No. 6 Tennessee tops Vanderbilt in Knoxville

March 1, 2015

Paris Kea Box Score | Bridges' Photos

SEC Tournament Bracket

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The Vanderbilt women weren't able to contain Tennessee's Ariel Massengale on Sunday. As a result, the Commodores weren't able to avoid the play-in round of next week's SEC Tournament in Little Rock.

Massengale scored 26 points and tied a school single-game record with eight 3-pointers to help No. 6 Tennessee beat Vanderbilt 79-49 in the regular-season finale for both teams in Knoxville.

Vanderbilt (14-15, 5-11) will be the No. 11 seed at the SEC tourney, and will face No. 14-seeded Alabama on Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m.

Tennessee's victory's over Vanderbilt couple with No. 13 Kentucky's 67-56 triumph over No. 2 South Carolina allowed the Lady Vols (25-4, 15-1 SEC) to win a share of the regular-season conference title. Because the Gamecockswon the lone head-to-head meeting between the two schools, South Carolina (27-2, 15-1) got the No. 1 seed in the SEC tournament.

Massengale went 8 of 11 from 3-point range and Tennessee was 12 of 22 from beyond the arc.

For Vanderbilt, Paris Kea scored a career-high 18 points. She finished 7-of-14 from the floor while playing a team-high 31 minutes. Marqu'es Webb added 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting before fouling out for the Commodores.

It was the last regular-season home game for Tennessee seniors Cierra Burdick, Ariel Massengale and Isabelle Harrison, who each received a framed jersey and a bouquet of orange roses in a pregame ceremony.

Harrison, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee Feb. 15, received a standing ovation when she checked into the game with 4.5 seconds left. Burdick had 12 points, seven assists and six rebounds.

Vanderbilt was1 of 11 from 3-point range and committed 25 turnovers.

Massengale scored the first 11 points for Tennessee, which never trailed all day. Her eight 3-pointers matched the school single-game mark set by Meighan Simmons, who reached that mark twice before ending her college career last season. Her 26 points were two off her career high.

Jaime Nared added 13 points and Andraya Carter had 12 points for Tennessee. Paris Kea scored a career-high 18 points and Marqu'es Webb had 10 for Vanderbilt.

The fast start by Massengale helped Tennessee own a 39-24 lead at the end of a first half marked by sloppy play from both teams. The two teams combined for 28 turnovers -- 15 from Vanderbilt, 13 from Tennessee -- in the first half.

Vanderbilt: Webb continued her recent shooting accuracy before fouling out with 5:11 left. Webb shot 5 of 7 from the floor. The 6-foot-1 forward has shot 67.7 percent (21 of 31) over her last five games and is shooting 59.3 percent (67 of 113) this season.

Tennessee: Lady Vols coach Holly Warlick was wearing an orange cast on her right wrist. Warlick broke a bone in her wrist Wednesday while slipping on the ice at Tennessee's campus, though she coached in a victory Thursday at Georgia before getting a cast placed on her wrist Friday.

Vanderbilt plays in the first round of the SEC tournament Wednesday in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Tennessee plays in the SEC tournament quarterfinals Friday in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb
(On struggles against Tennessee)
"I think the tough thing is that we couldn't get our shooters open, not that we have a lot of shooters right now. The shooters that we have, we couldn't get them good looks. Where we got good looks was in the post and they doubled down and I thought our timing was off in the post. I just didn't think we flowed from our break to our offense. So we struggled offensively. The biggest thing is that we couldn't stop them defensively. We let their shooters get hot."

(On turnovers being a problem)
"We lead the league in turnovers. As soon as we tried to get more possessions and we get the ball back, we give it right back to them and not convert on those possessions. That obviously is frustrating to the players. I think that's been an issue all year with us. I would rather attack in turnovers and be more aggressive and I think a lot of it has just been hesitating."

(On differences when facing Tennessee without Isabelle Harrison)
"I think it's obvious people have stepped up, Burdick, Graves and obviously Massengale. Those three now it's like they're the big three. When you have a strong size inside you still have a force inside so she's being more aggressive. And then you have Burdick who has stepped up and she's been more aggressive as well as Massengale. They're a different team. I don't necessarily think they're better or worse. I think a lot of Izzy she's a great player. She's from Nashville and I watched her play, recruited her, and I'm as sad as everybody else about her injury. It's a tough way to end your career. And I think one of the things she did was she improved more than probably anybody I've seen here at Tennessee over her four years. That girl got better. I know she was doing some good work for them."

Vanderbilt Guard Paris Kea
(On using her performance in the game against Tennessee in the future)
"In practice coach tells me I need to work harder, to transfer that over to a game. So that's what I've been doing, listening to coach and it's shown. I don't think we got the results we wanted, but I'm definitely seeing improvement."



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