NASHVILLE, TN - JANUARY 24, 2013: guard Meighan Simmons #10 of the Tennessee Lady Volunteers during the game between the Vanderbilt Commodores and the Tennessee Lady Volunteers at the Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville, TN. Photo By Donald Page/Tennessee Athletics
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Down by as many as 11 early in the second half, No. 11/10 Tennessee rallied for a 60-54 win at Bud Walton Arena on Sunday afternoon. The win keeps the Lady Vols in sole possession of first place in the SEC with a 13-1 league mark to go with a 22-5 overall record.
Meighan Simmons led Tennessee with a game-high 18 points, while grabbing seven rebounds. The Lady Vols have won five games in a row heading into their final two regular-season games against the teams pushing for the perch in the SEC: Kentucky and Texas A&M, as each stands at 11-2 in the league. Both teams are in action on Sunday, but have not completed their games.
It was the fourth time this season Tennessee rallied from a halftime deficit and second-largest overall comeback. UT trailed by as many as 12 vs. MTSU on Nov. 28, 2012, but rallied to win in overtime, 88-81.
Taber Spani netted 14 while Bashaara Graves tallied 11 and grabbed a game-best nine rebounds.
Arkansas (17-10, 5-9 SEC) was led by Quistelle Williams, who had 15 points.
Tennessee used a 10-0 run early in the second half to rally from a 36-33 deficit with 15:35 left to take a 43-36 lead on a Spani 3-pointers with 12:48 remaining. The Lady Vols never trailed after that point.
Arkansas continued to battle and keep the game within striking distance but were unable to pull off the upset.
The Razorbacks cut the margin to one at 51-50 on a Sarah Watkins jumper with 3:32 left in the second half.
A big bucket as the shot clock was winding down by Spani with 43 seconds left on the clock put the Lady Vols ahead, 56-50.
Free throws sealed the game in the final minutes as Ariel Massengale and Spani each made a pair in the final 25 seconds.
The Razorbacks outscored Tennessee 19-5 over the final 10 minutes of the first half to hold a 28-19 lead at halftime. Tennessee had built a 14-7 lead midway through the half, but turnovers (13) and poor shooting (26.9 percent) let to the Lady Vols falling behind.
Tennessee leads the all-time series with Arkansas, 24-2 including a 12-1 mark in Fayetteville. The win for the Lady Vols gained a measure of revenge as Arkansas upset UT last season, 72-71 in Knoxville on Feb. 23, 2012.
Tennessee closes its home regular-season schedule on Thursday as No. 10 Texas A&M comes to Thompson-Boling Arena for a 7 p.m. tip-off. The Aggies are one game behind Tennessee in the SEC standings at 11-2.