Tennessee still was totaling the medical bill Friday for an SEC championship-clinching women’s basketball victory.
Coach Holly Warlick didn’t offer any specifics on the right knee injuries suffered by point guard Ariel Massengale and center Isabelle Harrison in the second half of an 82-72 victory over Texas A&M Thursday night at Thompson-Boling Arena. With the victory, No. 8 Tennessee (23-5, 14-1 SEC) clinched the conference’s regular-season title, the 17th in program history.
Records, rankings and perhaps NCAA tournament seedings are what’s left in play for the showdown at No. 10 Kentucky (24-4, 12-3) on Sunday (TV: ESPNU, 3:30 p.m.) to end the regular season.
When meeting with the media before Friday’s practice, Warlick said that Massengale and Harrison would have MRI exams later in the day. Both players passed through the Pratt Pavilion lobby with the aid of crutches. Massengale’s knee was packed in ice while Harrison wasn’t wearing any ice bags.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Warlick said. “So many injuries. I don’t know. I don’t have an answer for it. It’s kind of crazy.”
Massengale and Harrison have made previous appearances on UT’s injury report. Massengale began the season recovering from tendinitis in her left Achilles’ tendon. Freshman Andraya Carter started the first five games before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery in December. Massengale, a 5-foot-6 sophomore, recorded six assists against the Aggies before going down with 7:44 left.
Harrison, meanwhile, returned last Sunday against Arkansas after missing the previous six games with a left knee injury. She underwent surgery on Feb. 1 to address her lateral meniscus. Before Sunday, the 6-3 sophomore hadn’t played since going down in the first half against Notre Dame on Jan. 28.
Against Texas A&M, Harrison scored 10 points — all in the second half. She also recorded four rebounds and two blocks before departing with 1:52 left.
Warlick wouldn’t rule out either player yet for Sunday. But she indicated that senior Kamiko Williams was the backup plan at point guard.
On Second Thought: When Warlick first was approached about doing a net-cutting celebration if UT won Thursday, her first reaction was “not really.”
Then, she thought otherwise.
“To do it at home, in front of our crowd, and for our players and for our seniors,” she said, “I thought we needed to do it.”