A week off didn't faze Tennessee's scoring touch.
Conversely, the Lady Vols' defense often looked more rusty than rested against injury-depleted Vanderbilt on Sunday.
The tradeoff turned out favorable in the end. Tennessee's finishing kick transformed a nervous 10-point lead with five minutes left into an 83-64 SEC women's basketball victory.
Before a season-high crowd of 14,716 at Thompson-Boling Arena, No. 12 Tennessee (20-5, 11-1 SEC) returned from a seven-day break between games with a balancing act on offense. Meighan Simmons led five double-figure scorers with 17 points. The Lady Vols shot 55 percent (33-for-60) from the floor.
Ariel Massengale scored 14 points and Bashaara Graves had 13. Taber Spani and Jasmine Jones each scored 12.
"Everybody's capable of scoring in double digits," Simmons said. "When everybody gets their chance to go out to score, that's when the team shines."
Simmons passed former Lady Vol Alexis Hornbuckle to move into 25th place on the UT career scoring list with 1,333 points.
Jasmine Lister tied her career high with 24 points for Vanderbilt (16-9, 6-6), which shadowed UT across the second half, thanks to 50 percent field goal shooting during the final 20 minutes.
The Commodores started the game without injured starters Stephanie Holzer, Christina Foggie and Kady Schrann. The team returned 97.6 percent of its scoring from last season but the injured trio accounted for nearly half of that amount.
To make matters worse, Vanderbilt lost starting forward Tiffany Clarke, the team's leading scorer, at halftime Sunday because of illness.
"I don't know what else could go wrong," Vanderbilt coach Melanie Balcomb said.
The "Live Pink Bleed Orange" backdrop added an emotional component to the pregame events.
The "Champions For A Cause" Foundation created by UT coach Holly Warlick and former Lady Vols player/assistant Nikki Caldwell gave $15,000 to three separate organizations.
Warlick presented a special pink game ball to her sister, Marion Ferrill. She underwent a double mastectomy last November.
"To see her there as a survivor, it's absolutely emotional," Warlick said. "I gave her a ball and said, 'you're my greatest hero.' "
Women's Basketball Hall of Famer Robin Roberts, who's battled cancer, also was in attendance. She was sitting with UT head coach emeritus Pat Summitt.
Tennessee jumped out to a 14-5 lead but couldn't sustain its momentum. Thus began the game's storyline.
"At one point, we were (trading) baskets," Graves said. "That's what was killing us. We just weren't getting the stops that we needed."
The difference in the first half was UT's Jones, who shot 5-for-6 from the floor and scored 10 points. She had scored eight in the three previous games combined.
"I was just more composed than usual," she said.
Vanderbilt's freshmen threatened to become difference makers in the second half. Four of them were on the floor at one time. Two of them — Heather Bowe and Morgan Batey — finished with 10 points apiece.
"I think the effort is there," Balcomb said. "If you see them get tired, it's because they haven't played so many minutes, but they're really starting to figure it out."
Lister called her freshman teammates, "fearless."
Warlick called her team undisciplined.
"I thought we would have been more consistent and more disciplined, because we did work on that (this week) quite a bit," Warlick said. "We were giving up penetrations to the basket and we ran into some screens."
The Lady Vols go back to work in preparation for Thursday's home game against Auburn.