Tennessee advanced to the NCAA Second Round with a 72-49 victory of UT Martin on Saturday afternoon at Allstate Arena. Playing in its NCAA record 31st consecutive tournament, Tennessee is now 110-22 all-time in NCAA Tournament games, playing into the round of 32 for the 30th time in history.
The No. 2-seeded Lady Vols (25-8) will take on No. 7 seed DePaul, a 59-55 winner over No. 10 seed BYU. That second-round game will be played on Monday night at 9:30 p.m. ET/8:30 p.m. CT. The game will be televised on ESPN2 and can be heard on the Lady Vol Network.
Sophomore Meighan Simmons led the Lady Vols with 20 points as she made 7-of-13 from the floor. Senior Glory Johnsonadded 14 points and 12 rebounds.
UT Martin, the OVC Champions, finished the season at 23-9. Entering the tournament as the NCAA's leading scoring team (81.1), UT Martin was limited to 49 points and just 28.8 from the floor. Leading scorer Heather Butler, who was third in the NCAA with a 24.1 average entering the game, was held to just 14 points as she shot 5-of-25 from the floor. Jasmine Newsome had 10 points, shooting 3-of-18 from the floor.
The Lady Vols bench outscored UT Martin, 38-9, keyed by Simmons, how had he fourth 20-plus point game of the season. Tennessee outrebounded UTM, 52-39.
After leading to by nine points at halftime, Tennessee opened up a double-digit lead early in the second half and never looked back, leading by as many as 25 in the final minutes.
Simmons' third 3-pointer of the game put the Lady Vols ahead 60-41 with 8:38 left. The lead moved to 20-plus on a Johnson jumper with 5:52 left at 64-43.
The Tennessee lead ballooned to 18 points on an Ariel Massengale 3-pointer with 10:50 left in the game as UT led 55-37.
Tennessee used an 8-0 run after UT Martin opened the second half with a 3-pointer by Heather Butler 11 seconds into the half. The spurt put the Lady Vols up 43-29 after a 3-pointer by Briana Bass with 15:49 left in the game.
The Lady Vols held a 35-26 lead at halftime as Simmons knocked down a 3-pointer as the half expired, giving her nine points in the first 20 minutes. Simmons had put Tennessee ahead 26-17 with 3:30 left in the half, but UT Martin got back to within four points at 28-24 on a lay-up by Newsome with 1:55 left in the half. Tennessee scored the next four points to retake an eight-point lead at 32-24 with 40 seconds left in the half.
UT Martin held close for most of the first half as the Lady Vols' largest lead was nine points.
HEAD COACH Pat Summitt
(On coaching against her alma mater)
"It was. There's no doubt. They played hard. We had a lot of size advantage. They came here ready to run up and down the floor and they did a good job."
(On Tennessee's defense)
"It was a great defensive effort. I think our team respected their team. When that happens, they're going to step up, play better defense and take care of the basketball."
(On whether Tennessee's 27 three-point attempts were too many)
"If they go in, (they're not). We don't typically go out and expect that, but we did a great job today."
(On Tennessee's mentality)
"I think we have to just take this game and get ready for the next game. I think this team has had a little bit different focus now that we're here and it's for real. Let's just hope that we can keep moving forward."
The University of Tennessee