Jan. 17, 2013
AUBURN, Ala. -- Down by as many as 12 in the second half, the #9 Lady Vols rallied behind Meighan Simmons to end Auburn's homecourt win streak at 11 with a 75-66 victory on Thursday night. Simmons scored 18 in the second half as Tennessee (14-3, 5-0 SEC) used an 11-2 run midway through the half to take control and secure its seventh win in a row and remain perfect in the conference.
Auburn (13-5, 2-3 SEC) was 9-0 at home this season and had not lost at Auburn Arena since Feb. 12, 2012, a 51-48 defeat to Arkansas.
Simmons led all scorers with 29 points, her fifth game this season with 20-plus points. She was a sparkling 10-of-14 from the floor including 4-of-6 from 3-point range and a perfect 5-of-5 at the foul line.
Taber Spani scored 12 and Ariel Massengale had 11. Both Bashaara Graves and Isabelle Harrison corralled 11 rebounds as the Lady Vols pounded the glass in the second half for a 18-11 edge over the final 20 minutes.
All five Auburn starters scored in double figures, led by Blanche Alverson and Hasina Muhammad, who each scored 15. Najat Ouardad added 11.
The Lady Vols outscored the Tigers, 22-13 to end the game.
With the game tied at 53-53, Massengale knocked down a 3-pointer with six minutes left to put the Lady Vols ahead by three points or more for the first time all night. That capped a 7-0 run and put UT ahead 56-53. Tennessee never trailed for the remainder of the game after Massengale's trey.
Auburn was whistled for a technical foul for having six players on the court with 5:02 left in the game. Simmons made the ensuing free throws for a 60-55 lead. That pushed the decisive run to 11-2.
Simmons' fourth 3-pointer of the game with three minutes left sealed the win, giving the Lady Vols their first double-figure lead of the game at 70-60.
Prior to UT's takeover, the second half was one of runs for both teams.
After Tennessee regained a lead for only the second time all night, Auburn answered by reeling off six points in a row to take a 53-49 lead with 7:23 left as Alverson nailed a 3-pointer.
The Lady Vols used a 16-2 run to take their first lead since 2-0 on a layup by Kamiko Williams with 10:05 left in the second half, 49-47.
Auburn led by 12 at 45-33 on a layup by Alverson with 14:29 left. Spani responded with consecutive layups to reduce the deficit to eight. That started an 11-0 run for Tennessee as Simmons scored the last six of the spurt to make it 45-44, Auburn.
Tennessee trailed by 10 early in the second half at 39-29 after Peyton Davis scored on a layup with 17:27 left and 43-33 on a hoop by Tyrese Tanner with 16 minutes left, forcing Tennessee to call timeout.
Auburn held a 32-27 lead at intermission as the Tigers controlled the glass (22-19), held a 16-2 lead on points in the paint and out-scored the Lady Vols on second-chance points, 10-0.
Simmons had 11 first-half points, making half of the 10 field goals the Lady Vols made. UT's front court was limited to one point -- from Graves in the first half.
The Tigers led by as many as 11 at 18-7 on a pair of free throws by Davis with 11:40 left in the first half.
Auburn scored 11 consecutive points to take an 11-2 lead, just over four minutes into the game before Massengale knocked down a 3-pointer.
Tennessee leads the all-time series, 37-10, including 13-4 at Auburn. The Lady Vols have won five in a row in the series.
Tennessee returns to action on Sunday for the Lady Vols' 'We Back Pat' Game against Alabama at 1 p.m. The game airs on CSS and can be heard on the Lady Vol Network.