ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Cierra Burdick scored 18 points and No. 6 Tennessee bounced back from its only SEC loss of the season to beat Georgia 70-59 on Thursday night, giving the Lady Bulldogs their longest losing streak in 38 years.
Tennessee (24-4, 14-1 Southeastern Conference) recovered from Monday night’s 71-66 loss at No. 2 South Carolina.
Georgia (17-11, 5-10) has dropped eight straight, the longest losing streak in coach Andy Landers’ 36 seasons and the second longest in program history. Georgia’s longest skid was 15 games over two seasons in 1976 and ’77.
The Lady Vols led by 12 points in the first half, but Georgia chipped away in the second half and pulled within 58-54. Ariel Massengale, who had 17 points, answered with a jumper for Tennessee. Jordan Reynolds sank a 3-pointer and the lead was back to eight.
Tennessee’s only SEC loss may be too much to overcome in the conference race. South Carolina clinched a tie for its second straight SEC championship by beating No. 11 Mississippi State 69-50 on Thursday night.
The Lady Bulldogs’ slide began with a 59-51 loss at Tennessee on Jan. 25. One of the team’s top players, Shacobia Barbee, suffered a season-ending leg injury in the loss.
Tennessee also has had to adjust to the loss of a top player to a recent injury. Center Isabelle Harrison, the team’s top scorer, suffered a season-ending knee injury on Feb. 15.
Georgia led 16-11, prompting a Tennessee timeout. The Lady Vols responded with a 19-3 run that included back-to-back 3-pointers by Burdick and a steal and basket by Andraya Carter.
With Tennessee leading 30-19, the Lady Bulldogs finally answered with two straight 3s from Tiaria Griffin. Georgia couldn’t sustain the brief surge and the Lady Vols led 39-27 at halftime.
Tennessee: Burdick had a game-high 10 rebounds. … The Lady Vols have seven straight wins in the series with Georgia. … Tennessee protected its lead by making seven free throws down the stretch, including four by Massengale.
Georgia: Mackenzie Engram had a team-high 16 points. Griffin had 11. … The longest losing streak in the program’s history included the last game of the 1975-76 season and the first 14 of the 1976-77 season. … Forward Merritt Hempe missed her fourth straight game with mononucleosis.
Tennessee: Hosts Vanderbilt on Sunday.
Georgia: At Florida on Sunday.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.