Knoxville, Tenn.--(UTSports) On `We Back Pat' Night, Tennessee took care of business posting a 89-69 victory over Florida. Five Lady Vols scored in double-figures as #11/12 Tennessee never trailed in the contest to move to 15-4 overall and 4-2 in the SEC. Meighan Simmons knocked down five 3-pointers on the way to a game-high 21 points.
Bashaara Graves netted 17 to equal her most points since the fourth game of the campaign. Jasmine Jones tallied 13, one shy of her career high. Andraya Carter tied her season-best with 14 and Isabelle Harrison added 12.
Tennessee had a remarkable 27 assists on 33 baskets led by Carter, who had a career-high eight. Cierra Burdick, handed out seven. The accomplishment is even noteworthy as starting point guard Ariel Massengale suffered a facial injury in the first half when she was accident hit in the face while going for a ball. Massengale had four helpers in 14 minutes.
The Lady Vols assisted their first 18 baskets of the game spanning the game's first 25 minutes.
Florida was led by Kayla Lewis, who scored 14 for the Gators (13-6, 3-3 SEC). Ronni Williams scored 12 while Jaterra Bonds and Antoinette Bannister each had 10.
Up by 13 at halftime, Tennessee continued to hold a lead of at least eight points in the second half.
Florida cut their deficit to eight (56-48) on seven consecutive points with 11:20 left in the game. But Tennessee retaliated with some long-range shooting as Carter and Jasmine Jones connected on 3-pointers to regain the lead of a baker's dozen at 66-53 with nine minutes to go.
Jones' second 3-pointer of the game, put UT ahead by 20 for the first time with 4:50 left in the game as Tennessee sealed the victory.
The Lady Vols led 40-27 at halftime with 36 of the points coming from Graves (11), Harrison (9), Simmons (8) and Carter (8).
Tennessee jumped out to a double-figure lead less than six minutes into the game as the Lady Vols showed off their passing skills. UT assisted each of its first nine field goals in taking a 22-10 lead on a Harrison layup with 12 minutes left in the first half.
The Lady Vols took their largest lead of the first half at 15 on a Harrison layup with 2:40 left, as UT led, 40-25.
`We Back Pat" Week an SEC initiative focused on bringing awareness and recognition to the Pat Summitt Foundation, a fund of East Tennessee Foundation, and its fight against Alzheimer's disease.
Prior to the game, $30,000 was donated to the Pat Summitt Foundation by three separate entities.
Tennessee returns to action on Sunday, as the Lady Vols travel to College Station, Texas for the first time in history. The game tips off at 4 p.m. ET/3 p.m. CT and airs on ESPN2 and can be heard on the Lady Vol Network.
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