FREEPORT, Bahamas - Guard Meighan Simmons #10 of the Tennessee Lady Volunteers during the Junkanoo Jam game between the Virginia Cavaliers and the Tennessee Lady Volunteers in Freeport, Bahamas. Photo By Donald Page/Tennessee Athletics
Knoxville, Tenn.--(UTSports) Meighan Simmons drained a career-high-tying eight three pointers and finished with a season-best 32 points to help #3/4 Tennessee win its opening game in the Junkanoo Jam over Virginia, 76-67, Thursday afternoon at St. George's High School Gymnasium.
The Lady Vols remained unbeaten at 6-0 and now have won 14 straight against unranked opponents.
A 5-foot-9 senior guard, Simmons nailed 11 of 20 shots from the field, including 8 of 17 from long range, to help Tennessee overcome a four-point halftime deficit and being down by as many as 10 in the first half.
Junior point guard Ariel Massengale had a hand in the Big Orange charge back against the Cavaliers, dishing out a career-best 13 assists and scoring 10 points for her second career double-double. Her assist total tied for the third best in school history behind 18 from Dawn Marsh (3/6/88 vs. Georgia) and 14 from Holly Warlick (2/12/78 vs. Memphis State). Massengale equaled the totals of Shannon Bobbitt (12/16/07 vs. Gonzaga) and Marsh (1/11/87 vs. Kentucky).
Junior forward Cierra Burdick added 10 points and six boards for the Lady Vols, who improved to 14-3 all-time vs. Virginia and 6-1 at neutral sites.
UVa (3-3) was paced by 25 from Ataira Franklin, 16 from Faith Randolph and 12 from Kelsey Wolfe, as the Cavaliers outscored UT in the paint, 26-18.
After shooting 44.8% in the first half, UT limited the Cavaliers to 32.4% in the second half, while the Lady Vols improved their marksmanship from 48.3% in the opening 20 minutes to 58.3% in the second frame and 52.8% for the game.
Tennessee now will face the winner of the Kansas State-SMU game on Friday at 8 p.m. Eastern for the Junkanoo Jam Lucaya Division championship.
The Lady Vols suffered through a foul-plagued first half, as they were whistled for 14 to only six for Virginia and trailed at the break, 39-35. Seven different Lady Vols went into the locker room at the half with two fouls.
Simmons willed UT back from several deficits in the first 20 minutes, including a 7-0 start by UVa, with 17 points. She had already achieved her season high at that point.
Head coach Holly Warlick also drew a whistle, picking up a technical with 2.9 seconds remaining in the first frame. It was her first as head coach.
To comment, the following rules must be followed:
Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.
Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Links require admin approval before posting.
Questions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please provide detailed information.