second half, and played just seven minutes because of foul trouble.Jasmine Jones was strong off the bench, scoring 13 points off 5-of-8 shooting and corralling four rebounds.

Tennessee shot 46.6 percent for the game, including 55.9 percent in the second half (19-of-34). UT outscored the Mustangs, 48-20, after halftime. The Lady Vols enjoyed a 54-31 rebounding advantage for the game.

With under seven minutes remaining, Cierra Burdick stole the ball and pushed it ahead to set up a Nia Moore tip-in. Jones split a pair of defenders on UT's next possession to push the Lady Vols' lead to 35 points at 76-41 with 6:06 remaining. A 3-pointer by Jones at the top of the arc with 4:30 left extended the UT lead to 40 points (81-41).

Sophomore center Moore entered the game after a big UT run early in the second half and helped maintain UT's dominance in the post with a pair of blocks down low. With under 12 minutes left in the game, Burdick hit a mid-range jumper from her right elbow to stretch Tennessee's lead to 30 points at 63-33.

Tennessee opened the second half with an 8-2 burst to create some separation. Storming out of the game, UT surged with a quick score by Harrison, a drive and a bucket by Massengale and another layup by Harrison. Harrison would score again on an assist by Andraya Carter before a third foul returned her to the UT bench. The Lady Vol surge continued with a Massengale 3-ball and a nice dish by Mercedes Russell inside to Graves, giving Tennessee a 21-point edge at 52-31 with 17:11 remaining.

UT led 39-27 at the half. Massengale paced the team with 11 points and four assists heading in to the break and Graves had a team-best nine boards at that point.

SMU pulled to within 24-17 midway through the first half, but Meighan Simmons nailed back-to-back treys to re-claim momentum for Tennessee. With four minutes left before the break, Mustangs guard Keena Mays scored quickly off a UT miss to bring SMU to within nine points at 32-23. Big free throws and hard drives into the lane by Massengale helped re-establish a double-digit Tennessee lead and neutralize SMU runs.

Burdick hit a long jumper with 11:20 left in first half to stretch UT's lead to 21-5 but picked up her second foul shortly after, sending her to the bench. Even with two of its starting post players on the bench, the Lady Vols continued to dominate the boards. SMU re-focused its offense to the inside game as Akil Simpson hit a two-point jumper and drove the paint for a layup to pull to Mustangs to within 23-15 with 7:15 remaining before the half.

Harrison picked up her second foul before the first media timeout and Tennessee subbed in Russell. Russell scored on an entry pass from Jordan Reynolds and Carter had a reverse layup to push UT's lead to 19-5 heading into the second media timeout. Through the first eight minutes of the game, SMU shot just 10 percent from the floor.

The Lady Vols jumped out to a 10-3 lead when Carter tipped in a missed shot just over three minutes into the game. After a pair of SMU free throws, Harrison responded with a quick score at the opposite end of the court and Massengale hit a 3-pointer to give UT a double-digit lead at 15-5.

Tennessee will next host Texas on Dec. 8 at Thompson-Boling Arena. The game is set for a 1 p.m. ET tip-off and it will be televised on FOX Sports South/FOX Sports Tennessee.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Simmons Unstoppable in 76-67 Victory over Virginia

Senior Meighan Simmons Puts Up 31 Points in First Round of Junkanoo Jam

Powered by Meighan Simmons' 31 points, No. 3 Tennessee sped past Virginia with a 76-67 victory Thursday afternoon at St. George's High School Gym in the Junkanoo Jam in Freeport, Bahamas. The Lady Vols improve to 6-0 on the season as the Cavaliers move to 3-3 overall.

After trailing 39-35 at the half way mark, Tennessee capitalized on an 8-0 run to go 55-47 on the Cavaliers. UT would hold on to the lead and take the game, 76-67.

Tennessee has now won its 14th consecutive game against unranked opponents, and improves to 15-3 all-time against the Cavaliers. The Lady Vols are now 4-0 against the ACC this year.

The Big Orange will face the winner of Kansas State-SMU at 8 p.m. ET Friday, Nov. 29.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Dedication of the Pat Summitt Plaza Photobook

This special edition photobook captures and commemorates the November 22, 2013 dedication of the Pat Summitt Plaza celebrating Pat's 38-year legacy as the University of Tennessee Women's Basketball Head Coach.

