Lady Vols hit school record 15 3-pointers, 103-43

The Meighan Simmons show drew more rave reviews Monday night, even though the stage was more crowded.

Tennessee’s freshman sharpshooter had a women’s basketball scoring ensemble to complement her game-high 26 points in the Lady Vols’ 103-43 rout of Chattanooga.

Four other Lady Vols scored in double figures before a crowd of 10,808 at Thompson-Boling Arena. Angie Bjorklund had 20, Taber Spani scored 14, Kamiko Williams had 12 and Glory Johnson 10. Four players also collaborated on a team single-game record 15 3-pointers. Bjorklund led with six 3-pointers.

Simmons still was front and center, however. If anything, she was more polished than her 22-point debut at Louisville last Friday. The 5-foot-9 guard shot 10 for 16 from the floor, including 5 for 8 from 3-point range. She had four assists, three steals and one turnover. And she crammed another grand performance into just 17 playing minutes.

“I didn’t know she’d have this kind of impact,’’ UT coach Pat Summitt said. “I knew she was a great athlete but I didn’t know about her skill set. She is very skilled and she is very confident for a freshman.”

Simmons’ confidence is growing, too.

“My teammates are always encouraging me,’’ telling me, ‘when you’re open, shoot the ball,’ ’’ Simmons said. “I think that kind of boosts my confidence up, especially in a game because then I know they are depending on me to hit open shots.’’

Simmons and Kelley Cain joined a reconfigured starting lineup for No. 4 Tennessee (2-0) and their presence played a part in a vastly improved offense.

After recording just 11 assists against Louisville, the Lady Vols had 12 on their first 12 baskets against the Lady Mocs (0-2) and finished with 25.

The 6-6 Cain was one of three Lady Vols with four assists as the basketball often went through her on its way to open perimeter shooters.

“I think after the Louisville game, we really watched a lot of film,’’ Bjorklund said. “I thought the guards did a great job of moving without the ball more and playing more inside-out instead of one-on-one. We played more as a team.”

While Simmons was surprised to find herself open, she didn’t waste her opportunities.

“When you’re open, you’re open,” she said. “You have to shoot the open shots. You have to focus on that shot.”

Tennessee’s accuracy topped 60 percent for much of the first half before finishing at 53.2 percent (41 for 77). The Lady Vols’ 3-point accuracy took a beating after halftime but still was 42.9 percent (15 for 35).

Despite the deadeye shooting, one miss drew some post-game attention. After a second-half steal, the 6-3 Johnson dribbled in from halfcourt and tried to throw down a dunk. She lost the ball on the way up and ended up grabbing the rim.

“I was not expecting that,’’ Simmons said. “I was like ‘wow.’ One day, she’s going to do it.”

The game’s one-sided nature enabled Tennessee to play 10 players. Everyone played at least 13 minutes and nobody played more than Bjorklund and Alicia Manning, who each logged 29.

Freshman guard Lauren Avant, who suffered a sprained ankle during Sunday’s practice, sat out the game and is listed as day to day. Junior forward Vicki Baugh, who is coming back from multiple knee surgeries, also didn’t play.

“Obviously, I think the weather isn’t favorable for her,’’ Summitt said of Baugh. “We’re not taking any risks whatsoever.”

Forward Whitney Hood scored a team-high 22 points for Chattanooga, which had just five first-half field goals and shot 29.4 percent from the floor for the game (15 for 51).

Lady Mocs coach Wes Moore saw former Lady Vol Faith Dupree afterward and said, “I need a hug and a post player.”

Dupree, who will be transferring to Chattanooga for second semester, said: “I can give you both.”

“It wasn’t a whole lot of fun,’’ Moore said. “I knew they were going to present a whole lot of problems for us.”

Dan Fleser covers UT Lady Vols basketball. He may be reached at 865-342-6288. Follow him at http://www.twitter.com/@fleserKNS and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/fleser/

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Comments » 18

UTByrd writes:

Let it roll, Lady Vols, let it roll.
Go VOLS!!!!!

PINK_CHAMPAGNE writes:

I know the opponent wasn't a top one, but great game tonight from the team. Better scoring, defense was excellent! Better passing, less dribbling! I mean that ball was moving, inside out! They collapsed on Kelly she kicked it back out, and bam, a three! That is why Kelly is so important to the team, or our post players period. I commend Pat for changing the lineup and going with Meighan Simmons, and she did not disappoint. She was fantastic! We have a diamond in that one people! This is the lineup I have wanted from the start, Simmons, Stricklen, Cain, Johnson, and Angie. It was very effective.

