Lady Vols Defeat UTC, 80-56

Thursday, November 14, 2013 - by B.B. Branton

"At halftime, (game tied 32-32) Coach Warlick told us that if we did not come out with a win, she would make out lives a holy _____ and you fill in the blanks."

-UT junior guard Ariel Massengale in post-game comments after a 80-56 win


KNOXVILLE - In a tale of two halves, host Tennessee Lady Vols used a strong second half inside game and a hot shooting hand to defeat Chattanooga, 80-56, here Thursday in a women's college basketball game in Thompson-Boling Arena.

Tied 32-32 at half, the Lady Vols opened the second half with a strong pressure defense which caused several UTC turnovers and shot 60% from the field in the first 10 minutes, while UTC shot 35% in the same time frame.

A quick 3 by UT's Ariel Massengale to open the final 20 minutes to make it 35-32 and her four straight free throws (39-34 at 18:07)  - UT was only 2 of 2 in the entire first half -  were signs of thing to come for both UT and UTC.

"We had to come out and play hard in the final 20 minutes and we did," said Massengale who had 13 of her game-high 16 points in the second half and four of her five assists.

"For some reason we were winded in the first half and were tired and our effort was not good," said UT coach Holly Warlick who saw her team stay unbeaten at 3-0.

"We work hard in practice, but it was hard to watch when we don't give effort."

UTC, who upset UT, 80-71, a year ago in Chattanooga, had plenty to do with making it difficult to watch as the visitors shot well from 3-point land (6-16), led in steals (4-2), stayed out of foul trouble (UT shot only 2-2) and led in assists (9-7).

Dupree (9 pts) and Hall (7 pts.) had more points than any of the Lady Vols at the break.

But after coach Warlick's spirited halftime speech, the hometown team stepped it up going on a 19-4 run, including a Massengale 3-pointer at the 15:29 mark.

UT's Mercedes Russell had her motor running well in the second half, scoring nine of her 15 points after intermission, while teammate Meighan Simmons had six of her 10 points in the second half.

"I knew I had to get more involved in the game tonight (after scoring only four points Sunday in an 81-65 win at North Carolina)," said the 6-6 Russell.

The Lady Vols as a whole were more involved and active the final 20 minutes leading in blocked shots (4-0), shot 52.9% from the field (UTC shot 22.9%) and caused six UTC turnovers and had three steals in the first 7:25.

Asked what was the difference in the two halves, UTC's Faith Dupree said, "We didn't block out, we let them out-rebound us (30-19) and didn't do well in getting into our offense."

"They got a head of steam and we didn't do much to stop it," said Taylor Hall. "We didn't do well when they came at us. We backed down."

Ashlen Dewart led UTC in scoring with 13 points, plus six boards, while Dupree had nine points all in the first half) and Hall had 12 points and eight rebounds.

First Half: The solid play of the UTC women and lack of effort by the Lady Vols had the visitors up by 7 at 16-9 at the 11 minute mark of the first half after 3-pointers by Hall and Dupree as part of an 8-0 UTC run.

"We moved the ball well in the first half, but not in the second half, " said UTC coach Jim Foster whose team is 1-1. 

"We flat out knew they would be more aggressive and we didn't step it up. Hopefully we will be more aggressive in the future and we have already addressed that issue."

Although out-rebounded 20-14 in the opening half, UTC stayed with the Lady Vols, due to good ball movement and the aforementioned good shooting.

Hall and Dupree (both 1-1) and Meghan Downes (2-5) all hit timely 3s.

After UTC's 8-0 run for the 16-9 lead, UT then went on a 13-2 run of its own to lead 22-18 at 5:31.

But 3s by Dewart, to pull the Mocs within one at 22-21, and Alex Black, to tie the game at 30-30, for the most part kept the pro-Vols crowd (10,508) out of the game and UTC in it.

 For UTC, the shots that fell in the first half (40.7%) did not go down in the final 20 minutes (22.9%).

Tennessee 80, Chattanooga 56

UTC 32-24 -- 56

UT 32-48 -- 80

 UT  3-0   UTC 1-1

Top Scorers: UTC - Ashlen Dewart (13), Taylor Hall (12), Meghan Downes (11)

UT - Ariel Massengale (16), Mercedes Russell (15)

Rebounds: UTC - Taylor Hall (8), UT - Cierra Burdick (8) 

Next Games:  Sunday Nov. 17 Belmont ... 2 p.m. at McKenzie Arena 

UT: Sun. Nov 17 Ga. Tech ... 7 p.m. at Thompson-Boling Arena

 contact B.B. Branton at

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