Tennessee stretches SEC home streak to 57

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The Tennessee Lady Vols huddled during a timeout while senior Loree Moore briefly lost consciousness after she was whacked in the nose.

Tennessee (No. 6 ESPN/USA Today, No. 5 AP) was ahead by seven points with four minutes left, but Georgia (No. 20 ESPN/USA Today, No. 18 AP) was threatening an upset when Moore was finally taken off the court in a wheelchair.

The loss of Moore was all the Lady Vols needed to muster enough offense and defense down the stretch to pull out a 77-70 victory Monday night.

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

Team officials suspected Moore's nose was broken and that she would be evaluated further on Tuesday. She walked out of bounds on the baseline after she was hit and fell to the floor. Tennessee coach Pat Summitt went over to her while play was stopped, and Georgia coach Andy Landers spoke to Moore before she was wheeled off.

As soon as the whistle blew for play to resume, the Lady Vols (16-3, 6-0 Southeastern Conference) continued a rally started by Hornbuckle's score before Moore went down. Shanna Zolman and Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood hit 3-pointers around a basket by Georgia's Tasha Humphrey and put the Lady Vols ahead 71-60 with three minutes remaining.

"I think her going out was a great motivation for them because they knew that Loree was in a lot of pain. They wanted to go take care of business," Summitt said. "Our team drew from that a lot of energy, a lot of motivation."

The Lady Vols were led by Shyra Ely with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Tye'sha Fluker added 13 points and Zolman had 11.

Tennessee had difficulty containing freshman Humphrey, who finished with 25 points for the Lady Bulldogs (16-6, 5-3) despite being in foul trouble for most of the game.

The Lady Vols also overcame the loss of starting post players Nicky Anosike and Fluker, both of whom fouled out with nearly six minutes left. One of their replacements, Sidney Spencer, fouled out in the final seconds.

Tennessee extended its home winning streak over SEC opponents to 57 games. Georgia was the last league team to win in Knoxville -- on Dec. 8, 1996.

Tennessee's overall SEC regular-season winning streak went to 40 games, but both streaks looked in doubt for most of the game.

Cori Chambers and Janese Hardrick added 12 points apiece for the Lady Bulldogs. Hardrick was 10-of-10 from the foul line.

Georgia was ahead 42-41 with 14:37 left, but Tennessee responded with an 18-5 run over the next 6½ minutes. Moore had two baskets and Wiley-Gatewood scored twice off spinning moves. Ely's putback capped it and put Tennessee ahead 59-47.

During the spurt, the Lady Vols resorted to a smaller lineup with Ely and Spencer in charge of the post. Despite rotating players, Tennessee shot 61 percent (16-of-26) in the second half after shooting 31 percent (10-of-32) before halftime.

Georgia followed with a 6-0 run that cut it to 58-63 before Moore was hurt.

"It was a very hard-fought, aggressive basketball game with a lot of fouls," Landers said. "The bottom line was that Tennessee was more aggressive defending the passing lanes and hitting the offensive boards. That is what determined the outcome."

Georgia led nearly the entire first half despite having 15 turnovers, 10 of which were steals by Tennessee. The Lady Vols had only three steals in the second half.

Both teams were whistled for a total of 50 fouls.