All proceeds from the purchase of the Dedication of the Pat Summitt Plaza Photobook will be donated to The Pat Summitt Foundation.

Click here to order.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

#4/3 Lady Vols 84, Oakland 50

Tennessee's tendency to get off to slow starts hasn't proved costly yet. The third-ranked Lady Vols still want to break the habit soon.

The Lady Vols slumbered through much of their game with winless Oakland on Sunday before a halftime lineup change sparked a 21-0 run that helped them breeze to an 84-50 victory. Tennessee (5-0) was clinging to a one-point lead late in the first half Sunday and has been tied or behind at halftime in two of its other four victories.

"The second half, we settled down and we decided to play, but the sign of a great team is we've got to play 40 minutes," Tennessee coach Holly Warlick said. "We're very capable of it. We've got the talent to do it. I'm just waiting for us to bust out and play the perfect game."

Tennessee's Bashaara Graves had 15 points and 11 rebounds to lead all players in both categories. Meighan Simmons added 14 points, Ariel Massengale had 13, Isabelle Harrison had 11 and Mercedes Russell scored 10 for Tennessee. Victoria Lipscomb scored 13 points for Oakland.

Oakland (0-5) outhustled Tennessee at the start of the game and only trailed 28-27 with 2:07 left in the half when Amy Carlton missed a 3-pointer that would have put the Golden Grizzlies ahead. Tennessee's Jordan Reynolds sank a 3-pointer 10 seconds later to help Tennessee lead 34-27 at halftime.

"We were just playing basketball," Lipscomb said. "We were having fun. That was one thing we talked about coming in was just having fun. Even though it was a one-point game, I don't think a lot of people on the court realized it was a one-point game."

Warlick responded to her team's sluggish start by altering her lineup to open the second half. Russell, Reynolds and Andraya Carter joined usual starters Graves and Massengale on the floor. Simmons, Harrison and Cierra Burdick were on the bench at the beginning of the second half after opening the game in the starting lineup.

"She said we had let our fans down," Massengale said. "We have 10-11,000 people here watching us play, and in those first 20 minutes, we let them down."

Among those spectators was former Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt, who remains on staff as head coach emeritus and is the subject of a campus statue that was unveiled Friday. Summitt watched Sunday's game while sitting between Indiana Fever forward Tamika Catchings and Billie Moore, who coached her on the 1976 U.S. Olympic team. Summitt received a standing ovation during a timeout as a video of Friday's statue dedication ceremony played on the scoreboard.

"It's a huge crowd," Warlick said. "They deserve to be, in my opinion, entertained. What I mean by entertainment is you play every possession as hard as you can play. You might not make every shot. We're not going to get every steal. But my expectation is you are going to play as hard as you can every possession. ... Our fans don't want to see us walk the ball up the floor, turn the ball over, not have effort, not have hustle plays."

There wasn't much hustle from Tennessee early on.

One week after Tennessee pulled down 33 offensive rebounds in an 87-76 victory over Georgia Tech, the Lady Vols had just two offensive boards in the first half Sunday. Oakland outrebounded Tennessee 24-20 and outblocked the Lady Vols 4-1 in the first half despite facing a major height disadvantage. Oakland had three starters 5-foot-8 or shorter and didn't play anyone taller than 6-1. Tennessee has six players 6-2 or taller.

Tennessee attempted only one free throw in the first half and struggled to solve Oakland's zone defense.

The Lady Vols showed much more energy and scored the first 15 points of the second half, as Graves scored six points during a 21-0 run that broke the game open. Oakland committed three turnovers in the first 41 seconds of the half and faced a 22-point deficit by the time Kim Bee scored the Grizzlies' first second-half points with 15:19 remaining.

Tennessee never looked back and finally utilized its height advantage as the game wore on. Tennessee outrebounded Oakland 24-13 in the second half and finished the game with 44 rebounds to Oakland's 37.

"It's an outstanding basketball team and one that we'll be seeing here in the Final Four, I'm sure," Oakland coach Jeff Tungate said.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Pat Summitt Statue

Joan Cronan, AnDe Summitt, Tyler Summitt, Pat Summitt, Dr. Jimmy Cheek and Dave Hart after the statue unveiling on November 22, 2013.

