KNOXVILLE – The No. 9 Tennessee Lady Vols routed Missouri, 84-39, in the first meeting between the teams as SEC foes at Thompson-Boling Arena on Thursday night. The win was UT’s fifth wire-to-wire win this season as the Lady Vols moved to 12-3 overall and 3-0 in the SEC. Missouri dropped to 12-5, 1-2 in the SEC.
The win by 45 points was the largest for the Lady Vols in a conference game since UT thumped Alabama by 65 points, 110-45 on Jan. 6, 2011.
“Any time that you get a win, especially to hold Missouri to only scoring nine threes, that’s exciting for us because we seem to give up threes,” Tennessee coach Holly Warlick said. “It’s a great win for us. I’m proud of our kids but a lot of things I’m talking as a coach that we have to get better. We gave them too many open looks on the three.
“Those are things we’ve got to correct. So great effort. I thought our first half was better than our second half, so if we can ever put the two together and play it consistent, then we’ll play a complete 40-minute game. Excited for our kids and proud of them for getting another SEC win.”
Meighan Simmons led the Lady Vols in scoring with 18 points.
Isabelle Harrison posted her sixth double-double of the season with 12 points and a career-high 15 rebounds.
Bashaara Graves tallied 16 points for her 12th game this season in double-figures. Taber Spani chipped in 11.
Tennessee limited Missouri to just 19.7 percent from the floor. That is the best defensive effort for the Lady Vols since holding Arkansas to 18.2 percent last season.
The Lady Vols forced 22 turnovers while committing just six.
Missouri made just four 2-point shots in the game on 30 attempts. The Tigers’ 36 3-point attempts set a Thompson-Boling Arena record for a women’s game.
Some huge advantages for Tennessee came in the following categories: points in the paint (40-6), points off turnovers (24-5), second-chance points (22-0) and fast break points (21-2).
After building a 27-point halftime lead, the second half was more of the same for Tennessee. The lead continued to grow throughout the final 20 minutes as the double-figure scorers piled up.
The Lady Vols are a perfect 4-0 against the Tigers, winning twice in 1978 and once in 2010 prior to Thursday.
Tennessee heads to Florida for a Sunday morning matchup at 11:30 a.m. That game will air on ESPNU and can be heard on the Lady Vol Network.