Lady Vols Overwhelm North Carolina
Sunday, December 2, 2012
KNOXVILLE -- In the first meeting between longtime foes in five years, No. 16/14 Tennessee dominated No. 22 North Carolina, 102-57. UT handed UNC its first loss of the season before 11,342 at Thompson-Boling Arena on Sunday afternoon. The Lady Vols (6-1) extended their winning streak to six games while the Tar Heels fell to 7-1 overall.
Junior Meighan Simmons, who scored her 1,000th career point in the game, led all scorers with a career-high 33. Her point total was the most since All-American Candace Parker scored 34 vs. Notre Dame on March 30, 2008.
Sophomore Isabelle Harrison scored a career-high 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for her third double-double this season.
Freshman Bashaara Graves tallied 15 points, as she has scored in double-figures in all seven of her college games.
Sophomore Cierra Burdick netted 15 and grabbed 10 rebounds for her second-career double-double. Taber Spani had 10 points.
The 45-point margin of victory over a ranked team was the largest since UT beat No. 22 Illinois, by 49 points (111-62) in Hawaii on Nov. 25, 2000.
The 102 points vs. the 22nd-ranked Tar Heels were the most by UT against a ranked team since beating No. 15 DePaul, 102-68, on Jan. 2, 2008.
The Lady Vols opened the game with a 10-2 lead and never looked back. A Simmons' 3-pointer just over seven minutes into the action put the Lady Vols ahead by 10 at 17-7 and UT never let UNC cut the margin below double-figures for the remainder of the game.
Tennessee led by as many as 46 on a 3-pointer by Burdick with 44 seconds left in the second half. The closest the Tar Heels got in the second half was 16 points on two occasions, but UT opened up the jets midway in the second half to blow open the game.
Tennessee controlled the boards outrebounding UNC, 54-40 with Harrison leading the way with 11 boards.
The Lady Vols closed the first half on a 14-4 run to lead 49-28 at intermission. Simmons had 22 points in the first half on the way to her career day.
Simmons became the 37th Tennessee player to score 1,000 career points with a free throw with 11:44 left in the first half. She achieved the plateau in just her 80th college game.
Lady Vols went on an 8-0 run capped by a Taber Spani 3-pointer as the shot clock expired to put Tennessee ahead, 22-7, with 12:36 left in the first half.
Sunday's game was the first meeting since Lady Vols beat UNC, 83-79, five years ago to the date on Dec. 2, 2007.
The Lady Vols have two weeks off before their next game at Texas on Dec. 16 at 2 p.m. That game will air on Fox SportsNet and can be heard on the Lady Vol Network.