Pat Summitt Plaza Dedicated

Honoring Pat Summitt's legacy: UT unveiled the statue and plaza that serve as a monument to Lady Vols legendary coach Pat Summitt.

"I don't think I'll ever forget it," Pat Summitt said during a dedication ceremony, unveiling Pat Summitt Plaza Friday morning.

Pat Summitt has eight national titles, over one-thousand wins, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. On Friday morning - the legendary coach added another honor to the stack - a permanent place honoring her achievements at the University of Tennessee.

Many of her former players, her son Tyler, UT Chancellor Jimmy Cheek, and Director of Athletics Dave Hart were among the large crowd that attended the 11 a.m. dedication ceremony for "Pat Summitt Plaza."

Hart opened the ceremony saying it was "a goose bumps day on Rocky Top." And that it was - with Tyler Summitt constantly at his mother's side along with the Lady Vols lining the stage in their coach's honor.

For many, including Tamika Catchings, the event was a way to say thank you to the coach who shaped so many lives on and off the court.

"Thank you Pat. . . thank you for everything. . . We love you," Catchings tearfully said before giving her former coach a hug.

Tyler Summitt said his mother had such a profound impact as a coach, mother and role model for three reasons: her passion to compete, her character, and her love of family.

"Every moment is a teaching moment - a very common phrase that my mother used - that she still uses today," said Tyler.

And teaching others is something Tyler said still makes his mother "light up." He told the crowd he wouldn't be where he is today without the lessons his mother taught him along the way.

"This happens because of you," Tyler said looking at his mom. "I used what you taught me to make this happen."

When Pat Summitt took the podium, she exuded exactly why she has made such a lasting footprint in sports history - her humility.

"I just want everyone to know - for me - it's not about me. It's about everyone out there who loves the University of Tennessee," said Pat.

At end of the speeches, the players, Tyler, and Hart unveiled the nearly nine foot, 500 pound, bronze statue of the legendary coach.

David Adickes, 86, has sculpted many historical figures - the Beatles, Stephen F. Austin, and 43 U.S. presidents. Now, the next figure cemented into his sculpting portfolio is Lady Vols legendary coach Pat Summitt.

Adickes has never actually met Summitt, so he relied on countless pictures and videos to encapsulate Summitt's character. Their only face-to-face contact was on FaceTime.

"Well I just wanted to get the right pose of her and the right attitude and expression," said Adickes. "I have her leaning back; she always had her arms crossed. There's hardly an exception. It's a pose of triumph."

Tamika Catchings couldn't agree more, saying the statue embodied her former coach and mentor. Now, everyone can remember why Summitt has changed basketball and women's history - her shinning confidence, strong character, and powerful leadership. Friday was truly a fitting honor to a basketball powerhouse who personifies what it means to be a Lady Vol.


Pat Summitt Coaching Tree

Lady Vols head coach emeritus Pat Summitt did not only produce a number of outstanding players during her 38 years at the helm of the UT program, but she turned out some successful coaches as well. Take a look at this list of Pat Summitt's former players, assistants, graduate assistants and more that are currently head coaches at colleges across the nation.

Pat Summitt's Influence in College Basketball Administration

Click here to see map.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pat Summitt Plaza dedication on Friday

At 11 a.m. on Friday, UT will honor the legacy of legendary Lady Vol basketball coach Pat Summitt with the dedication of a plaza bearing her name and the unveiling of a statue that was created in her likeness.

The dedication and unveiling of the bronze statue, created by internationally-known artist and sculptor David Adickes of Houston, Texas, will be held at the newly-constructed plaza on the corner of Lake Loudoun Blvd. and Phillip Fulmer Way. The event will be streamed live on

UT Chancellor Jimmy Cheek and Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics Dave Hart will help the university pay tribute to Summitt, the winningest coach in NCAA men's or women's basketball history. During her 38-year tenure from 1974 to 2012, the Lady Vols posted a 1,098-208 record (.840), won eight NCAA National Championships and claimed a combined 32 SEC regular season and tournament titles while graduating all 122 players who completed their eligibility at UT.

