Feb. 5, 2012
KNOXVILLE - No. 8 Tennessee started a new homecourt conference win streak on Sunday afternoon with an 82-61 victory over Auburn. Glory Johnson and Ariel Massengale led all scorers with 14 points each. Johnson also grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds and had four blocks for her ninth double-double of the season, while Massengale added four assists and four steals.
Shekinna Stricklen posted a double-double as well, her third of the season and first since Nov. 27 against Baylor, with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
UT moves to 17-6 overall and 8-2 in the SEC while Auburn lost for the fourth time in five games and fell to 11-13 and 3-8 in the league. Tennessee has won 14 games in a row at home vs. Auburn, dating to 1989.
After trailing very early in the game, Tennessee made easy work of Auburn, pulling away in the second half. A layup by Vicki Baugh with 4:05 left in the first half gave the Lady Vols their first double-figure lead of the afternoon (38-27) and they continued to hold a margin of at least eight for the remainder of the game.
Five consecutive points by Massengale gave UT a 56-39 lead with 13:24 left in the game. That was Tennessee's largest lead to that point. Auburn cut the deficit to 11 at 58-47 on a lay-up by Morgan Jennings with 9:57 left, but Massengale answered with her own hoop with 9:30 left in the game.
Hasina Muhammad's lay-up with 6:53 left cut the Auburn deficit to eight at 61-53 but Meighan Simmons came right back to regain a 10-point and Johnson's putback expanded the lead back to 12 at 65-53. A Lady Vols' 11-0 run late in the game put the contest out of reach. Shekinna Stricklen's lay-up off a feed from Massengale ballooned UT's lead to 72-53 with 4:27 left.
A Taber Spani 3-pointer with 5:00 left in the first half gave the Lady Vols a 34-25 lead. Tennessee continued to pull away as the Lady Vols took a 44-31 lead into halftime on an Massengale lay-up with 1:45 left in the half.
Auburn held an advantage as large as five points early on, but Tennessee took the lead for good at 16-14 on an Alicia Manning lay-up with 13:54 left in the first half. A jumper by Spani with 12:15 left finished a 7-0 run for the Lady Vols and gave them an 18-14 lead.
The Lady Vols had their 28-game home SEC win streak come to an end on Thursday night as South Carolina rallied late to beat UT, 64-60. In that game, Tennessee did not record a steal. Against Auburn, the Lady Vols came away with 13 thefts.
The Lady Vols head to Vanderbilt for a Thursday night game at 9 p.m. ET. That game will air on CSS and can be heard on the Lady Vol Network.