|THURSDAY WOMEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
|Tennessee 76, Virginia 67
|Texas A&M 69, Memphis 59
Simmons Unstoppable in 76-67 Win Over UVa
Freeport, BAHAMAS -- 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.
Women's Basketball Takes Down Memphis In Paradise Jam
ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands -- Tori Scott scored a career-high 19 points and Karla Gilbert had her first career double double to lead the No. 12 Aggies to a 69-59 victory over Memphis in their first game of the Paradise Jam.
Texas A&M (4-0) posted its fifth 4-0 start in the past six seasons, and extended their Caribbean winning streak to six straight games, dating back to the 2007 Paradise Jam.
“We didn’t execute in the first half,” said Texas A&M Head Coach Gary Blair. “Their initial offense, we would stop, but we kept fouling when the play broke down. Aside from the breakaway layups, I thought we did a good job defensively in the second half.”
“We’ll take it as a win, and we have our hands full the next two games with good teams Texas and Syracuse coming up,” added Blair.
After trading baskets for the first few minutes, Texas A&M went on a 13-1 run over nearly the next eight minutes that took a two-point deficit to a 10-point Aggie lead. The first half ended with a frantic last minute that saw four combined field goals, and the Aggies taking a 35-29 lead into the break.
Memphis (3-3) closed to within a point of A&M with just under 18 minutes to play, only to have the Maroon and White go on a 12-3 run to put the Aggies up 49-39 with 11 minutes to go.
An Ariel Hearn 3-pointer helped Memphis close the gap to five points with 7:30 to play, but two fast break baskets from Scott took the Aggies on a 6-0 run that put the game out of reach.
Tori Scott shot a blistering 9-of-10 from the field and was 8-for-8 on 2-point shots, posting a career-high 19 points, in what was her first career double digit scoring game.
“Tori Scott in transition is about as quick as any player, I’ve had, because she runs so hard,” said Blair. “That makes her very hard to guard in transition.”
Karla Gilbert had career-highs of 18 points and 14 rebounds to earn her first double double in just her second 10+ rebound effort. Gilbert has reached double figures in scoring in three of the Aggies’ four games this season.
Courtney Walker had her third straight 10+ point game, posting exactly ten, making a key contribution in the first half with 4-of-6 shooting.
“Courtney Walker was solid the entire game, and we should have found her more shots in the second half, but she received more attention from Memphis,” said Blair.
The Aggies take on long-time rival Texas in the second game of the Paradise Jam on Friday, November 29 at 5 p.m. CT/7 p.m. AT. The game is broadcast live on YouTube and can be heard on KZNE 1150 AM in the Bryan-College Station area.