Along with the current Lady Vol staff members and players, several former players are expected to be on hand to help celebrate the accomplishments of Summitt during the late-morning ceremony. Following the unveiling of the statue and snapping of some group photos, a private luncheon honoring Summitt will be held in the Anderson Training Center.

The dedication is an outdoor event, and public seating will not be provided. Guests attending the ceremony will not be allowed to bring folding chairs of any kind.

Parking for the event will be available in the G-10 garage, located between Thompson-Boling Arena and Neyland Stadium. Access to G-10 will be via Neyland Drive only. Spaces for vehicles with disabled parking placards will be available in staff lot 23, located at the corner of Neyland and Lake Loudoun Blvd.

UT visitors and employees should be aware of temporary street closings for the dedication and plan travel accordingly.

Phillip Fulmer Way will close at 9 a.m. on Nov. 22 from the Andy Holt Tower administrative parking garage entrance to the intersection with Lake Loudoun Blvd. At 10:30 a.m., Lake Loudoun Blvd. will close from Neyland Drive to Volunteer Blvd. UTPD will manage traffic and crowd control for the event and will reopen streets when the crowd has dissipated following the event.

Approximately 600 donors stepped forward to provide financial support for the Pat Summitt Plaza, with leadership gifts coming from the LaPorte family of Elizabethton, Tenn., and Houston, Texas, and the Hilleary family of Spring City, Tenn. The LaPortes donated the statue, while the Hillearys provided the lead gift for the plaza in honor of Bill Hilleary, a community and business leader from Rhea County.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

#4/3 Lady Vols 87, Georgia Tech 76

Tennessee is off to a 4-0 start after topping Georgia Tech, 87-76, on Sunday night. The #4/3 Lady Vols pounded the glass to the tune of 65 total rebounds including 33 offensive boards. Bashaara Graves had the best game of her career with highs of 23 points, 18 rebounds and five assists. It was Graves' 13th career double-double.

Isabelle Harrison had 10 points and a career-high 18 rebounds for her seventh career double-double. It marked the second game that both Graves and Harrison each had double-doubles.

Freshman Mercedes Russell had 14 points in only 23 minutes.Meighan Simmons scored 13 for UT.

The Yellow Jackets (2-1) were led by freshman Kaela Davis -- the twin of Vols' freshman forward A.J. Davis -- who had 28 points on her brother's home court. Aaliyah Whiteside had 16 for Tech.

After Georgia Tech crept within five points, the Lady Vols ripped off a 12-0 run to firmly regain control of the win. Massengale canned back-to-back jumpers followed by a bevy of free throws to put Tennessee ahead 82-65 with just under three minutes remaining.

Georgia Tech made a run which brought the Yellow Jackets within five points at 70-65 on a jumper by Sydney Wallace with 6:48 left in the game. Earlier in the half, Tech cut its deficit to four points, 64-60 with 10:30 left in the game.

Tennessee corralled 65 rebounds, the most in a game since also grabbing 65 vs. Marquette on Nov. 23, 1996. That ties for the sixth-most in a game in school history.

The 33 offensive rebounds were the most since the Lady Vols had 34 vs. Arkansas on Jan. 10, 2000. Graves' 14 offensive boards are the most since at least 2000.

Graves had a double-double in the first half alone with 14 points and 11 rebounds as Tennessee jumped out to a 44-35 lead on the Yellow Jackets. Harrison also had 10 rebounds to go along with seven points.

Tennessee led by as many as 18 late in the first half at 41-23.

The Lady Vols dominated the glass, out rebounding Tech, 33-18 including 20 offensive rebounds in the first half.

Tennessee is now 6-0 all-time versus Georgia Tech including Holly Warlick's first-career win as a head coach last season, 71-54 in Atlanta.

The Lady Vols will have a week off before returning to action on Sunday, Nov. 24 as Oakland comes to Knoxville for the first time ever. The Lady Vols and Golden Grizzlies tip-off at 2 p.m., in a game that can be viewed on and heard on the Lady Vol Network.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

#4/3 Lady Vols 80, UTC 56

A year after being upset at Chattanooga, the Lady Vols made sure the Lady Mocs' visit to Knoxville didn't end with a similar result. After being tied at halftime, Tennessee pulled away for an 80-56 victory on Thursday night.

