Free throws lift #9 UT to OT win at UF, 78-75

Kayla Lewis

Knoxville, TN - November 25, 2012: guard Meighan Simmons #10 of the Tennessee Lady Volunteers during the game between Alcorn State Lady Braves and the Tennessee Lady Volunteers at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, TN. Photo By Donald Page/Tennessee Athletics

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (UT Release) -- Tennessee scored the final five points in overtime to capture a 78-75 win at the O'Connell Center on Sunday afternoon. Meighan Simmons (27 points) tied the game at 75 on a jumper with 1:12 left then Kamiko Williams and Bashaara Graves combined for three free throws in the final 24.3 seconds to secure the win. Graves sent the game to overtime with a free throw with 12.6 seconds left in regulation.

Kayla Lewis' 3-point attempt at the buzzer rimmed off for the Gators, who fell to 13-5 overall, 2-2 in the SEC. The Lady Vols (13-3 overall) have now won six games in a row and remain perfect in the SEC at 4-0.

The win by three points was Tennessee's first by fewer than five points since a 61-58 win at Ole Miss on Feb. 11, 2010.

Simmons led all scorers with 27, 17 of which came in the first half. Graves notched her seventh double-double of the season with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

After sitting much of the first half with foul trouble and not scoring, Isabelle Harrison netted 10 points -- all in the second half and overtime. She also added nine ebounds.

Ariel Massengale chipped in 12 and handed out four assists.
The Gators were led by Jaterra Bonds, who had 18. January Miller and Carlie Needles each added 11.

Florida was without their top player Jennifer George for most of the afternoon after she suffered an injury late in the first half.
Harrison's layup 11 seconds into overtime was the only basket of the extra session for the first 2:30. Christin Mercer made Florida's first shot -- after missing the first four attempts -- on a jumper to gave the Gators a 73-72 lead.

Williams tallied her first point of the game on a free throw with 1:36 left, deadlocking the game at 73. Bonds quickly answered to regain a lead for the Gators at 75-73 with 1:29 left.

Tennessee would score the next five points while keeping Florida off the board. Simmons tied the game at 75 all on a jumper with 1:12 left in OT.

Williams made the first of two free throws with 24.3 left for a 76-75 lead.
With a chance to tie the game or give Florida the lead, Mercer missed two free throws with 8.9 left. Florida fouled on the rebound sending Graves back to the foul line where she made both foul shots with a 78-75 lead with 8.4 left.

Lewis' 3-point attempt from the left wing bounced off and the Lady Vols kept their win streak going. Tennessee is 45-3 all-time against Florida.

After trailing much of the afternoon, Florida regained the lead with four minutes left in the second half. But the Lady Vols responded in the final three minutes.

Simmons regained the lead for Tennessee on a driving layup with 2:30 left in regulation, making it 67-66. Harrison made a pair of free throws with 2:12 left, pushing the lead to three, 69-66.

Sydney Moss cut the Florida deficit to one on a layup with 1:03 left in the game, making it 69-68. Miller's free-throw line jumper with 28.8 left gave the Gators a 70-69 lead.

Graves tied the game at 70 with 12.6 left in regulation and sent the game to overtime.

Florida used a 7-0 run late in the second half to rally from a 64-59 deficit to take a 66-64 lead into the final three minutes.

Florida tied the game at 64 on a jumper by McIntyre with just over five minutes remaining. Bonds gave the Gators their first lead since early in the first half on a floater with 4:27 left in the second half for a 66-64 UF lead.

Tennessee took a nine-point lead, the largest of the game at 51-42, on a fastbreak jumper by Massengale with 16:26 left in the second half. That came on the heels of a clutch 3-pointer by Taber Spani.

Simmons had 17 of her points in the first half as Tennessee took a 37-34 lead at intermission. The junior guard had 17 of UT's first 33 points
The Lady Vols broke a 28 all tie on a 3-pointer by Simmons with 5:11 left in the first half.

Florida held an early 16-12 lead, but the Lady Vols outscored the Gators, 25-18 to end the half.

Florida has lost eight consecutive games in the series dating to their last win over the Lady Vols -- in Gainesville, on Feb. 8, 2009
The Lady Vols finish a short two-game road swing at Auburn on Thursday night at 9 p.m. The game will air on CSS and can be heard on the Lady Vol Network.


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