KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (UT Sports) — The No. 17/19 Lady Vols suffered their first loss of the season on Sunday, falling to Texas in Thompson-Boling Arena, 66-60.
Tennessee (7-1) was led by junior Rennia Davis who finished the day with 15 points and seven rebounds. Sophomore Jazmine Massengill was also in double figures for the Lady Vols with 10. Junior Kasiyahna Kushkituah led the team in rebounding with nine. Overall, Tennessee won the rebounding battle at 54-42.
Seniors Sug Sutton and Lashann Higgs were the leading scorers for Texas (5-4), posting 19 each.
After back-to-back three pointers from Massengill and redshirt senior Lou Brown, the Vols jumped out to an early 6-4 lead over the Longhorns. Davis fought for an offensive rebound and was fouled going up, extending the Big Orange's lead to 8-4 after both made free throws.
After being down 20-13 in the first, the Lady Vols went on a 6-0 run and came within one at 20-19 after four points from Kushkituah and a jumper from senior Kamera Harris.
At the end of the first 10 minutes, Tennessee was down 22-19 but was leading on the boards with a 15-9 advantage and had eight points contributed by its bench.
Sophomore Rae Burrell scored the first points for the Lady Vols in the second quarter, followed by a lay-up from freshman Tamari Key, pulling Tennessee within one point again at 24-23 with 8:39 left in the half.
Davis made a last-second three-point bucket to close out the first half, making it 42-36 Texas. The senior finished with a team-high eight points and two assists in her first 14 minutes of the game.
The Big Orange came out firing in the third quarter and scored a quick bucket from Massengill, followed by a lay-up from Davis to make it a two-point game at 42-40. The Longhorns, though, went on a 6-0 scoring burst and extended their lead to 48-40.
The Lady Vols kept fighting throughout the third quarter, however, going on their own 5-0 scoring run and pulling to within 48-45. The Big Orange didn't allow another bucket from Texas in the last 2:24 of the quarter, as the Lady Vols went on another run to cut the deficit to 50-49 at the end of the third.
Tennessee held Texas to a 21.1 shooting percentage in the third, which marked the Longhorns' lowest of the game. The Lady Vols also out-rebounded the Longhorns, 16-14, and forced three turnovers.
Davis gave Tennessee its first lead of the game since the first quarter with a bucket 18 seconds into the final stanza. Key followed it up with another bucket, giving the Lady Vols a 53-50 lead less than a minute into the fourth period. The Big Orange didn't score again until the 4:48 mark, while the Longhorns scored eight points in the meantime to regain the lead, 58-55.
Massengill made the next bucket for Tennessee with 2:23 left in the game, cutting the deficit to 60-57. The Lady Vols scored three more free throws in the final quarter but could get no closer the rest of the way.
Up Next: UT closes out its six-game home stand, hosting Colorado State on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The game will be streamed on SECN+ and broadcast on Lady Vol Network radio stations.
Big-Time Post Play: The Texas duo of Charli Collier and Joyner Holmes had been combining for an average of 33.6 points per game. The Lady Vols held the pair to just eight total points and 15 rebounds. Meanwhile, Tamari Key and Kasiyahna Kushkituah combined for 16 points and 16 rebounds for Tennessee.
Winning The Board Battle: The Lady Vols out-rebounded the Longhorns, 54-42, marking the seventh time this season they've bested an opponent on the boards. Tennessee is averaging 51.4 rpg. while holding opposing teams to 36.3 rpg.