Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Stricklen Third-Team AP All-America

The third-team members: Connecticut senior Tiffany Hayes, Kentucky junior A’dia Mathies, Duke freshman Elizabeth Williams, Tennessee senior Shekinna Stricklen and Miami senior Riquna Williams.

It marked only the second time since the All-America team was first honored in 1995 that no Tennessee or Connecticut player made either the first or second team. It also happened in 2005.

Amid uncertainty, honor the success

Click here to read a great article by Mechelle Voepel.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Baylor 77 - Lady Vols 58


DES MOINES, Iowa — Baylor has just two wins to go for 40-0. Tennessee’s future is far less certain.

Brittney Griner had 23 points, 15 rebounds and nine blocks before being ejected with less than a minute left and top-seeded Baylor rolled over Tennessee 77-58 Monday night to advance to the Final Four.

Shekinna Strickland had 22 points for Tennessee (27-9), whose seniors became its first four-year class not to reach a Final Four.

The second-seeded Lady Vols now face an uncertain future, as Pat Summitt has yet to say if she’ll return for a 39th season as Tennessee coach. She announced in August she’d been diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type.

The Lady Bears (38-0), who are back in the national semifinals for the second time in three years, will face either Stanford or Duke on Sunday night in Denver.

Baylor’s Odyssey Sims, who led the Bears with 27 points, tumbled to the floor with 46.8 seconds left, and she and Strickland had to be separated. No punches were thrown, but Griner and teammates Terran Condrey and Jordan Madden were ejected for leaving the bench.

The NCAA says none of the players will be suspended for the Final Four.

Should Baylor win it all next week, it’ll become the first men’s or women’s team in NCAA history to finish a year with 40 wins.

As for Summitt, she was given a standing ovation from Tennessee and Baylor fans alike when she came out roughly 15 minutes before tipoff. But as defeat became apparent, she sat silently on the bench with her legs crossed.

Summitt has 1,098 wins, more than any basketball coach in NCAA history.

But Baylor was too much for her Lady Vols.

Like most of Baylor’s games this season, the Bears regional semifinal was more about dominance than drama—until a scrum in the final minute.

Baylor led 35-20 at halftime despite a poor start shooting from Griner. Tennessee made a spirited charge to start the second half, highlighted when Glory Johnson scored a second-chance bucket on Griner and simply smiled when Griner tossed her to the floor.

But the Bears are unbeaten because they’re much more than Griner.

Sims followed a layup through traffic with a 3, to help Bears go back ahead 49-38 with 11:12 to go. Tennessee made one final run, cutting a 19-point deficit to 64-53 with 4:48 left, but Griner finished off the Lady Vols with six points in the next minute.

Johnson had 19 points and 14 rebounds for Tennessee, which had a habit of starting poorly.

But the Lady Vols were ready for this one—at least for the first few minutes.

Tennessee double-teamed Griner with center Vicki Baugh and help defenders, and Griner hit just three of 10 shots in the first half. But the Lady Vols missed nine shots in a row after an early lead, and Baylor slowly built its edge to 26-16 on three straight buckets by Sims and a 3 from Hayden.

Baylor’s lead grew to 35-20 in Johnson’s absence, as Tennessee shot an abysmal 22.9 percent in the first half.

The Lady Vols hung close with Baylor in late November before losing 76-67. The rematch wasn’t nearly as close, sending the Bears onto Denver and Tennessee grappling with the possibility that Summitt’s career is over after 38 seasons and eight national titles.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Tennessee into regional final, tops Kansas 84-73

DES MOINES, Iowa — Tennessee was down 14 points against 11th-seeded Kansas, an unheralded bunch that few though could test the mighty Lady Vols.

Feisty sophomore Meighan Simmons gave Tennessee the boost it needed to survive and advance to yet another regional final.

Simmons scored 16 of her 22 points off the bench in the second half and Tennessee rallied past the Jayhawks 84-73 Saturday and advanced to its second straight regional final and 25th in 31 years.

Glory Johnson added 18 points for the second-seeded Lady Vols (27-8), who'll meet undefeated and top-seeded Baylor on Monday night for a spot in the Final Four.

It was the 1,098th win for Tennessee coach Pat Summitt, who announced in August she'd been diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer's type, and has yet to commit to coaching next season.

"The first half we tend to get ourselves in a hole, but we fought back," said Tennessee associate head coach Holly Warlick. "I thought our bench was outstanding."

The Lady Vols trailed 26-12 in the first half, but cut the deficit to 35-30 by halftime. They took the lead for good with a 19-9 run to open the second half.

