Tennessee center Isabelle Harrison (20) grabs a rebound away from Stanford forward Kailee Johnson (32) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
Wade Payne
December 20, 2014

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Tennessee is starting to play the kind of defense its coach has wanted to see from the Lady Volunteers.

Ariel Massengale scored 14 of her 18 points in the second half Saturday as the 11th-ranked Lady Vols breezed past No. 7 Stanford 59-40 for their fifth consecutive victory. Never before in its storied history had Tennessee held a top-10 opponent to such a low point total.

''I loved it,'' Tennessee coach Holly Warlick said. ''I'm sure everybody else loved watching it. I enjoyed watching it.''

Her former boss enjoyed it as well.

After viewing the game from her seat at Thompson-Boling Arena, former Tennessee coach Pat Summitt tweeted, ''Great defensive effort today by Lady Vol hoops! A lot of fun to watch. Enjoy your five-day Christmas break.''

Stanford (6-4) has lost consecutive games for the first time since December 2010 and has been held below 50 points in back-to-back games for the first time since 1976-77. The Cardinal lost 54-46 at Chattanooga on Wednesday.

''Well, we've played a lot better than that,'' Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. ''To compliment Tennessee, they came out with a lot of energy. They worked really hard. They were extremely physical. I don't think we adjusted.''

Tennessee hasn't allowed any of its last five opponents to exceed 51 points.

''I think it's finally starting to click for us,'' Massengale said. ''We're starting to see how good we really can be on the defensive end of the floor.''

Stanford had 20 turnovers and two assists. After Lili Thompson's 3-pointer cut Tennessee's lead to 31-22 with 14:44 remaining, Massengale scored the game's next eight points to put the Lady Vols in command.

Massengale sank four 3-pointers and scored 14 points in a span of just over five minutes to spark a 16-2 run.

Tennessee's football and men's basketball teams watched the game from the student section. But the Lady Vols made the biggest impression on the spectator who led this program win eight national titles.

''I don't have a stare and I'm not Pat Summitt,'' said Warlick, a former assistant on Summitt's staff. ''But you form your philosophies and I was with her when she did that. If she didn't teach me anything (else), she taught me how to know the game and understand what's important. That's going to continue with us -- defense, rebounding and playing hard and giving your effort.

''When you have great effort, great things happen.''

TIP-INS

Stanford: The Cardinal shot below 30 percent for a second straight game. After shooting 27.7 percent in its loss to Chattanooga, Stanford shot 25.5 percent against Tennessee.

Tennessee: Redshirt freshman guard Jannah Tucker played Saturday for the first time in two years. Tucker redshirted last year while recovering from a knee injury that also prevented her from playing her senior season in high school.

PREGAME RALLY

About 100 fans gathered at the Pat Summitt Plaza across the street from the arena for a pregame rally to keep the Lady Vols nickname and logo for all women's sports. Tennessee announced last month that all women's sports other than the basketball squad would simply be named the Volunteers starting next year.

The rally included Tennessee state Rep. Roger Kane, the father of former Lady Vols javelin thrower Holly Kane Douglas. Kane said ''to wipe this away marginalizes the accomplishment of women across this state'' and called the school's decision ''wrong on so many levels.''

DIFFERENT RANKINGS

This was just the second time in the 32-game history of this series that Tennessee and Stanford had faced each other with neither team ranked in the top five. The only other time it happened was when No. 7 Tennessee beat No. 8 Stanford 84-77 on Dec. 30, 1990.

UP NEXT

Stanford: Hosts UC Davis on Monday.

Tennessee: Hosts No. 16 Oregon State on Dec. 28.

You May Like