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No. 4 Lady Vols outlast Georgia Tech 87-76

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STEVE MEGARGEE | November 17, 2013 09:37 PM EST | AP

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Bashaara Graves matched a career high with 23 points and set a new career high with 18 rebounds Sunday as No. 4 Tennessee remained undefeated with an 87-76 victory over Georgia Tech.

Isabelle Harrison added 10 points and a career-high 18 rebounds for the Lady Vols (4-0). Mercedes Russell had 14 points and Meighan Simmons added 13.

Kaela Davis scored 28 points to lead Georgia Tech (2-1), though she had only three points in the last 10:53 of the game. Aaliyah Whiteside added 16 points. Sydney Wallace and Tyaunna Marshall added 13 points each.

Davis, the daughter of former NBA forward Antonio Davis, was one of the nation's most heralded prospects in her high school class. The 6-foot-2 freshman guard was verbally committed to Tennessee for nearly two years before eventually signing with Georgia Tech.

Davis' twin brother, A.J. Davis, plays forward for the Tennessee men's basketball team. He was in the stands Sunday wearing Tennessee gear and cheering for his sister.

Tennessee (4-0) led by 18 points in the first half before Georgia Tech (2-1) used exceptional 3-point shooting to get within four. Georgia Tech trailed 70-65 with 6:48 remaining before Tennessee put the game away with a 12-0 run.

The Lady Vols' fast start ended their early-season trend of relying on second-half surges. Tennessee had been outscoring teams 134-84 in the second half through its first three games of the season. In the first half of those games, opponents were playing Tennessee to a 94-94 deadlock.

Tennessee got that big early lead by relying on its size advantage. Graves, the 2012-13 SEC newcomer of the year, had by far her best performance of the season after averaging 7.7 points and 6.3 rebounds in her first three games.

The performances of Graves and Harrison caused Georgia Tech to get in early foul trouble.

Georgia Tech forward Roddreka Rogers picked up four fouls in the first half and eventually fouled out. Starting center Shayla Bivins and backup forward Nariah Taylor had three fouls each in the first half.

After trailing 41-23, Georgia Tech ended the first half on a 12-3 run and continued its comeback early in the second half by relying on its perimeter attack. Georgia Tech was 8 of 21 from 3-point range, while Tennessee was just 2 of 13.

Tennessee didn't put the game out of reach until late in the second half. Ariel Massengale sank back-to-back jumpers to spark a 12-0 spurt as Georgia Tech finally started to cool off from long range.