Meighan Simmons scores 32 to lead Lady Vols past Virginia

Tennessee's Meighan Simmons has a bit of fun while taking a shot at the basket after a foul was called. Tennessee defeated Oakland, 84-50 at Thompson-Boling Arena on Sunday, November 24, 2013.

(SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Saul Young, 2013 Knoxville News Sentinel

Tennessee's Meighan Simmons has a bit of fun while taking a shot at the basket after a foul was called. Tennessee defeated Oakland, 84-50 at Thompson-Boling Arena on Sunday, November 24, 2013. (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

FREEPORT, Bahamas – Tennessee’s Meighan Simmons left the mainland and found her jump shot.

The Lady Vols senior guard tied a career high by hitting eight 3 pointers and scored 32 points, leading Tennessee to a 76-67 women’s basketball victory over Virginia Thursday afternoon in the opening game of the Junkanoo Jam.

Simmons, who hadn’t scored more than 14 points in a game this season, finished two points shy of her career high.

After trailing by four at halftime, No. 3 Tennessee (6-0) scored the first six points of the second half and led by as many as 12 points in the final 20 minutes.

Ataira Franklin led Virginia (3-3) with 25 points. The Cavaliers cut UT’s second-half lead to 72-67 with 1:23 left but couldn’t get closer.

After talking all week about getting off to a better start, Tennessee again stumbled out of the starting blocks, falling behind 19-10 within the first eight minutes.

Although the Lady Vols rallied quickly to within two points, Virginia was playing hard to get.

Franklin, who came into the game averaging 11.8 points per game had 19 by halftime as Virginia pushed its advantage back to as many as 10 points. The Cavaliers mixed up their zone alignments, coaxing the Lady Vols into committing 10 turnovers by the break.

UT’s problems were further compounded by early foul trouble. Seven different players had two fouls by the break. Bashaara Graves played just three minutes.

Simmons, who came into the game shooting a chilly 19.2 percent from long range, swished three consecutive 3-pointers, helping Tennessee close within a point.

A bizarre two-foul sequence to end the half, which included a technical foul on UT coach Holly Warlick, enabled Virginia to hit three free throws and go the locker room with a 39-35 lead.

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Comments » 4

MaxVolFan writes:

The slow starts has got to stop. Great teams finds teams weaknesses quick and early. (film study) It shouldnt have took a whole half to start face guarding a hot player who lite u up for 19 in the first half.

ModelMaker writes:

Too many turnovers and too many fouls. It's hard to win when you have three of your best players (Graves, Harrison, and Russell) sitting on the bench for half the game and a fourth (Carter) only playing 16 minutes. Seems that this has been the pattern for the first six games. Too many of the best players sitting on the bench for long periods. Virginia is not a good basketball team; at best very average. I was glad to see Simmons finally start hitting but I still think she would help the team more comming off the bench.

magicbyswh#221420 writes:

Tennessee womens basketball is still better than most teams but they are not dominate like they were at one time. UConn is now the dominate womens team. They blow everybody out and I hate that Geno will overtake Pat on winning the most National championships. I guess we got so very spoiled. This team is good but not great but still better than most teams they will play. This team will lose some they should not lose.

oldster writes:

Why is it that women turn the ball over so much? It is not just the LVs, but just about every woman's team seems to turn it over than men's teams do. I know that the LVs have a lot because of the tempo with which they like to play, but man, they lose a lot of scoring opportunities and give the opposition lots by turnovers. It also holds down the most important stat of them all, points per possession (well, okay, most important stat next to the final score).

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