KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (UT Release) - Tennessee rallied from an early six-point deficit to blow out Rice, 101-48, in the 2012-13 home opener before 10,913 at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Senior Meighan Simmons tallied 22 points as she shot 8-of-12 from the floor. It was her 12th-career game with 20-plus points with the Lady Vols (2-1). Sophomore Isabelle Harrison scored a career-high 16 points and grabbed a career-high tying 12 rebounds for her second-career double-double.
Freshman Bashaara Graves scored in double-figures for the third time in three college games with 18. Senior Kamiko Williams had her best-scoring game in two seasons with 12 points.
The game marked Tennessee's first 100-point game since a 110-45 win over Alabama on Jan. 6, 2011.
Tennessee outscored Rice 49-10 bridging the halves over a span of 16:36 to blow open the game and built a 30-point plus advantage.
After Rice had 22 points in the game's first 8:18. As Tennessee's defense buckled up, Rice was limited to 26 points for the remainder of the game, covering nearly 32 minutes.
Rice (1-1) was led by Jessica Kuster (16) and Megan Palmer (15).
Tennessee shot 57 percent from the floor for the game including 66 percent in the second half (23-of-35).
Tennessee outscored the Owls, 32-0, off turnovers and 20-0 on fastbreak points. The Lady Vols had just seven turnovers, including just one in the first half.
The second half featured lots of spurts. Freshman Nia Moore scored her first-career points on a bucket during a 16-0 run that put UT up 93-41 with five minutes left. An 8-0 run closed by a Williams 3-pointer with 10:28 left, gave the Lady Vols a 77-38 lead. A 9-0 spurt put Tennessee ahead by 30 at 63-32 on a lay-up by Ariel Massengale.
Tennessee led 45-27 at halftime as the Lady Vols outscored Rice 29-5 to end the first half. Simmons punctuated the half with a bank-shot 3-pointer to end the half. Harrison led all UT scorers with 12 points while Kuster led the Owls, also with a dozen.
The Lady Vols scored 18 unanswered points over a span of six minutes midway through the first half to rally from down by as many as six to lead by 12 at 34-22 with 5:02 left in the half on a Graves layup.
Tennessee held Rice without a field goal for nearly nine minutes. Tennessee rallied from down by as many as six to take the lead at 23-22 on a Cierra Burdick jumper with nine minutes left in the half.
The game started out up-tempo as Rice held a 22-16 lead with 11 minutes left in the first half. Kuster tallied 12 of the Owls' first 16.
The Lady Vols head to No. 23 Miami (Fla.) for a Sunday matchup in Coral Gables, Fla. The game can be heard on the Lady Vol Network with a 2 p.m. tipoff.
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