OXFORD, Miss. — Meighan Simmons was as cold as the winter night.
And then suddenly she wasn’t.
Tennessee’s senior guard made three consecutive 3-pointers against Ole Miss midway through the second half. Her scoring flurry put UT on course to a 77-65 SEC women’s basketball victory at Tad Smith Coliseum.
Despite shooting 6 for 17 from the floor, Simmons finished with a team-high 20 points for No. 8 Tennessee (19-4, 8-2 SEC). Center Isabelle Harrison had 18 and 11 rebounds.
Tia Faleru scored a game-high 23 for Ole Miss (10-14, 1-9).
Tennessee had two opportunities to take control before halftime and didn’t exploit either one.
The first came after the Lady Vols overcame a tentative start to grab a 17-9 lead. A nine-point scoring run featured three consecutive baskets scored at the rim.
The follow-up to this stretch, though, was four misspent possessions. The Lady Vols committed two turnovers on offense. Then failed to track two shooters out of their zone alignment. Just like that, the Rebels rallied to within 17-16.
A second chance came late in the half. A technical foul against Ole Miss coach Matt Insell led to two Simmons free throws. Cierra Burdick scored a rebound basket and a conventional three-point play on the subsequent possession. In a matter of moments, a nine-point lead ballooned to 35-21.
But Ole Miss countered with two rebounds of its own. A conventional three-point play by Valencia McFarland whittled Tennessee’s lead to 37-28 at the break.
The situation didn’t improve to start the second half. Tennessee called a timeout within the first minute after committing a turnover.
Ole Miss crept within 39-34 after a Faleru basket.
Tennessee also was dealing with mounting foul trouble. The Rebels were in the bonus within the first eight minutes.