WCBK

No. 19 Tennessee 71, No. 21 Florida 67

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NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP)

Angie Bjorklund scored 25 points, and No. 19 Tennessee beat No. 21 Florida 71-67 Friday night to advance to the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament. Bjorklund went scoreless the previous night in Tennessee's first-round win over Alabama, but she made an impact immediately against Florida, scoring 13 points in the first half to help the Lady Vols (22-9) take a 38-21 lead into intermission. Florida (23-7) pulled within three late, but Tennessee's Kelley Cain caught an airball by teammate Shekinna Stricklen and was fouled hard by Marshae Dotson with 3:26 remaining. After a near-altercation under the basket, Cain made both free throws to start a 7-0 run that put the game away. Tennessee improved to 38-3 in its series against Florida and avenged a 66-57 loss to the Gators last month. The Lady Vols will play No. 6 Auburn - the tournament's top seed - in the semifinals Saturday night. Stricklen scored 18 points. Sha Brooks led Florida with 22, and Dotson added 20. Despite their higher AP ranking, the Lady Vols are seeded fifth in this tournament and Florida was fourth. The Gators have lost five of six. Bjorklund sank an early 3-pointer to break a 9-9 tie and put the Lady Vols ahead to stay. Later, with Tennessee ahead 30-21, she scored eight straight points to make it a 17-point game at halftime. Bjorklund's 3-pointer in the second half made it 54-43, and after Florida scored five points on one possession to cut the lead to six, Bjorklund made a wild shot off the backboard followed by an open 3 for a 59-48 advantage. Florida answered with a 9-1 run, capped by Dotson's basket after an offensive rebound. But the Gators turned the ball over twice in a row after Cain's free throws, and Brooks fouled out while chasing down Glory Johnson after Tennessee broke the Florida press. Bjorklund went 9-of-15 from the field and 6-of-10 from 3-point range.

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