AUSTIN, Texas - Meighan Simmons scored a team-high 18 points to lead six Lady Vols in double figures as the No. 13/12 Tennessee women's basketball team rolled past No. 18/20 Texas, 94-75, on Sunday at the Frank Erwin Special Events Center.
Tennessee (7-1) enjoyed a balanced offensive attack in the win with strong shooting from the field (46.8 percent), beyond the arc (8-of-15) and the free-throw line (14-of-18). Bashaara Graves posted a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Ariel Massengale had 15 points and a game-high seven assists. Taber Spani scored 15 points, Cierra Burdick had 14 points and Jasmine Jones head a big second half to finish with 10 points off the bench.
Chassidy Fussell led Texas (6-2) with a 31-point effort that included a 10-of-10 showing from the charity stripe. Nneka Enemkpali added 15 points and eight boards for the Longhorns.
Tennessee led 45-27 at the break and the teams traded baskets over the first two minutes of the second half. Burdick hit a jumper at the 17:35 mark push Tennessee's lead to 20 points at 53-33.
Texas focused on attacking the paint in the second half. The Longhorns went on a 7-3 run with points from fouls drawn inside and layups to pull to within 56-40 by the first media timeout of the second half at 15:39.
The Longhorns drew to within 14 points on a Enemkpali layup, but Simmons pushed the Lady Vols' lead back to 20 points with a three pointer from the left wing and a drive from the right side for a three-point play. Tennessee led 62-42 with 13:45 remaining.
Ashley Roberts' 3-pointer with 12:55 on the clock sparked an 11-2 Texas run that also featured two treys from Chassidy Fussell. The Longhorns found themselves within 66-53 after Imani McGee-Stafford sunk two free throws at the 11:37 mark.
Jones helped keep Tennessee's lead at or over 13 points with an aggressive layup on the Lady Vols' ensuing possession and a pair of free throws with 11 minutes remaining.
Tennessee's lead was down to 70-59 when Enemkpali put in a layup with 9:38 on the clock. After a 3-pointer from Kamiko Williams, Enemkpali tipped in a missed shot and later drove the paint for a layup to cut the Lady Vols' lead to 10 points at 73-63.
The teams traded buckets over the next three minutes. With 6:29 left, McGee-Stafford missed a jumper and Isabelle Harrison was injured in the tussle for the rebound. Harrison left the game and did not return.
Tennessee squashed the Texas comeback attempt after that. The Lady Vols went on a 15-7 run after Harrison's injury to close out the game. Massengale scored six points over that stretch.
The Lady Vols took command in the first half as Texas struggled with 25-percent shooting (7-of-28).
Due to a Tennessee technical foul prior tipoff, Fussell made two free throws to give the Longhorns a 2-0 advantage before the clock even started. That did not phase Tennessee as the Lady Vols responded with a 15-4 run over the next six minutes. Graves and Spani had six points each over that stretch and were the offensive catalysts for Tennessee in the first half.
Empress Davenport made a layup at the 13:53 mark and Brady Sanders hit two jumpers as Texas made a 6-3 run to draw within 18-12 by the second media timeout.
Graves came up big for Tennessee after the timeout, scoring off an offensive board with 11:12 left and making a layup a minute later to push the Lady Vols' lead to eight points at 24-16.
A jumper by Jones with 9:03 on the clock and a floater by Spani from the left side on Tennessee's next possession gave the Lady Vols a 28-18 lead by the third media timeout.
Texas drew to within 28-22 after two free throws from Enemkpali and a steal and layup by Davenport at the 6:48 mark.
Tennessee followed with an 8-2 run. Massengale found Burdick for a jumper on Tennessee's next possession and Spani hit a jumper at the 5:30 mark to push the Lady Vols' lead back to 10 points at 32-22. Simmons made a jumper in transition with 3:54 left in the half for her first points of the game after she started 0-of-7 from the floor. Burdick hit a dagger from the right side to with 3:28 left to give Tennessee a 36-24 advantage and force Longhorns head coach Karen Aston to take a timeout.
The Lady Vols closed out the first half on fire. After the Texas timeout, Tennessee went on a 9-2 run to take a 45-27 lead into halftime. Spani made two free throws and nailed her third trey of the game from the right wing during the final three minutes of the period. Graves had 10 points and four boards and Spani led all scorers with 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting in the first half.
Tennessee will travel to Waco, Texas, to face defending national champion No. 3 Baylor on Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET. ESPN has the telecast. The Lady Vols will return to Thompson-Boling Arena on Dec. 22 to host No. 1 Stanford.
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