Tennessee (16-3, 6-0) responded and extended a seven-point lead over Georgia (16-6, 5-3) to 13 points and then finished with a 77-70 win over its SEC rival at Thompson-Boling Arena before a crowd of 10,118. Tennessee ran its SEC home court winning streak to 57 games and won its 40th consecutive regular season SEC contest, a run that dates back to 2002."> Tennessee (16-3, 6-0) responded and extended a seven-point lead over Georgia (16-6, 5-3) to 13 points and then finished with a 77-70 win over its SEC rival at Thompson-Boling Arena before a crowd of 10,118. Tennessee ran its SEC home court winning streak to 57 games and won its 40th consecutive regular season SEC contest, a run that dates back to 2002.">

Lady Vols use depth to defeat Lady Bulldogs

Lady Vol senior Loree Moore left the court in a wheelchair Monday night, but not before telling her teammates: "Finish out the game." <p> Tennessee (16-3, 6-0) responded and extended a seven-point lead over Georgia (16-6, 5-3) to 13 points and then finished with a 77-70 win over its SEC rival at Thompson-Boling Arena before a crowd of 10,118. Tennessee ran its SEC home court winning streak to 57 games and won its 40th consecutive regular season SEC contest, a run that dates back to 2002.

Loree Moore was struck in the face by the arm of Georgia player Sherill Baker during a scramble for a rebound with about four minutes left in the game. She staggered to the endline, and was being held up by teammate Alexis Hornbuckle when she collapsed to the floor. Moore briefly lost consciousness but was breathing and alert after a locker room examination. Moore, who may have sustained a broken nose and a concussion, will be evaluated further today.

"It's like taking out a family member, and when you do that we're coming after you," Hornbuckle said. "And that's exactly what we did."

Ironically the scramble in which Moore was injured didn't result in a foul call. It was one of the few times in the game when a whistle didn't blow. The officials called out someone's number 50 times – 27 for Georgia, 23 for Tennessee – and five players fouled out: UT's Tye'sha Fluker, Nicky Anosike and Sidney Spencer and Georgia's Baker and Cori Chambers.

"I thought it was a very hard fought, aggressive basketball game with a lot of fouls," Georgia coach Andy Landers said. "The bottom line on it Tennessee was more aggressive than we were, particularly in the areas of defending and defending the passing lanes and going to the offensive board. I think within those two areas the outcome of the game was determined."

Freshmen Hornbuckle and Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood, who played with Moore for a good portion of the game in a three-guard lineup, both hit key shots – Wiley-Gatewood a three, and Hornbuckle a layup off a steal – after Moore went down.

"She said: ‘Finish out the game,' " Summitt said. "They both stepped up and made big plays for us. I think her going out was a great motivation for them, because they knew that Loree was in a lot of pain, and they wanted to go take care of business. Obviously our team drew from that a lot of energy, a lot of motivation."

Georgia was led by freshman forward Tasha Humphrey, who scored 25 points on 10-16 shooting from the field and 4-6 from the line. She swished the only three-pointer she attempted and also pulled down six rebounds. Humphrey, who has been named SEC Player of the Week three times already this season, showed a lot of folks why.

"That's a lot to look forward to for the next three years, isn't it?" Summitt asked of having to guard Humphrey. "This year's not over. I'm sure we'll have an excellent chance of seeing them down the road. She's certainly a handful."

"It was a tough physical game," Humphrey said. "I knew that going in. Nothing was going to come easy, especially here being such a tough environment, two great teams going at each other. I kind of expected what was going to happen. Everything I expected they threw at me out there on the court."

Tennessee used a variety of defenders on Humphrey in Fluker, Anosike, Spencer and then Shyra Ely when none of them was available anymore.

"Inside it looked like Tasha Humphrey was going to have her way all night long, but I thought we had a lot of good defensive possessions," Summitt said. "At least she had to work for what she got. Obviously she did a great job of working for the basketball. They have a high-low scheme that if you don't deny the middle of the floor it's tough to guard her on the block.

"If I have to say one phase of our defense that I was most disappointed in was our high-low defense and allowing the ball to come to the middle of the floor, because if it arrives in the middle of the floor, you've got no help defense out of your man. I thought that was probably the weakest part of our defense because this particular team was real focused on high-low basketball than anybody we're played all year."

Ely led Tennessee with 17 points and 12 rebounds. And although Tennessee's depth was cited as a key factor by both coaches, Ely logged 37 minutes.

