Lack of depth hasn't harmed No. 9 Tennessee so far

4:01 PM, Jan 16, 2013   |    comments
Bashaara Graves. Courtesy: UT Sports
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By STEVE MEGARGEE
AP Sports Writer

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee is producing quality performances without the benefit of quantity.

Injuries to sophomore forward Cierra Burdick and freshman guard Andraya Carter have left the ninth-ranked Lady Vols with only nine healthy players, yet they enter Thursday's game at Auburn unbeaten in SEC competition.

Tennessee (13-3, 4-0 SEC) survived 78-75 at Florida in overtime Sunday without getting any baskets from its bench. Florida's bench outscored Tennessee's reserves 33-3.

Four Lady Vols are averaging over 32 minutes per game in SEC competition: Meighan Simmons (35.5), Bashaara Graves (33.8), Taber Spani (33.8) and Ariel Massengale (32.8). Last season, no Tennessee player averaged as many as 32 minutes in SEC games.

Tennessee has used a seven-player rotation since Burdick broke her right hand Dec. 31. The Lady Vols expect her back early next month.

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