#11/10 Tennessee Shoots Past Auburn, 83-61

Thursday, February 21, 2013
KNOXVILLE, Tenn -- Tennessee opened the game on a 19-2 run and never looked back as the Lady Vols cruised to their 10th wire-to-wire win of the year, 83-61, over Auburn. No. 11/10 Tennessee (21-5, 12-1 SEC) increased its first-place lead in the conference to a full game over Kentucky (11-2 SEC).

Five Lady Vols scored in double-figures, the seventh time this season that has occurred.

Junior Meighan Simmons led Tennessee with 24 points. She also recorded a career-high five steals.

Sophomore Cierra Burdick posted her fourth career-double and third this season with 15 points and a career-high 13 rebounds.

Senior Taber Spani tallied 16 as she knocked down 4-of-5 from trifecta land.

Freshman Bashaara Graves notched her 23rd game in double-figures with 14, in her 26 collegiate games.

Sophomore Ariel Massengale handed out a season-high 10 assists to go along with 10 points for her first-career double-double. It marked the third time this year the Lady Vols had a pair of players with double-doubles.

3-pointers were a huge story for the Lady Vols as they hit on a season-best nine-of-20.

The win was Tennessee's 15th consecutive at home against the Tigers. The Lady Vols have won every game in Knoxville vs. AU since 1989. All-time the Lady Vols lead the series, 38-10.

Tennessee began the game on fire making nine of its first 12 shots including seven in a row extending its lead to 22-5. The Lady Vols broke the game open hitting five consecutive 3-pointers in a two-minute span. Simmons knocked down three treys on her own to give the Lady Vols that 17-point advantage.

Spani added two 3-pointers in the first half while Massengale also aided the effort with a three of her own.

The Lady Vols offense combined with 14 Auburn miscues in the first half allowed the Lady Vols to scored 15 points off turnovers in the first 20 minutes.

Tennessee's largest lead of the half was 26 on a Cierra Burdick layup with 7:29 left in the first half, making it 33-7.

The Lady Vols led 44-21 at halftime -- their eighth 20-point lead at halftime this season. UT's shot of 7-of-10 from beyond the arc in the first half -- its most 3-pointers in a half this season. Tennessee made two 3s in the second half, going 2-of-10.

The onslaught continued in the second half as the lead was never less than 20 points.

Spani's 3-pointer, UT's first in the second half after eight misses to start the period, put the Lady Vols ahead, 76-47 with five minutes left. Simmons 3-pointer with 3:40 left ballooned the lead to 31 at 81-50. That was the largest lead of the game.

Auburn was led by Tra'Cee Tanner, who had 20. Blanche Alverson tallied 15.

The Tigers, which played Tennessee to a close 75-66 decision at Auburn on Jan. 17, stand at 14-12 overall and 3-10 in the SEC.

Tennessee only has three regular-season games remaining. The Lady Vols travel to Arkansas on Sunday for a 4 p.m., matchup on the SEC Network and the Lady Vol Network.

The SEC regular-season champion will be decided in UT's final two games as Tennessee faces Texas A&M (10-2) at home on Feb. 28 and travels to Kentucky (11-2 SEC) on March 3 in the finale.

PHOTOS: Lady Vols Douse Flames, 100-60

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