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Simmons, No. 10 Lady Vols trounce Auburn 93-63
Simmons scored 26 points as No. 10 Tennessee trounced Auburn 93-63 on Thursday night for the Lady Vols’ seventh victory in their last eight games. The 5-foot-9 senior averaged 26.5 points in Tennessee’s two victories over Auburn last season.
“No explanation,” Simmons said. “I just try to come out and play hard. It’s not ever about me. It’s really about the team. I just want to do whatever I can to kind of help the team win, just do my role and pay attention to what I need to do out there on the floor and just be a leader.”
Simmons sparked an early 19-0 run and had 25 points in the game’s first 21 minutes, 42 seconds before cooling off down the stretch. She made 10 of her first 15 shots before missing her last seven attempts with the game well out of reach.
This game continued a torrid stretch for Simmons, who has scored at least 20 points in six of her last nine games and has averaged 19.8 points over that span. Simmons moved into seventh place on Tennessee’s all-time scoring list with 1,891 career points.
She had six rebounds and five assists to go along with her 26 points Thursday.
“When the ball was leaving her hand, I thought it was in just about every time,” Tennessee coach Holly Warlick said. “I keep saying this, Meighan’s taking great looks for Meighan. She really is. I don’t see her taking a lot of bad shots right now. She had five assists, and I’m probably more proud of her because she had six rebounds. I’ve tried to get her to get on the boards.”
Tyrese Tanner scored 15 points for Auburn (14-12, 5-8). Tra’Cee Tanner had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Brandy Montgomery scored 12 and Hasina Muhammad added 10.
Tennessee has won 23 of its last 25 games in this series. Auburn has lost 16 straight road games to Tennessee since winning 71-68 in Knoxville on Jan. 9, 1988.
This latest victory couldn’t improve Tennessee’s position in the SEC standings. The Lady Vols remain two games behind No. 4 South Carolina (24-2, 12-1) and one game behind No. 16 Texas A&M; (21-6, 11-2), who both won Thursday night.
“We’ve got to control what we can control,” Burdick said. “We can’t worry about other teams. Obviously we see what’s going on in our conference, but we’ve got to focus on getting us better and continuing to improve.”
The Lady Vols were coming off a 22-turnover performance in a 75-71 loss to No. 15 Kentucky, which was ranked 18th at the time of their Sunday meeting. The Lady Vols spent the week emphasizing the importance of taking care of the ball against Auburn, which entered the night with an SEC-leading 11.2 steals per game in league competition.
As it turned out, Auburn’s turnovers proved more costly.
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