KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WRCB/AP) - Ariel Massengale scored a season-high 19 points and No. 6 Tennessee snapped Chattanooga's six-game winning streak in blowout fashion with a 90-47 win on Tuesday night.
Massengale made all six of her shots, four from 3-point range, to spark UT to its second straight lop-sided win over its in-state mid-major rival. Tennessee blasted UTC 103-43 a year ago in Thompson-Boling Arena.
"Embarrassing. Humbling. They're a great team, but you have to control the things you can control, and we didn't do that," said Lady Mocs' head coach Wes Moore. "We had the deer-in-the-headlights look. We were shaky. We were making mistakes that we would normally not make.
"I told our team at halftime that we have to get back to competing in games like this. There was a time, even when Tennessee was winning national championships, we could compete with them and we are going to try our best to get back to that point.
Chattanooga didn't seem phased by its Big Orange opponent in the opening moments, trailing just 10-8 through the first three minutes. But Massengale hit a 3-pointer with 16:11 left in the first half that sparked a 30-0 Lady Vols' run that quickly put the game away.
The Lady Mocs went without a basket for 12 minutes and never recovered.
"We have been putting so much time and effort into rebounding and defense the past couple of practices, and knowing that that's something that as a team we want to work on, and individually we want to get better defensively, and we need to get better," said Tennessee forward Glory Johnson, who finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds. "Everyone needs to get better defensively. Shutting them down was huge for us because it showed that everything we did in practice carried over into the game."
Tennessee (10-3) led 50-16 after a first-half that Moore described as "humbling," and pushed the margin to 46 points late. It's the second ugly loss this season for UTC against an elite program. The Lady Mocs lost 91-31 at top-ranked Baylor in November.
One of the few positives for Chattanooga was the play Faith Dupree. The sophomore forward, who signed with Tennessee but transferred after sitting out her freshman season because of back problems, led Chattanooga (8-4) with 17 points.
"It was awkward. I was anxious at the beginning, definitely. I think making those first couple of shots helped me calm down a little bit," Dupree said of her return to Knoxville. "Coming back to this atmosphere I knew that I should step up. I knew that their post was going to play harder than what I have been playing against.
"I had to pick myself up because, I haven't been playing as well as I should have and I knew that coming into the game."
Kamiko Williams came in for Tennessee during the run, marking her first appearance of the season. The junior guard had surgery on July 22 to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee.
"I was really excited," Williams said. "I had kind of like the jitter bugs at the beginning of the game. I don't know if my team noticed; I was bouncing off the walls. But, yeah, it's great to be back after being out for like five, five and a half months.
"It's hard, so just to be back with my teammates, you know (they were) still encouraging and talking and stuff like that, but to be able to get out on the floor with them is a good feeling."
Both sides now gear up for the long haul of conference play. Tennessee will host rival Georgia on Thursday night, while Chattanooga tries to regroup for a string of 17 straight Southern Conference games that starts Saturday at College of Charleston.
"You hope you can benefit from this, but we'll see," said Moore, whose team is already 2-0 in league play. "After the Baylor debacle early in the year, I thought we picked it up and played better, and I hope this will do the same thing for us.
"I hope we will realize the kind of intensity and kind of energy you have to play with to keep at this level."