Angel Goodrich had a game-high 23 points and Aishah Sutherland had 19 for Kansas (21-13), which fell to 0-3 in regional semifinals.

Simmons helped pick up the sluggish Lady Vols.

"She has a scoring mentality. We've said she's never seen a shot she didn't like. But I tell you what, a lot of those shots she takes she makes," Warlick said. "If we can learn from her and understand that great things can happen when you have a lot of heart, we won't get down like that in the first half."

Tennessee couldn't do anything right for the first 11 minutes, falling behind to a Kansas team that finished below .500 in the Big 12.

But there's a reason the Lady Vols always seem to be in the regional finals. The Jayhawks found out in the opening minutes of the second half, when Tennessee's superior depth and athleticism simply overwhelmed the underdogs.

"The second-chance points on the glass, the offensive rebounds, which is what they've always been about," Kansas coach Bonnie Henrickson said. "They got into us in the offensive glass, they got into us in transition. That's the way they got the separation in the second half."

The Lady Vols finally took the lead, 44-42, thanks largely to back-to-back 3s from Ariel Massengale, and a pair of free throws made it 53-46 Tennessee with 11:07 to go.

Freshman post player Chelsea Gardner did her best to keep the Jayhawks close with 14 points and 10 rebounds. But Simmons hit a layup off a give-and-go from Baugh to give the Lady Vols their first double-digit lead, 63-53, with 7:07 left.

Shekinna Stricklen had 16 points and nine rebounds for Tennessee, which shot 51. 5 percent in the second half.

This looked like the ultimate mismatch at the outset. Kansas was playing in just its third regional semifinal, while Tennessee was playing in its 30th — and shooting for a record 19th Final Four.

But early on, the Jayhawks seemed ready for the late morning start.

Gardner bullied her way for four inside buckets in the opening five minutes, and back-to-back layups through the paint by Goodrich gave Kansas a surprising 18-10 lead. The Lady Vols called timeout in an effort to quell the run, but Goodrich and Tania Jackson buried 3s to help push the lead to 14 points.

"The first couple of minutes we came out with a lot of energy on defense and offense. We were hitting a lot of shots," Gardner said. "We just had great defense."

That's the kind of deficit that will get anyone's attention. They Lady Vols came out of a timeout with considerably more energy, responding with an energetic 19-5 run to get back within 31-29.

Kansas lost star Carolyn Davis to a knee injury last month, but rallied to earn its first regional semifinals berth since 1998 with upsets of Nebraska and third-seeded Delaware.

Tennessee's seniors now have the opportunity to avoid becoming the first four-year class in school history to miss the Final Four. They got it in large part because of the work of Simmons. She helped contribute 41 bench points, compared to 11 for Kansas.

"Since it's a one and done kind of thing, it just brings that energy inside me. Seems like I have that alter ego," Simmons said. "I want to go out there and prove a point that I'm better than what people thought of me. I want our seniors to go to the Final Four."

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Summitt expects better effort from team vs Kansas

The Tennessee Lady Vols have been doing a little daydreaming during practice and Pat Summitt says they better snap out of it.

With how quiet and distracted her Tennessee team have been while practicing for Saturday's regional semifinals meeting with Kansas, coach Pat Summitt is concerned they may not get that opportunity.

"I think we've got to get them refocused," Summitt said. "It's obviously very important to all of us, and we recognize it and our players recognize it, but obviously our coaches have to hold people accountable, and that's what we're going to do.

"At this time of the year, you worry about everything as coaches," she said.

Forward Glory Johnson and her fellow seniors are trying to do their part to hold the rest of their teammates accountable as well. Fifth-year senior Vicki Baugh is the only remaining member of Tennessee's 2008 national championship team, and the other four seniors are looking to avoid becoming the first four-year class to leave the program without a trip to the Final Four.

Johnson said it's easy to dream of vacation when she and her Tennessee teammates are spending their spring break inside the practice gym. Then she thinks about a trip to the Final Four.

"It's spring break and we're still here," Johnson said. "But we're here, we're on a mission. We're playing hard and trying to get a championship. You've just got to put that in your mind; whenever you're like, 'Aw, I wish I was on the beach,' (think about) how many people get to play for a championship?"

The Lady Vols vowed at the beginning of the season to play for the championship this year, both in an effort to change their legacy from one that marks them as underachievers and to honor Summitt, who announced in August she'd been diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer's type.

So far, they're on the right track.