The #4/3 Lady Vols were led by junior guard Ariel Massengale, who scored 13 of her game-high 16 points in the decisive second half. In her regular-season home debut Mercedes Russell posted a career-high 15 points. Bashaara Graves chipped in with 11 points and seven rebounds. Meighan Simmons scored 10.

Tennessee moved to 3-0 while Chattanooga evened its record at 1-1. Last season, the Lady Mocs pulled off the 80-71 stunner to spoil Holly Warlick's head coaching debut. On Thursday, Holly Warlick won her 30th game as a head coach.

The Lady Vols shot 48.5 for the game including 52.9 in the second half, making its first five 3-point attempts in the final 20 minutes. UT's bench combined for 37 points. The Lady Vols out rebounded UTC, 50-33, led by Cierra Burdick's eight.

Chattanooga was led by Ashlen Dewart (13) and Taylor Hall (12).

Tennessee opened the second half on a 21-4 run keyed by seven consecutive points by Massengale to start the game's second stanza. After scoring just three points in a foul-plagued first half, Massengale had 10 of the Lady Vols' first 21 points. UT led 53-36 less than seven minutes into the second half and never looked back.

UT's pressing defense forced the Lady Mocs into several violations and poor shooting. Chattanooga shot 22.9 in the second half and forced UTC into 16 total turnovers.

The lead expanded to 21 on Russell's layup with 12 minutes left in the game, putting the Lady Vols ahead, 59-38.

Jasmine Jones' gave Tennessee a 75-50 lead with three minutes left.

Tennesse outscored Chattanooga, 48-24, in the second half after the teams stood deadlocked at 32 at halftime.

Through three games, UT has outscored its foes 134-84 in the second half after standing tied at 94 in the trio of first halves.

In the first half, Chattanooga attacked primarily from long distance, going 6-of-16 from 3-point range. Faith Dupree led UTC with nine first-half points on 4-of-7 shooting. Tennessee did much of its damage in the paint, scoring 14 of its 32 first-half points inside. Isabelle Harrison had six points and four rebounds at the half while freshman Mercedes Russell went 3-for-3 for six points in just 10 minutes.

Chattanooga's Alex Black made a 3-pointer with 1:01 left in the first half and Simmons answered with a short jumper from the right side 20 seconds later. Ka'Vonne Towns drove for a layup with 13 seconds remaining to knot the game at 32-32 heading into the break.

Lady Vol freshman Mercedes Russell had back-to-back buckets in the paint with under four minutes until halftime to push UT's lead to 26-23. The 6-6 rookie swished a smooth turnaround jumper from 10 feet out with 3:10 left to excite the home crowd.

Andraya Carter nailed a three pointer from the left wing at the 7:44 mark to tie the game at 18-18. That shot sparked a 7-0 Tennessee run to push UT ahead. Carter hit a pair of free throws with 6:08 left to give UT a 20-18 lead. Simmons followed with a steal and a layup to give the team a four-point advantage.

Down seven points, the Lady Vols started climbing back. Jordan Reynolds hit a jumper from the top of the key at 10:31 and Harrison connected on a long jumper from the left side a minute later to pull UT to within 16-13. Harrison knocked down a jump shot from the right side to make it a one-point game with 8:25 left in the half.

Massengale got into foul trouble coming out of the first media timeout. With UT down 8-7, Massengale charged down the lane and drew an offensive foul at the 14:28 mark. With two fouls, she went to the bench. With Carter running the point, Chattanooga went on an 8-2 run to build a 16-9 lead.

Tennessee took the lead when Graves made a layup 42 seconds in to the game. On the Lady Mocs' ensuing possession, Graves and Harrison picked up fouls before Taylor Hall sunk a jumper to even the game at 2-2.

Tennessee will next host Georgia Tech on Sunday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on FOX Sports South/FOX Sports Tennessee. The Lady Vol Network will also carry a radio broadcast.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Lady Vols Announce Signings of Dunbar, Nared, and Middleton

Tennessee has signed guard Alex Middleton and guard/forwards Kortney Dunbar and Jaime Nared to letters of intent.

The school announced the signings Wednesday in a university release.

