"I'm proud of the fact we stayed the course and played hard," Georgia coach Andy Landers said. "For the most part, we played well, but they're hard. I thought we played with a lot of heart. If we had played a little smarter at times, we might have gotten out of here with a W."
The Lady Bulldogs (11-4, 2-1 SEC) were within one point at 77-76 after Sherrill Baker hit two free throws with 3:53 remaining, but Tennessee (16-0, 2-0) scored the next seven points and kept Georgia at least four points away the rest of the game.
Baker never came out of the game and tied her career-high with 25 points. She also added six rebounds.
"She's the quickest player on the floor," Landers said. "The way that she scored she ought to score, driving past people and laying it up."
Georgia's top six played 192 of the game's 200 player minutes. The total would have been higher if starting forward Megan Darrah hadn't fouled out with 7:28 left.
Forward Tasha Humphrey played 39 minutes and had 23 points and eight rebounds despite being hampered by a cramp in her left calf the last five minutes.
"I feel really good," Humphrey said. "I think we turned a lot of heads tonight. A lot of people had underestimated us, but you can see we've taken a lot of strides as a basketball team. We've survived a lot of adversity, but we're still here and we're still strong."
Humphrey dueled Tennessee freshman Candace Parker all night, and Parker, a 6-foot-3 forward, finished with 26 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
"That's two of the best (players) that we've had in this league," Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said. "Both made a lot of big plays."
Tennessee continued its domination of this rivalry, winning for 12th time in the last 14 meetings and the 33rd time in the 47-game history of the series. The Bulldogs haven't beaten Tennessee in Knoxville since 1996.
Still, Summitt was irked afterward.
"I don't know where our defense is at right now," she said. "Obviously, we did enough offensively to win. I told our team they're living on the edge."
Georgia fell to 368-6 under Landers when scoring more than 80 points.
"We're just not a consistently good defensive basketball team," Landers said.
Georgia led 38-36 after Janese Hardrick hit a 3-pointer with 1:52 left in the first half, but Tennessee scored seven points in the final 1:07 of the half to take a 43-38 lead into the locker room. The Lady Bulldogs never led again.
That stretch at the end of the first half was a sore spot for Landers. The Lady Vols switched to a zone defense about that time, and Georgia seemed flustered by the change.
"We just came down and set up too far outside, and I don't understand why," he said.