Nov. 29, 2011
KNOXVILLE - A pair of freshmen, Cierra Burdick and Ariel Massengale, each scored a career-high 14 points and keyed a pair of first-half runs as the No. 8 Tennessee women's basketball team defeated in-state rival Middle Tennessee, 82-43, Tuesday evening at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Massengale logged just 23 minutes, but led the Lady Vols in both scoring for the first time in her career, tying Burdick. Massengale has led Tennessee (3-2) in assists in all five games to open her collegiate career, and had zero turnovers for the first time Tuesday night.
Massengale, and UT's other four starters, had a light night after controlling the action throughout the game's entirety. Johnson played a starter-high 25 minutes and tallied nine points and nine rebounds.
Despite the Lady Vols' largest win this season of 39 points, UT matched its least amount of double-figure scorers this season with two. Senior preseason All-American Shekinna Stricklen also chipped in 12 points.
Over the first 10 minutes of the second half, Tennessee extended its 48-24 halftime lead to a 62-30 margin and the Lady Vols never looked back.
UT limited the Blue Raiders (4-3) to 19 points in the second half. Middle Tennessee was led by a game-high 16 points from Kortni Jones. Ebony Rowe also had 10 points for MTSU.
In the first half, Middle Tennessee jumped out to a 5-2 lead before the Lady Vols scored 20 of the game's next 22 points to take a 22-7 lead at the 11:47 mark, setting the tone for the rest of the game.
During that stretch, Massengale played a role in 14 of UT's 20 points, contributing nine points and assisting on a pair of baskets. The freshman standout also had one of her two steals in the run. She had already matched her career high with 11 points by halftime.
The Blue Raiders responded with an 11-5 run to bring their deficit back within single digits at 27-18 with 7:08 left.
UT reinforced its dominance, scoring 21 of the opening stanza's final 27 points, to take a 48-24 halftime lead. Burdick scored all seven of her first-half points in the run as the Lady Vols' 24-point advantage at intermission was their largest of the season.
The Lady Vols return to action Sunday, Dec. 4, when they welcome No. 21 Texas to Knoxville. The game will be televised on Fox Sports South.