Tennessee's Andraya Carter (14) tries to to shoot over Kentucky's Jennifer O'Neil (0) before the buzzer that ended the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Patrick Murphy-Racey)
Patrick Murphy-Racey
February 15, 2015

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Tennessee found a way to beat a top-10 team and remain unbeaten in Southeastern Conference competition even after losing its best player.

The sixth-ranked Lady Vols may need to show similar resourcefulness for some time to come.

Ariel Massengale scored 17 points to end her slump and Tennessee overcame the loss of starting center Isabelle Harrison to beat No. 10 Kentucky 72-58 on Sunday.

Harrison, the Lady Vols' top scorer and rebounder, was carried off the court early in the second half after her right leg and right knee twisted awkwardly as she battled for a rebound. Tennessee also lost guard Jordan Reynolds, who was hit in the nose Thursday in a victory at Mississippi. She started Sunday, but left two minutes into the game and didn't return.

''We've faced adversity before this season,'' said Tennessee forward Cierra Burdick, who had 14 points and nine rebounds. ''We've taken some blows, and we continue to get up. We've got to get up together and come together as one and just play tough, play hard and play for our injured sisters. We'll continue to work. Everyone goes through tough times during the season. You can let it break you or you can let it make you. We've just got to let it make us.''

Tennessee coach Holly Warlick had no immediate update on Harrison's condition but said Reynolds ''got a little dizzy'' early in the game. Harrison has been wearing a brace on her right knee since spraining it in Tennessee's season opener, an injury that caused her to miss five games.

The Lady Vols (22-3, 12-0 SEC) won their 18th straight home game and 19th consecutive SEC contest by holding Kentucky (19-6, 8-4) to its lowest point total of the season. Tennessee hasn't lost a home game or an SEC matchup since falling 75-71 to Kentucky on Feb. 16, 2014.

''We just weren't tough enough,'' Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell said. ''It's a tough game out there. I thought they were a little bit tougher than us.''

Warlick had told her players before the game she needed that kind of toughness from them.

''If you're going to survive, you've got to fight and you've got to get down and get your hands muddy,'' Warlick said. ''You've got to get them dirty. That's what we talked about. I'm really proud of our team and how they competed, how they fought.''

The game was tied 31-all at halftime and went back and forth early in the second half before a Massengale 3-pointer put Tennessee ahead for good at 40-38 with 14:59 left.

Massengale had scored a total of one point and had shot a combined 0 for 11 from the floor in the two games leading up to this one.

''We're a team,'' Massengale said. ''We're a family. When one goes down, that means other people just have to step up. Myself and my teammates, we all just stepped up and tried to get the `W' for Izzy.''

TIP-INS:

Kentucky: Makayla Epps had a team-high 13 points for the Wildcats after scoring 42 on Thursday in a double-overtime victory over Mississippi State. In eight games since taking over as Kentucky's starting point guard, Epps has averaged 20 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3 assists per game.

Tennessee: Massengale's 17 points increased her career total to 1,009, making her the third Lady Vol to join the 1,000-point club this season. Harrison and junior forward Bashaara Graves reached that mark earlier.

PINK VS. PINK:

Sunday's matchup marked Tennessee's annual ''Live Pink, Bleed Orange'' game to support the fight against breast cancer. Each school wore pink uniforms, with Kentucky sporting the darker shade.

Liza Graves, a breast cancer survivor who played for Tennessee from 1975-78, received a game ball. Officials from Champions for a Cause, a foundation started by Tennessee coach Holly Warlick and LSU coach Nikki Caldwell, presented a $10,000 check to the University of Tennessee Medical Center's Breast Health Outreach Program.

QUOTABLE:

''We really send out our prayers and best wishes to Isabelle,'' Mitchell said. ''We know what that feels like, and it doesn't feel good when one of your players goes down. Obviously it was bad enough that she didn't return to the game, so we're really thinking about her and will be praying for her.'' Kentucky guard Janee Thompson dislocated her ankle and broke her fibula on Jan. 11, knocking her out for the rest of the season.

NEXT UP:

Kentucky hosts No. 15 Texas A&M on Thursday.

Tennessee hosts Alabama on Thursday.

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