Tennessee (26-8) cruised through the Southeastern Conference tournament and then pulled away in the second half of a 72-49 win over Tennessee-Martin -- Summitt's alma mater -- in Chicago in the opening round of the tournament. Senior forward Shekinna Stricklen, Baugh and Johnson all had big contributions in the Lady Vols' 63-48 win over DePaul on Monday night.

They also know they could be primed for an upset in drawing No. 11 seed Kansas as their Sweet Sixteen opponent. Tennessee had expected to face third-seeded Delaware and the nation's leading scorer, Elena Della Donne, for the chance to reach the Des Moines Regional finals and a likely rematch with top seed Baylor.

"We kind of thought Delaware would win, just from watching both teams," assistant coach Mickie DeMoss said. "But this is March Madness. Anything can happen, even on the women's side now. Used to be, I think, the women were more predictable. But now there's more parity on the women's side."

The Jayhawks (21-12) have been without leading scorer Carolyn Davis since she suffered a season-ending knee injury on Feb. 12, but point guard Angel Goodrich has led the team in the NCAA tournament with an average 11.8 points in the win against Delaware and first-round victory over No. 6 seed Nebraska.

"We're not taking KU for granted," Stricklen said. "They're a great team. If you don't win, you can't get to Baylor, so this game is more important."

Against Kansas, Summitt and her assistants are expecting a better all-around effort defending, rebounding and taking control of the ball than they've seen so far. The effort has been there, but not for a full 40 minutes in any game.

"When you get this deep in the NCAA tournament, it's all about physicality and who's tough not only physically, but who's the most mentally tough team as well," DeMoss said. "We're playing well in spurts. To say we're playing well for 40 minutes would probably be a little optimistic right now. But we're doing good things in spurts.

"As the tournament progresses and the teams get tougher, those spurts are going to have to be a little bit longer."

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tennessee 63 - DePaul 48

Shekinna Stricklen scored 17 points, and Glory Johnson grabbed a season-high 21 rebounds to lead Pat Summitt and Tennessee past DePaul 63-48 Monday in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Vicki Baugh scored 16, and the Lady Volunteers (26-8) took another big step toward the Final Four, grabbing a double-digit lead early in the second half and hanging on in a physical game in which players seemed to hit the floor about as often as they hit shots. Now, they're headed to the round of 16, where they'll meet third-seeded Delaware or 11th-seeded Kansas on Saturday.

They stretched a five-point lead at intermission to 12 early in the second half and were up 42-29 after a hook shot by Baugh with 11:41 remaining. They remained in control from there and moved closer toward their ultimate goal.

That would be a ninth NCAA title and 19th Final Four.

Tracking the ascension of Summitt

Read a great article about Pat by Mechelle Voepel. Click here.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Lady Vols Cruise Past UT-Martin

Meighan Simmons scored a game-high 20 points as the second-seeded Tennessee Lady Volunteers made easy work of the 15th-seeded Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks 72-49 in the first round of the NCAA Women's Tournament at Allstate Arena.

Glory Johnson tallied a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds for Tennessee (25-8). Ten different players scored points for the Lady Vols.

For UT-Martin (23-9), Heather Butler led the way with 14 points and seven rebounds, while Jaclissa Haislip added 12 points and Jasmine Newsome chipped in with 10 points.

Despite shooting just 39.5 percent from the field in the first half, Tennessee took a 35-26 lead at the half.

The Lady Vols connected on 6-of-11 from three-point range after the break as they kept a comfortable lead throughout.

UT-Martin shot poorly on the afternoon, making just 19-of-66 (28.8 percent) of its field.

Tennessee will play the winner of seventh-seeded DePaul and 10th-seeded BYU in the second round.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pat Summitt: No decision on future at UT

Pat Summitt says she has not decided whether to continue coaching women's basketball at the University of Tennessee following a diagnosis of dementia.

Summitt, 59, now at the end of her 38th season, said her only goal at the moment is to have the Lady Volunteers emerge winners from the NCAA tournament, the Knoxville (Tenn.) News Sentinel reported.

"I love the game,'' she said Wednesday. "And whether I'm here at UT, I may or may not coach. So it is what it is. I'm just going to try to get another championship for this group."

Summitt announced the diagnosis last August, saying it was early onset dementia Alzheimer's type. She has a contract that runs through the 2013-2014 season and includes a $1 million bonus if she stays until then.

Holly Warlick, the associate head coach, has been taking more responsibility, including almost all media interviews.

