March 24, 2012
DES MOINES, Iowa - The Lady Vols advanced to their 25th Elite Eight as they rallied from being down by as many as 14 points to post a 84-73 win over Kansas at Wells Fargo Arena in the NCAA Tournament Des Moines Regional Semifinal.
No. 2 seed Tennessee (27-8) will take on top-seeded Baylor in the Regional Championship, which takes place on Monday at 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT and will air on ESPN and can be heard on the Lady Vol Network.
Sophomore Meighan Simmons tallied 22 points to lead the Lady Vols in scoring -- her second 20-plus points game in the NCAA Tournament. Tennessee outscored the Jayhawks, 41-11 in bench scoring.
Kansas, a No. 11 seed, saw its season end with a 21-13 record. Angel Goodrich had with 23 points and Aishah Sutherland tallied 19 points. Chelsea Gardner added 14 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double.
Down by 14 in the first half, the Lady Vols reversed the deficit and led by 14 points after a Simmons fastbreak hoop with 5:57 left in the second half, at 69-55. With that basket, Tennessee had outscored Kansas 57-29 over a span of 14:24.
The largest lead for the Lady Vols was 16 with 4:32 left in the game on another Simmons jumper, which made it 73-57.
Kansas cut the deficit to single-digits with 41 seconds left on a Goodrich 3-pointer, but the Lady Vols held off the Jayhawks.
The Lady Vols continued to assert their pressure and took a 10-point lead at 63-53 as Simmons finished a fastbreak off a pass from Kamiko Williams with seven minutes left in the game and forcing Kansas to call timeout.
Tennessee used a 23-9 run early in the second half to take control of the game and build a 53-46 lead on four consecutive points by Simmons with 11:07 left in the second half.
After trailing for virtually the entire first half, the Lady Vols took their first lead of the game on a Johnson jumpshot, just five minutes into the second half. That gave UT a 44-42 advantage -- just their second lead of the game (other was 2-0).
The Lady Vols trailed by five at halftime, 35-30 as they shot just 36 percent in the first half. Kansas shot 48 percent from the floor as Goodrich had a game-high 12 points at intermission.
Kansas built a first-half lead as large as 14 on a Sutherland layup with 8:59 left in the first half to make it 26-12.
Tennessee cut the deficit to two at 31-29 with seven points in a row finished by a Johnson jumpshot with 4:22 left in the first half.
The Lady Vols are now 112-22 all-time in NCAA Tournament games, the best record and most wins in college basketball. Tennessee is 25-5 all-time in Sweet 16 games.