KNOXVILLE – Led by junior Meighan Simmons who finished with 24 points, the Tennessee women’s basketball team jumped out to an early lead and never looked back in a 97-68 victory over Ole Miss (8-15, 1-9 SEC) at Thompson-Boling Arena on Sunday.
It was the ninth wire-to-wire win of the season for the Lady Vols (19-5, 10-1) and their fourth in conference play.
“I think this team plays so much together,” said Tennessee coach Holly Warlick. “They understand the importance of that. I think we distribute the basketball. We hold each other accountable. They understand the value of a team effort. That is the only way I can explain it. We practice hard there have been very little times that we have had a bad practice. So I think they understand the importance of preparation and then for the most part they play together during the game.”
Five Tennessee players scored in double figures for the sixth time this season en route to a 59.4 shooting percentage, the highest of the season. The Lady Vols shot 66.7 percent from the field in the second half putting up 57 points in the frame on the scoreboard, the most in any half this season and the most since a 58-point first half against Alabama on Jan. 6, 2011, a game UT won 110-45.
With her team-leading 24 points, Simmons moved into 26th place on the all-time scoring list finishing the day with 1,319 points passing Tonya Edwards (1,309). It was the eighth time this season that Simmons registered over 20 points and the 18th time in her career.
Bashaara Graves notched her ninth double-double of the season with 19 points and 11 boards, tying Tamika Catchings for fourth-most double-doubles by a Lady Vol freshman. While fellow freshman Nia Moore notched 12 points, a career-high, in just 10 minutes of play. Tennessee will return to action on Feb. 17 when it takes on Vanderbilt at Thompson-Boling Arena at 5 p.m. in a game that will be televised by ESPN2.