No. 12 Tennessee 83, Vanderbilt 64

Meighan Simmons scored 17 points and was one of five Tennessee

players to reach double figures Sunday as the 12th-ranked Lady

Volunteers defeated Vanderbilt 83-64 to clinch their 37th

consecutive 20-win season.

Tennessee (20-5, 11-1 Southeastern Conference) hasn’t failed to

win at least 20 games since going 16-11 in 1975-76. This latest

victory gave Tennessee a half-game lead in the SEC standings over

No. 11 Texas A&M (20-5, 10-1), which hosts No. 9 Kentucky

(22-3, 10-2) on Monday.

Vanderbilt has never beaten Tennessee at Knoxville in 28

attempts. Tennessee leads the all-time series with Vanderbilt

62-8.

Ariel Massengale scored 14 points, Bashaara Graves had 13 points

and Jasmine Jones and Taber Spani each added 12 points for

Tennessee.

Jasmine Lister matched a career high with 24 points for

Vanderbilt (16-9, 6-6), while Morgan Batey and Heather Bowe each

added 10 points.

Tennessee pulled away by going on a 16-4 spurt midway through

the game. The Lady Vols were clinging to a 33-29 lead before

scoring the last six points of the first half. They opened the

second half with a 10-4 run and led by double digits the rest of

the way.

Vanderbilt is playing without three players projected as

starters in the preseason.

The Commodores played a second straight game without 2011-12 SEC

scoring leader Christina Foggie, who injured her right knee last

weekend against Kentucky. Vanderbilt guard Kady Schrann missed her

third consecutive game with an ankle injury. Vanderbilt has played

the entire season without center Stephanie Holzer, who dislocated a

knee in a preseason exhibition.

Vanderbilt got more bad news Sunday when starting forward

Tiffany Clarke got sick at halftime and didn’t play in the second

half after scoring seven points and pulling down five rebounds in

the first 20 minutes.

That lack of depth eventually wore Vanderbilt down, though the

Commodores made Tennessee work for the victory.

For most of the first half, Tennessee would build a lead, only

to watch Vanderbilt close the gap.

Tennessee made six of its first eight shots to grab an early

14-5 advantage, but Vanderbilt tied the game by going on an 11-2

run. After Tennessee went on a 9-2 spurt to take a 25-18 lead,

Vanderbilt cut the margin to two. Tennessee got the lead up to nine

again at 33-24, but Vanderbilt got back within four before the Lady

Vols took control for good.

Tennessee led by as many as 20 points in the second half.

Vanderbilt scored 10 straight points to cut the lead to 10 with

8:40 remaining, but the Commodores couldn’t get the margin into

single digits.

Both teams wore different shades of pink uniforms in honor of

Tennessee’s annual ”Live Pink, Bleed Orange” game to raise breast

cancer awareness and support the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.

Before the game, the Champions For A Cause foundation founded by

Tennessee coach Holly Warlick and LSU coach Nikki Caldwell

presented separate $15,000 checks to three organizations: The Kay

Yow Cancer Fund, the UT Breast Health Outreach Program and the

Brady James Foundation.

Warlick’s older sister, Marion Ferrill, underwent a double

mastectomy last fall, but her cancer now is in remission. Ferrill

has been at all the Lady Vols’ home games this season and was in

the stands Sunday as well.

Breast cancer survivor and ”Good Morning America” host Robin

Roberts attended the game and sat next to former Lady Vols coach

Pat Summitt. Roberts left ”Good Morning America” last year to

undergo a bone marrow transplant to treat a rare blood disorder,

but she is scheduled to return to the show Wednesday.