The Lady Vols, the No. 2 regional seed, play their first NCAA tournament game Saturday against No. 15 Tennessee Martin at Allstate Arena outside Chicago. The winner will take on either Brigham Young or DePaul on Monday.

Pat Summitt to receive Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup

Pat Summitt will be honored next month at the eighth annual Wooden Cup Awards.

Summitt, completing her 38th year as women's basketball coach at Tennessee, is the professional recipient of the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup.

Five athletes are finalists for the collegiate recipient of the award presented April 25 at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta.

The honor is for character and leadership on and off the field and contributions to sport and society.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lady Vols' Johnson, Stricklen named first-team all-SEC

Kentucky has pulled off another sweep of the awards, this time for The Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference women's basketball team.

A'dia Mathies was named player of the year Tuesday, Matthew Mitchell claimed the coaching award, and Bria Goss picked up newcomer of the year. On Monday, the Wildcats took all three awards for the men's team.

Mathies, a junior guard, is a unanimous choice for the first team. So was Tennessee senior forward Glory Johnson. The rest of the first team includes Vanderbilt guard Christina Foggie, Tennessee wing player Shekinna Stricklen and LSU forward LaSondra Barrett.

The second team includes Georgia swing player Anne Marie Armstrong and her teammate, forward Jasmine Hassell. The other choices are Florida forward Jennifer George, Arkansas guard C'eira Ricketts and Ole Miss guard Valencia McFarland.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Summitt to face alma mater

KNOXVILLE — Tennessee pledged to return to the Final Four this season. First the Lady Volunteers must get past coach Pat Summitt’s alma mater and a possible rematch with Baylor.

The Lady Vols drew a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament on Monday night and will face 15th-seeded Tennessee-Martin, where Summitt played from 1970-74. The teams will meet in Chicago on Saturday and are part of the Des Moines regional along with undefeated No. 1 seed Baylor.

“How about UT Martin?” Summitt said after she and the team watched the selection show at her home. “I never would have thought about that, but it’s real neat.

“I like my alma mater, but I like winning and moving on better.”

Tennessee has played in every NCAA tournament and has only failed to reach the round of 16 once. The current crop of Lady Vols pledged to return to the Final Four this season after a three-year absence and to win a ninth national championship for Summitt, who announced in August that she had been diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type.

Summitt hasn’t indicated if this will be her final season coaching, instead pledging to keep coaching as long as she is able. To help with that, the Hall of Fame coach has turned over more of the day-to-day responsibilities with the team to her longtime assistants.

The five Tennessee seniors were part of the team who suffered the program’s only first-round loss in 2009 and have never been to the Final Four. No Lady Vols class has ever graduated without reaching the NCAA national semifinals at least once.

“Every game is going to be challenging,” senior forward Glory Johnson said. “Every game is going to be tough for us. We’re going to have to bring our ‘A’ game every game, and we know that. As seniors we’ve been there. We’ve been knocked out early. We’ve made it farther. We’ve just got to try to get to that Final Four. If we don’t get to that Final Four it will be disappointing for us seniors.”

The path won’t be an easy one.

The winner of the first-round game will go on to face either No. 10 seed BYU or No. 7 DePaul, which the Lady Vols beat 84-61 in the Maggie Dixon Classic in New York. Third-seeded Delaware and sixth-seeded Nebraska are other teams that could prove to be stumbling blocks before a possible meeting with Baylor in the round of eight.

Tennessee (24-8) hosted Baylor on Nov. 27 and led the Lady Bears at halftime and through much of the second half only to run out of steam late and lose 76-67.

“We just hope at some point we get the opportunity to play Baylor,” associate head coach Holly Warlick said. “I’m not sure we’d be happy with any region. Everything is a challenge for us.”

The Lady Vols have had an up-and-down season ever since.

They beat fellow two seed Kentucky soundly in Knoxville and blew through the Southeastern Conference tournament, beating LSU in the championship game. They also suffered blowout losses at Stanford and Notre Dame and lost a program-high three games at home this season.

Tennessee-Martin (23-8) is making its second consecutive and second overall appearance in the NCAA tournament after winning the Ohio Valley Conference regular season and tournament. The Skyhawks were the No. 15 seed last season, losing to No. 2 Duke.

Tennessee holds a 13-2 all-time record against the Skyhawks, with the only two losses coming in 1971 and 1972, during Summitt’s playing career.

“We know it’s do-or-die. We’ve got to take it one game at a time. Right now our focus is UT Martin. We’re very hungry,” Tennessee senior forward Shekinna Stricklen. “We haven’t been to a Final Four, and that’s our main goal. We’re going to give it everything we’ve got and that’s starting with our first game against UT-Martin.”