There really is nothing you can say bad about this game. And we all know that I nitpick! But I have to praise the players for correcting their mistakes in the Lousville game. This by far, was a better team effort. Looks like those film sessions with Pat, paid off. Angie is finally back! Spani shot better tonight,and hustled more. Bass was a terror on defense, and ignited the crowd when she made her three pointer. Manning picked up her intenstity tonight,and played a good game. Which brings me to this! I think that players like Manning and Spani, and Kamiko perform better coming off the bench. In the games that I have watched them in, they perform better when they come off the bench.

Pat said that she thinks Meighans performance in the Louisville game inspired the players. I agree. They all came to play tonight. I have to appreciate the dunk attempt by Glory tonight. Almost Glory! If they keep playing like this, and Pat runs this lineup, the lady vols will be a nightmare. Let this lineup gain chemistry together on the court. They played great together.

UTVOLSRROCKN writes:

Lady Vols played much better this game! Yes, I know UTC is no Louisville, but they stil improved. Nice to see Cain take it up and put it in without putting it on the floor first. Few TO's and raining threes.

Simmons is UNREAL! She keeps this up, will be Freshman of the Year, and who knows what else. Looking forward to a great season!
LADY VOLS.....TCB.......KOKO....GBO!

PINK_CHAMPAGNE writes:

Let me add, only 8 turnovers tonight! Down from the 29 in Louisville! A good game is what you get when you put the pieces of the puzzle together! Go Pat!

UTVOLSRROCKN writes:

in response to PINK_CHAMPAGNE:

I know the opponent wasn't a top one, but great game tonight from the team. Better scoring, defense was excellent! Better passing, less dribbling! I mean that ball was moving, inside out! They collapsed on Kelly she kicked it back out, and bam, a three! That is why Kelly is so important to the team, or our post players period. I commend Pat for changing the lineup and going with Meighan Simmons, and she did not disappoint. She was fantastic! We have a diamond in that one people! This is the lineup I have wanted from the start, Simmons, Stricklen, Cain, Johnson, and Angie. It was very effective.

There really is nothing you can say bad about this game. And we all know that I nitpick! But I have to praise the players for correcting their mistakes in the Lousville game. This by far, was a better team effort. Looks like those film sessions with Pat, paid off. Angie is finally back! Spani shot better tonight,and hustled more. Bass was a terror on defense, and ignited the crowd when she made her three pointer. Manning picked up her intenstity tonight,and played a good game. Which brings me to this! I think that players like Manning and Spani, and Kamiko perform better coming off the bench. In the games that I have watched them in, they perform better when they come off the bench.

Pat said that she thinks Meighans performance in the Louisville game inspired the players. I agree. They all came to play tonight. I have to appreciate the dunk attempt by Glory tonight. Almost Glory! If they keep playing like this, and Pat runs this lineup, the lady vols will be a nightmare. Let this lineup gain chemistry together on the court. They played great together.

Great post Pink, I was waiting for it!

maxvolfan#217855 writes:

Let me tell you . Pat had to put the Ferrari in the garage early or she would have had 40 points. Meighan Simmons is a pure shooter. I would have her shoot anytime she gets a look. She drives, jukes, slashes, dashes ...Wow what a exciting player to watch so far. I love the way Pat has total trust in this young girl. She is a leader in the huddle and i can tell the other players love her motivation. I mean this young freshman is building confidence in the whole team. We were shooting lights out tonight. If Glory can hit more of those 10 foot jumpers, Cain post up underneath that basket for those easy buckets and Angie stays hot outside man what a team we will have. Good effort from Kamiko coming off the bench continuing to play good ball love your rebounding effort and slashing to the basket. Stay hungry. I know it was UTC but we got to stay hungry every night out. Who wouldnt wanna come to this school and basketball program where as long as Pat is coaching your class will be in the Final Four at least once in your career and quite possibly a Championship. We keep reloading. Man I Love the Big Orange!!!

Oh yeah I still gotta talk about one of my favs. I think we still got our best inside shooter on the bench. Lyssi get well soon we are gonna need you down the stretch.