Nared, who is 6-foot-1, is rated as one of the nation’s top 10 prospects in her class by multiple recruiting services. She averaged 23.7 points, 9.6 rebound and 4.7 steals per game last season for Portland (Ore.) Westview High.

Middleton, who is 5-9, averaged 16 points, 3.8 assists and 2.5 steals per game last season for Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Riverdale High. She was a finalist for Tennessee Miss Basketball honors and is rated as a top-35 national prospect by multiple recruiting services.

Dunbar, who is 6-1, had 14.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.6 steals and 2.7 assists per game last season for Edwardsville (Ill.) High.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pat Summitt on Cover of American Profile

Pat Summitt and her fight against Alzheimer's is the featured story in this week's American Profile, a mini-mag (newspaper insert). She makes an attractive cover girl. :)

A shortened version of the article appears here.

Monday, November 11, 2013

#4 Tennessee 81, #12 North Carolina 65

Fourth-ranked Tennessee played tough defense early to take control on the road, then did enough to turn away every charge from No. 12 North Carolina.

And yet, to listen to junior Cierra Burdick, starting the season with two road wins just wasn't good enough.

"We're striving for greatness," Burdick said after Monday night's 81-65 victory over the Tar Heels. "We want to get to the Final Four and that display was not going to get us there."

True, the Lady Vols weren't always sharp. The defense that shut down the Tar Heels early faded a bit after Tennessee (2-0) built a big lead. They committed 24 turnovers and gave up 20 offensive rebounds.

But they always had an answer for the Tar Heels (1-1), following a comeback from 12 points down at halftime to win at Middle Tennessee on Friday night.

"I didn't know if we'd be ready for the environment we've been in," Tennessee coach Holly Warlick said. "But both games, we stepped it up when we needed to."

Ariel Massengale scored a career-high 20 points while Isabelle Harrison added 14 for the Lady Vols, who led by 12 at halftime then scored the first seven points of the second half to blow the game open. Tennessee shot 40 percent but knocked down eight 3-pointers, while its defense harassed the Tar Heels into 23 turnovers.

The Tar Heels were again without coach Sylvia Hatchell, as the recently inducted Naismith Hall of Famer focuses on treatment for leukemia.

Hatchell, who was released from the hospital last week, addressed the team during their pregame meal and longtime assistant Andrew Calder led the team from the sideline.

In the end, it was a learning experience for North Carolina's youngsters, including a freshman class ranked No. 1 nationally by ESPN.

"We're talented and we're going to be very, very good at the end when it all clicks and we learn to play together as a team," Calder said. "But we battled hard."

Freshman Allisha Gray had 15 points and 10 rebounds to lead UNC, while top recruit Diamond DeShields finished with eight points on 3-for-15 shooting before fouling out with 2:10 left.

North Carolina shot just 9 for 37 in the first half (24 percent) and finished the game at 30 percent, struggling to string together enough baskets to cut into the Lady Vols' lead.

"They're aggressive, fast and they were in passing lanes a lot," said freshman Stephanie Mavunga, who had 11 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out late. "... I don't think it was anything we couldn't get through. We have amazing guards and people who can handle the ball and we work on dribbling every single day in practice. But we just had to take a step back and really think about exactly what it is, and make good passes."

The Tar Heels beat Air Force 87-26 in Friday night's opener, with DeShields and Mavunga saying afterward that they were focused on taking advantage of those 40 minutes to get ready for the Lady Vols.

But the Lady Vols' physical defense locked down on the Tar Heels early, frustrating the youngsters to the point that UNC's offense began devolving into a lot of 1-on-1 play. UNC went 5 1/2 minutes without a field goal in the first half, and at one point Calder wandered out onto the court during a stoppage and screamed at his team to "Run the offense!"

Massengale, a 5-foot-7 junior, finished 5 of 12 from the field with all of her baskets coming from 3-point range. She matched her career-high with six rebounds to go with seven assists and three steals in 40 minutes.

Harrison went 4 of 5, including a key jumper at the 5-minute mark after the Tar Heels had cut a 21-point lead down to 11.

Sophomore Xylina McDaniel added 12 points and 10 rebounds for UNC, which lost sophomore reserve Megan Buckland to a right knee injury in the second half.