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Summitt honored with leadership award

Tennessee coach Pat Summitt has picked up another award, this from the Alliance of Women Philanthropists.

Summitt received the award Saturday at the group's annual Women and Philanthropy Symposium in Knoxville, and she becomes only the second person to be given the Brenda G. Lawson Legacy of Leadership Award. Lawson is a board member of the Alliance Executive Board and received the award first.

The coach says it's an honor to receive an award named for a successful and compassionate business leader.

The award was created to recognize women who go above and beyond the call of duty helping others at the University of Tennessee.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Lady Vols beat LSU 70-58 to win SEC title

Glory Johnson had 20 points and 11 rebounds, and Shekinna Stricklen added 16 points as No. 13 Tennessee beat LSU 70-58 on Sunday to win a third-straight Southeastern Conference tournament title.

The Lady Volunteers (24-8) had a frustrating SEC season by their lofty standards, but Johnson and Stricklen and their fellow seniors pulled together to lead the team to its 16th overall conference tournament title.

Tennessee fans cheered “We back Pat” after the win in honor of coach Pat Summitt, who announced before the season she’d been diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type. Summitt helped her team cut down the basketball net after the game and twirled it above her head to further cheering.

LSU (22-10), which upset regular-season champion Kentucky to reach its ninth championship game, missed a shot to win its third tournament title in coach Nikki Caldwell’s first season. Caldwell won six titles as a Tennessee player and assistant coach, but no former Lady Vols player has ever beaten Summitt.

The Lady Tigers outshot Tennessee 43.8 percent to 42.3 percent, but the Lady Vols held a 39-23 rebounding advantage and went 21 for 24 at the free-throw line.

The score was tied at 41 with 15:32 to play, when Tennessee used a 13-2 run to take the lead, with Stricklen scoring nine points during the stretch.

Adrienne Webb, who led LSU with 16 points, responded with a 3-pointer that launched a 7-2 run to cut the Lady Vols’ lead to 56-51 with 5:13 to play. A 5-0 run by the Lady Tigers got the margin down to four points with 2:04 to play, but it was as close as they would get.

Stricklen sank a jumper and then found herself open at the perimeter on the next possession. She squared up, and hit nothing but net on the 3-pointer that iced the Lady Tigers with 58 seconds left.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Lady Vols Back In Title Game, Win 74-58

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee Lady Volunteers have wanted to win in the postseason to honor their coach. Getting revenge on a few teams is just a bonus.

Tennessee (No. 10 ESPN/USA Today, No. 13 AP) beat South Carolina (No. 25 AP) 74-58 on Saturday to advance to its 21st Southeastern Conference championship game.

"We were definitely motivated," Lady Vols senior center Vicki Baugh said. "We were fortunate to play the teams that we wanted to play. We wanted revenge. I think that was our motivation stepping into this tournament. We just wanted to prove that we were the better team."

The second-seeded Lady Volunteers (23-8) will face fourth-seeded LSU, which upset Kentucky (No. 9 ESPN/USA Today, No. 10 AP) in the other SEC semifinal. The title game will pit Tennessee coach Pat Summitt against her former player, Lady Tigers coach Nikki Caldwell.

South Carolina (23-9) had gotten a rare win in Knoxville earlier in the regular season, but Tennessee's determined seniors didn't let it happen again. The seniors also were key in the quarterfinals win against Vanderbilt, another team that logged a win against Tennessee this season.

"We weren't ready to guard or defend (the Gamecocks') athleticism in Knoxville," Tennessee associate head coach Holly Warlick said. "We've gone back and we really put in the time with our defensive effort. I think you're seeing it pay off."

Glory Johnson led Tennessee with 23 points and 10 rebounds, Shekinna Stricklen scored all 16 of her points in the second half and Baugh grabbed 10 rebounds.

The Lady Vols didn't defend particularly well in the regular-season loss to the Gamecocks and fell apart late in the game after holding a seven-point lead with 5 minutes to go. This time, Tennessee put on extra heat during the second half to pull away.

South Carolina had trimmed Tennessee's lead to 32-29 on a pair of free throws by Markeshia Grant 2 minutes into the second half. Stricklen answered with a 3-pointer that sparked an 8-1 run to make it 40-30 with 15:44 to play.

The Lady Vols shot 50.9 percent (27 of 53) for the game and limited the Gamecocks to 34.9 percent shooting (22 of 63). They held a 38-30 rebounding advantage and hit 15 of 20 from the free-throw line.