SoddyVol writes:

What happened to Vicki Baugh? I have been on a special project and didn't get to hear radio or see TV the last couple days.

maxvolfan#217855 writes:

in response to SoddyVol:

What happened to Vicki Baugh? I have been on a special project and didn't get to hear radio or see TV the last couple days.

Vicki will be alright. Had ice on the knees. Her services wasnt needed tonight but look for her to play against bigger teams (height). I hope we get at least 10 pts 8 reb avg from her this year. That would be good.

SoddyVol writes:

in response to maxvolfan#217855:

Vicki will be alright. Had ice on the knees. Her services wasnt needed tonight but look for her to play against bigger teams (height). I hope we get at least 10 pts 8 reb avg from her this year. That would be good.

Thanks!

orangecountyvols writes:

Great report guys. I appreciate all your comments and it's encouraging to hear about all the potential the team has.

ATLVOLSFAN404 writes:

I love this starting line up.. but i think Pat should move Stickland to the 2 or the 3 and let Simmons run the point... Doing this will take some pressure off of Strickland and Simmons can create her shot a lot better than Strickland..

wigmeister writes:

in response to PINK_CHAMPAGNE:

I know the opponent wasn't a top one, but great game tonight from the team. Better scoring, defense was excellent! Better passing, less dribbling! I mean that ball was moving, inside out! They collapsed on Kelly she kicked it back out, and bam, a three! That is why Kelly is so important to the team, or our post players period. I commend Pat for changing the lineup and going with Meighan Simmons, and she did not disappoint. She was fantastic! We have a diamond in that one people! This is the lineup I have wanted from the start, Simmons, Stricklen, Cain, Johnson, and Angie. It was very effective.

There really is nothing you can say bad about this game. And we all know that I nitpick! But I have to praise the players for correcting their mistakes in the Lousville game. This by far, was a better team effort. Looks like those film sessions with Pat, paid off. Angie is finally back! Spani shot better tonight,and hustled more. Bass was a terror on defense, and ignited the crowd when she made her three pointer. Manning picked up her intenstity tonight,and played a good game. Which brings me to this! I think that players like Manning and Spani, and Kamiko perform better coming off the bench. In the games that I have watched them in, they perform better when they come off the bench.

Pat said that she thinks Meighans performance in the Louisville game inspired the players. I agree. They all came to play tonight. I have to appreciate the dunk attempt by Glory tonight. Almost Glory! If they keep playing like this, and Pat runs this lineup, the lady vols will be a nightmare. Let this lineup gain chemistry together on the court. They played great together.

Great post. Simmons will turn out to be one of the TN greats by the end of her career. She is the whole package. Hope she stays healthy and doesn't lose any of her desire.

vollady writes:

Maybe it's time for Mia Moore to move out of the spotlight for our Lady Vol, Meighan Simmons.

HanQ7 writes:

Simmons is the truth!!!! If that girl keeps playing like that, she will be a lock for Natl Frosh of the Year and possible All American! Legooo Lady Vols

richvol writes:

Was the game televised? If so shame on you KNS for not posting the time and station earlier today.

ladivolfan writes:

in response to richvol:

Was the game televised? If so shame on you KNS for not posting the time and station earlier today.

never depend on KNS - get the schedule here and you won't miss another televised game.

http://www.utladyvols.com/sports/w-ba...

xvolx writes:

Chatt. squad wasn't good enough to gauge lady vols improvement. Simmons is a natural. I was impressed with her interview after the game. good to see Bjorkland not dribbling around for no reason. The thing that impressed me most was Johnson's four jump shots. Very good form and not forced. Manning is a workhorse. Cain needs to develope a shot other than a layup, but maybe she's giving all she can with the bad knee. Agree with not playing Baugh. Williams passing is suspect at times. Strickland is never going to be a good pointguard, but I can see Pat slowing moving her out of #1 into #2 and #3. Bass didn't do a bad job. She did get beat off the dribble 3 times and gave Brewer a pretty good chest bump. Spani needs to keep improving. The toe injury cost her some learning time. I liked the interview with DeMoss. She may be the coaching gear that Pat has been missing. Baylor will answer a lot of questions about the progress of this team.

kazoo writes:

I dearly hope Summitt doesn't mess up Simmons' offensive game with her incessant complaining about defense and rebounding. Pat has destroyed the confidence of more than a few scorers over the years.

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