March 2, 2014
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Meighan Simmons' final regular-season home game in Knoxville was a success as the #9 Lady Vols topped #4 South Carolina, 73-61.
Tennessee clinched the No. 2 seed in the SEC Tournament with the victory over the regular-season champion Gamecocks, who will have the No. 1 seed in Duluth later this week.
The Lady Vols finish the regular-season 24-5 overall and 13-3 in the league while the Gamecocks head to the postseason after suffering their third loss (26-3) and their second conference defeat (14-2).
Tennessee will play on Friday at 6 p.m., against the winner of the Seed 7 vs. Seed 10 game, which will be played on Thursday.
The Lady Vols' lone senior, Simmons, tallied 16 points as Tennessee posted the wire-to-wire victory -- their 11th of the season.
Isabelle Harrison notched her 15th double-double of the season with a game-high 20 points and game-best 15 rebounds.
Redshirt freshman Andraya Carter also scored in double-figures with 14 points.
South Carolina was led by Aleighsa Welch, who had 16 points and nine rebounds. Tiffany Mitchell added 11 points and Alaina Coates chipped in with 10.
The Lady Vols committed just seven turnovers and out-rebounding South Carolina, 48-39, led by Harrison's monster game.
Harrison scored the game's first six points and Tennessee maintained the lead the rest of the way. The Lady Vols led by as many as 11 in the first half on a Harrison layup with two minutes left. Tennessee held a 38-30 advantage at halftime.
In the second half, Tennessee continued to hold South Carolina at bay. The closest the Gamecocks got was within six points on a Coates jumper with 8:42 left in the game, making it 53-47.
After SC, cut it to a two possession game, the Lady Vols scored the next six points and held a double-figure lead for the final eight minutes of the game.
Simmons knocked down a pair of jumpers to put Tennessee up 59-47 with 6:28 left and the game was never in doubt from there.
Tennessee overcame a 2-of-10 day from 3-point range and a rough start at the foul line. The Lady Vols missed all four of their first-half free throws and started 5-of-12 before making their final eight from the charity stripe to seal the game.
Again, Tennessee will play Friday at 6 p.m., against the winner of the 7-10 game.