"I thought Shyra did a great job," Summitt said. "She can play a lot of minutes. She can run a marathon during the game. She never misses a beat. She's always in motion."

"I always get up for Georgia," Ely said. "I really like playing them. I think the rivalry is so strong. I like going against Andy and his team. It's always going to be a good game, and there's a lot of competition out there and intensity.

"I didn't guard Tasha Humphrey until the last five or six minutes of the game. That was just due to foul trouble and I'm just kind of like utility, put me where you need me. Like I said it was just a fun game. I was getting up and during the course of the game I don't really think about being tired. I always look at the clock, and I know exactly when we're going to have a media timeout. It was a good night. It was fun. I think we had fun tonight."

Tennessee didn't start out having fun and fell behind by as many as seven points in the first half.

"We stood in the first half for whatever reason," Summitt said. "I just thought that we didn't get in a very good rhythm. We had people come in and take quick shots. We had people, instead of running the offense, we had some players that in playing an aggressive type of basketball game, played selfish and got us out of what we were trying to do as a team.

"Once we got out of that, I thought second half we really played well together. We discussed that at halftime. They understand that. We got overanxious. Loree was a little overanxious and took some quick shots. Let's face it: They have great quickness on the perimeter. I thought they took quick shots at times, and we did. Second half we just settled down, ran our offense, shared the basketball, got it to the open players, and they knocked down shots."

Tennessee shot 31.3 percent in the first half and 61.5 percent in the second half. Three of the guards, Wiley-Gatewood, Hornbuckle and Brittany Jackson, only attempted one shot apiece in the first half, but finished with nine, seven and five points, respectively. Fluker and guard Shanna Zolman finished with 13 and 11 points, respectively.

Tennessee's ability to rotate players in and out was the difference in the game.

"Our depth has been a real key for us this year," Summitt said. "I think having that depth has really been a valuable part of our ability to extend our defense and keep the pressure on. It has been a factor. The team made note of that in the second half: ‘We've got to get the pressure on. We've got to keep fresh people in.' They understand that the depth of this basketball is not something they take for granted, and they think it's a special part of who we are. And I don't disagree."

Landers acknowledged as much.

"We're not the deepest team around, and we certainly weren't the deepest team out there tonight," he said. "We did get some early fouls. Rightfully so. Oftentimes that changes your substitution patterns. Tonight it changed our ability to substitute."

"I think it's great the number of players that we have because I know the first half we played everybody," Hornbuckle said. "We were just rotating in and out, one after another. I think it wore on them in the second half, and we kept coming on strong."

After the game, it was clear Humphrey would be a difficult player to guard over the course of her collegiate career. Summitt said as much.

When Landers was asked if any of Tennessee's freshmen might also induce headaches for him, he winked and said: "All of them."

INJURY UPDATE: Shanna Zolman was fouled with 1:07 left in the game and came up a little lame in her right knee. She limped to the free throw line and missed the front end of one and one.

"Said she went to make a turn and tweaked her leg a little bit," Summitt said. "I'm not sure of the extent of that. Just icing her, and we'll look at it."

Tennessee will take the day off Tuesday and then leave for Florida on Wednesday and practice in Gainesville.

Loree Moore's status for the Florida game is not known yet. Moore has had a difficult year health-wise. Last January a year ago she tore the ACL in her knee and missed the rest of the 2003-04 season. She missed a month last December because she had to have her tonsils removed. Her first game back after that was against UConn, and she excelled.

She had struggled of late, but was having one of her best games of the season against Georgia. Her stat line was: eight points, four rebounds, one three-pointer, two assists, three steals and zero turnovers.

"I thought she had great energy, lot of intensity, solid leadership and certainly more like Loree Moore from the past than the Loree Moore that we've seen this year, with the exception of probably the Connecticut game," Summitt said. "That was big for us."

Hornbuckle has been starting in Moore's place but was quick to credit her team for its response after Moore went down Monday.

"I didn't think it was a responsibility on just my shoulders," Hornbuckle said. "I felt that the whole team we just had to pull together and step up as a whole."

Against Florida on Thursday, Tennessee will likely be without center Tye'sha Fluker, who was to leave Tuesday morning for her home in Pasadena, Calif., to see her ailing grandmother, who has been hospitalized with kidney failure. Fluker isn't expected to return to Tennessee until Friday.


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