The game was never in question.The No. 16 Tennessee Lady Volunteers (6-1) blew by No. 22 North Carolina (7-1), winning 102-57 at Thompson-Boling Arena on Sunday.
After taking a quick 10-2 lead at the start of the game, Tennessee never looked back and North Carolina never caught back up. Tennessee led by as much as 44 points. In the second half, North Carolina managed to close the gap to 16 points twice, but Tennessee never wavered.
"It was awesome. It was a great team effort. We talked about playing as a team before the game, and you can look on the stats and understand it was a team effort," said head coach Holly Warlick. "We had several people score in double figures. We had 21 assists. So when you have 21 assists, you're sharing the basketball. I'm proud of the team. I thought their defensive effort was outstanding, holding North Carolina to 57 points. Overall, I'm extremely pleased."
Junior guard Meighan Simmons led Tennessee in the rout while setting a few records of her own. Leading the team in scoring for the fifth time this season, Simmons recorded a career high with 33 points as well as eclipsing the 1,000 point mark for her career.
"To be honest, I give the credit to God. I woke up this morning and was in a different mindset. I wanted to go out and play my hardest, because I knew what was coming at me," said Simmons. "Today, I just let the game come to me, and when I do that, a lot of things come to me in a manner that I'm not expecting. I need to continue to play that way and continue to play under control. I have to stay focused and stay within the system of (UT) basketball."
Despite holding a height advantage in the paint with 6-6 senior center Waltiea Rolle, North Carowwwvqlina could never capitalize. Tennessee's Isabelle Harrison maintained control and kept Rolle in check while she recorded 11 rebounds while also she scored a career best 18 points on the offensive end for her third double-double of the season.
"We're just going to take it as it is and keep focused and not try to dwell on this too much, because there are more opponents that are going to come up that we have to face," said Harrison. "There is some good competition, so we're just going to keep moving forward and improving."
Three other Lady Vols were able to get into the double-digits for the game, with sophomore Cierra Burdick recording a double-double as well, finishing with 15 points and ten rebounds, while senior Taber Spani scored ten coming off the bench. Freshman Bashaara Graves continued her streak of scoring in the double-digits in all seven of her college games, putting up 15 points against North Carolina.
Tennessee is off until Dec. 16 when they will begin a two game road trip to take on Texas before finishing with a trip to Baylor on Dec. 18.