Friday, November 08, 2013

#4 Lady Vols 67, Middle Tennessee State 57

A year after opening the season with a road loss to an in-state foe, the Lady Vols were determined to not let that same predicament happen again.

After the first 20 minutes at the Murphy Center on Friday night, the fourth-ranked Lady Vols were once again in a perilous situation.

But a furious charge to begin the second half made sure Holly Warlick's team didn't have a repeat of last season's opener as Tennessee played stout defense while getting its shooting in gear in the final 20 minutes for a 67-57 victory over Middle Tennessee.

The Orange & White were serenaded with "It's Great To Be A Tennessee Vol" as the time expired with the Lady Vols moving to 1-0.

Tennessee trailed 34-22 at halftime before reeling off the first 14 points of the second half to surge into the lead at 36-34 with 14 minutes left in regulation.

The game stayed within one possession for the next five minutes before Tennessee was able to secure a comfortable advantage.

Junior Isabelle Harison led Tennessee with 13 points while grabbing seven rebounds. Junior guard Ariel Massengale scored 12 points and handed out five assists.

Freshman Mercedes Russell tallied 11 points in her debut game with the Lady Vols. In her return to the court after missing most of last season with an injury, Andraya Carter added 10 points including a pair of clutch 3-pointers.

Despite a tough shooting night, Cierra Burdick grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds as Tennessee out rebounded the Blue Raiders, 46-44.

UT's top two scorers from a year ago: Meighan Simmons (9 points) and Bashara Graves (4 points) were limited to a total of 13 points. Last season, the pair combined to average 30 points per contest.

MT was led by Ebony Rowe, who tallied 21 points and grabbed 16 rebounds. Shanice Cason also had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Blue Raiders (0-1). Russell's jumper with 13:58 left in the second half gave Tennessee a 36-34 lead, the team's first edge since 10-9 midway in the first half.

After Middle Tennessee briefly regained the lead, the Lady Vols took the lead for good on a jumper by Harrison with 9:39 left in regulation. The lead moved to six on a 3-pointer by Carter with 8:18 on the clock. The lead steadily moved to as large as 10. A pair of free throws by Massengale gave UT a 57-47 lead with 4:12 left in the game.

MT continued to pressure in the final minute, cutting its deficit to five points on a pair of free throws by Cason with 25 seconds left.

The Lady Vols' defense in the second half was outstanding, MT was limited to just 6-of-29 from the floor for 20.7 percent.

Tennessee shot 36.1 for the game including 46.4 in the second half as the Lady Vols outscored Middle, 45-23 in the final 20 minutes.

Last season, Tennessee suffered a stunning 80-71 loss at Chattanooga in the first game of Warlick's tenure as UT's head coach. The Lady Vols rebounded to seven games in a row and finished the season 27-8, advancing to the NCAA Elite Eight.

Fast forward to 2013-14, and Tennessee will take its 1-0 record on the road to #12 North Carolina to play the Tar Heels on Monday, Nov. 11 at 9 p.m., as part of ESPN's 24-Hour Marathon of Basketball to kickoff the new season.

Catchings Inducted Into Lady Vol Hall of Fame

The 13th group of inductees was formally welcomed into the Tennessee Lady Volunteer Hall of Fame Friday night in a private ceremony held in front of family, friends and UT Athletics administrators at the Knoxville Hilton downtown.

"These women and their accomplishments are worthy of this special recognition," UT Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Dave Hart said. "Two members of this year's class are Olympic medalists; all four have earned All-America honors and their addition to this prestigious group of women is a testament to our history in women's athletics."

The four inductees in the Class of 2013 represent five different sports. The honorees are Valerie Bertrand Bachmann (cross country/track & field), Vilmarie Castellvi (tennis), Tamika Catchings (basketball) and Rhian Wilkinson (soccer). Athletes are eligible for inclusion 10 years after they have graduated from the University, while administrators may be admitted to the Lady Vol Hall of Fame five years following their last service to UT.

In addition to Friday night's enshrinement activities, the inductees will be introduced during an on-field presentation at the Tennessee versus Auburn football game at Neyland Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Throughout the 37-year history of Lady Vol student-athletes, 1,947 women have donned the Orange and White Tennessee uniform. With the addition of the four individuals in the 2013 class of the Lady Vol Hall of Fame, membership now has reached 74 in this very elite Hall, including 65 former UT student-athletes.