"I think finally we figured out that defense and rebounding is the philosophy here," Baugh said. "That's Tennessee basketball. It opens up a lot in the transition game, especially where we're most comfortable."

Grant, who had scored 27 points in the regular-season game, had 13 this time for South Carolina, and Ieasia Walker added another 13 points.

"I think a month ago, I mean, we just had a type of mojo about us going into Knoxville," Grant said. "I think we were just hitting shots, winning the hustle plays, outplaying them. Today I think we did the same, but I think we came up short. We did work hard. I think we did play hard. It was just not our night."

Sixth-seeded South Carolina was playing in its first SEC semifinal after beating Alabama in the opening round and upsetting Georgia (No. 15 ESPN/USA Today, No. 16 AP) in the quarterfinals. The Gamecocks are expected to get an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.

"(The Lady Vols) are so used to being in this situation year in and year out. I think we got out-experienced today along with I think we got out-talented," South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said.

Tennessee will be playing for its third straight SEC championship and 16th overall. The Lady Vols have said they wanted to win championships this season to honor Summitt, who announced in August that she had been diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer's type.

Summitt has said she would continue coaching as long as she could, though she has turned over more responsibilities to her assistants this season.

"I hope they get coach Summitt another SEC championship," Staley said.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Seniors Key UT's 68-57 Win Over Vandy

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - No. 2-seeded Tennessee outlasted a feisty No. 7 seed Vanderbilt team to advance to the SEC Tournament Semifinals with a 68-57 victory at Bridgestone Arena on a stormy Friday evening. In a game that saw an extended halftime due to tornadoes in the Nashville area, the Lady Vols rode the senior combination of Glory Johnson and Shekinna Stricklen to the hard-fought victory. Stricklen (18 points -- all in the second half and seven rebounds) and Johnson (15 points and nine rebounds) combined for 33 points and 16 rebounds. 29 of those points and 10 of the boards came in the decisive second half.

The Lady Vols will take on #6 South Carolina in the SEC Semifinals. The Gamecocks were an upset winner over #3 seed Georgia on Friday night, 59-55. Tennessee's SEC Semifinal game will start at 6 p.m. ET/5 p.m. CT.

The pair combined to score the final 23 points for the Lady Vols, who moved to 22-8. No other Lady Vol scored for the final 11:04 of the contest.

Tennessee has won 19 consecutive second-round games in the SEC Tournament.

Vanderbilt (21-9) was led by Christina Foggie, who had 16 points and Stephane Holzer, who had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out.

Stricklen bombed an NBA-distance 3-pointer with 3:06 left in regulation, with the shot clock expiring, to give the Lady Vols a 64-55 lead.

The senior duo of Stricklen and Johnson keyed a decisive 14-7 spurt as the seniors scored all 14 points in the run to give Tennessee a 59-51 lead with 6:30 left in the second half.

Up one, Stricklen knocked down a 3-pointer with 9:30 left in the second half to give the Vols a 48-44 advantage. Vandy kept battling back but Stricklen answered again with a 3-point play with 8:49 left for a 51-46 lead.

Vanderbilt continued its rally in the second half, coming back to within one point at 41-40, 43-42 and 45-44.

The game featured an extended halftime of about 45 minutes due to a weather delayed caused by tornado warnings in the Nashville area.

Tennessee led 35-27 at halftime thanks to tremendous shooting from the floor coupled with strong defense. The Lady Vols made 53.8 percent from the floor while limiting Vanderbilt to 26.9 percent (7-of-26). Simmons led all scorers with 11 points.

After being down by as many as 19, Vanderbilt cut its deficit to nine with a 10-0 run over 1:30 in the final three minutes of the first half. That spurt was keyed by perfect free-throw shooting as Vanderbilt was 7-of-7 from the line during the 90-second stretch.

Tennessee used a 13-2 run late in the first to build a 32-13 lead with 3:30 left in the half. Meighan Simmons scored eight points in a row in the run as he energized the Lady Vols.

Vanderbilt went without a field goal for nearly 10 minutes, missing 11 field goals in a row after making their first two shots of the game. The drought ended on a Holzer jumper with 9:24 left in the half, cutting the Commodores deficit to seven at 17-10.

Tennessee opened the game sharp from the floor and received some outside shooting from Vicki Baugh, Briana Bass and Cierra Burdick as the Lady Vols held a 17-8 lead with 10:44 left in the first half. Burdick nailed back-to-back jumpers for UT.