published Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Lady Vols 10-0 after 94-43 romp over Tennessee State

Tennessee guard Meighan Simmons (10) drives against Tennessee State guard Diamond Beatty (2) Tuesday in Knoxville.
Tennessee guard Meighan Simmons (10) drives against Tennessee State guard Diamond Beatty (2) Tuesday in Knoxville.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

KNOXVILLE — Bashaara Graves scored 17 points to lead five Lady Vols in double figures as No. 3 Tennessee trounced Tennessee State 94-43 Tuesday night to continue its fastest start since its 2007-08 national championship season.

The Lady Vols (10-0) have won each of their games by at least nine points. Tennessee also started 10-0 in 2007-08.

Tennessee will put its perfect record to the test Saturday at No. 6 Stanford. The Lady Vols' only previous game against a Top 25 opponent was an 81-65 victory Nov. 11 at No. 14 North Carolina, which was ranked 12th at the time.

Graves made all six of her shots from the floor and five of six free throws. Meighan Simmons added 13 points. Cierra Burdick, Isabelle Harrison and Mercedes Russell had 12 points apiece.

Rachel Allen scored 12 points for Tennessee State (3-8).

Tennessee sprinted to a 14-1 lead in the first four minutes. The Lady Tigers missed 23 of their first 26 shots and trailed 42-9 with under seven minutes left in the first half.

TSU shot just 1-of-22 from 3-point range and was 14-of-74 overall.

The Lady Tigers didn't have a single starter taller than 6 feet. Six of Tennessee's 10 players are 6-2 or taller. The Lady Vols were coming off a 103-64 victory over Troy in which they had pulled down 74 rebounds, the second-highest total in school history. Tennessee entered the night with a plus-15 rebound margin, while Tennessee State was at minus-6.7.

The Lady Vols seemingly could do whatever they wanted Tuesday. At one point, Tennessee guard Simmons tossed an inbounds pass off the backside of a Tennessee State player and retrieved the ball for an easy layup.

All nine of Tennessee's healthy players scored at least six points. A facial injury prevented sophomore forward Jasmine Jones from playing.

In the teams' two previous meetings, the Lady Vols also breezed to easy victories: 114-63 in 1985-86 and 104-51 in 1987-88.

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