A member of the basketball team from 1997-2001, Tamika Catchings was on Tennessee's famed 39-0 NCAA Championship team of 1997-98, earning NCAA All-Final Four honors that season as well as USBWA and SEC Freshman of the Year accolades. Along with fellow Lady Vol Hall of Famers Chamique Holdsclaw and Semeka Randall, the talented trio became known as the "Three Meeks" during that magical campaign. Averaging 16.6 points and 7.9 rebounds per contest during her career, Catchings ranks fourth in career scoring (2,113) and rebounding (1,004) at UT. One of only two four-time WBCA All-Americans in Lady Vol history, Catchings helped Tennessee win four SEC titles, was a three-time first-team All-SEC selection and was named AP, Naismith, USBWA and WBCA Player of the Year in 2000 as a junior and surely would have raked in more accolades as a senior if not for a season-ending knee injury 17 games into her final year. That malady only served as a speed bump, as she embarked on a post-collegiate career that saw her win gold medals with the United States at the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. She still plays professionally and is a perennial all-star for the Indiana Fever, who drafted her with the third overall pick in the 2001 WNBA Draft.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Lady Vols 115, Carson-Newman 31

A 20-0 run to start the 2013-14 season sealed a dominating 115-31 victory for the No. 4 Lady Vols over Carson-Newman in the team's lone exhibition on Monday night in front of 10,507 at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Led by sophomore forward Bashaara Graves, Tennessee had six double-digit scorers and all nine Lady Vols that saw the floor registered a bucket.

Graves - last season's SEC Freshman/Newcomer of the Year - led UT with a 21-point, 11-rebound double-double. She hit nine points from the free throw line, finishing the night 9-of-10 from the stripe. The 6-foot-2 Clarksville, Tenn., native was 6-of-8 from the floor and added five steals.

Making their Lady Vol debuts, freshmen Jordan Reynolds and Mercedes Russell scored 17 and 16 points, respectively, while shooting a combined 13-of-23 from the floor. Reynolds added six rebounds and four steals and the 6-foot-6 Russell finished with a game-high four blocks.

Senior Meighan Simmons (14 points) and juniors Isabelle Harrison (12) and Cierra Burdick (12) also reached double-digits.

Junior point guard Ariel Massengale led the game with 11 assists. Andraya Carter and Nia Moore added nine points each.

Tennessee was superior in all areas of the game, dominating the Lady Eagles on points off turnovers, 49-0, and points in the paint, 60-8. UT forced 33 Carson-Newman turnovers on the night.

The Lady Vols also captured the rebounding battle, 58-32, and outshot Carson-Newman 51.9 percent to 15.8 percent.

The Lady Vols held the Division II Lady Eagles without a field goal for the opening 10:56 of the game en route to a 51-17 halftime score. In addition to the 20-0 run after tip-off, UT used a 16-0 stretch to turn a 34-10 lead into a 40-point, 50-10 advantage with 2:37 to go in the period.

Tennessee shot 45 percent in the half, while holding Carson-Newman to just 10.7 percent from the field and forcing 18 Lady Eagle turnovers in the half.

Simmons, a Co-SEC Player of the Year last season, extended the lead to 30 points at 40-10 with a fastbreak layup with 4:41 remaining in the first half. The Lady Vols hit the 50-point mark with 2:37 to go in the period, as Graves converted a fastbreak layup to give UT a 40-point lead. The Lady Eagles closed the gap with a 7-1 run over the final 2:14.

It was more of the same in the second stanza as Tennessee used early runs of 12-0 and 15-1 to build an 80-24 lead with 12:46 to go. A layup from Russell with 6:14 on the clock put the Lady Vols over the 100-point mark. The Orange and White extended its advantage to its biggest of the contest at the final 84-point margin of 115-31.

Tennessee officially opens the 2013-14 regular season on Friday, Nov. 8 at Middle Tennessee in Murfreesboro. Tip-off is slated for 8 p.m. ET at the 11,520-seat Murphy Center. The Lady Vols came out on top in an overtime battle in Knoxville a year ago, topping the Blue Raiders 88-81 on Nov. 28, 2012.