No. 12 Tennessee women outlast Vanderbilt 83-64

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 17, 2013 at 8:26 pm •  Published: February 17, 2013
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Jasmine Lister matched a career high with 24 points for Vanderbilt (16-9, 6-6), while freshmen Morgan Batey and Heather Bowe each added 10 points.

Vanderbilt has never beaten Tennessee at Knoxville in 28 attempts.

For most of the first half, Tennessee would build a lead, only to watch Vanderbilt close the gap.

Tennessee made six of its first eight shots to grab an early 14-5 advantage, but Vanderbilt tied the game by going on an 11-2 run. After Tennessee went on a 9-2 spurt to take a 25-18 lead, Vanderbilt cut the margin to two. Tennessee got the lead up to nine again at 33-24, but Vanderbilt got back within four.

Lister and Clarke kept Vanderbilt close, teaming up to score 18 points and shoot 7 of 14 in the first half while their teammates shot a combined 5 of 17 for 11 points. Lister stayed productive in the second half while Clarke's illness forced her to sit.

"As long as I went slow and read the defense, I could've gotten whatever I wanted," Lister said. "If they didn't close out soon enough, I could shoot. If they closed out, I could go to the basket, pump fake and get to the free-throw line, which pretty much just took reading the defense."

Tennessee pulled away by going on a 16-4 spurt midway through the game. The Lady Vols were clinging to a 33-29 lead before scoring the last six points of the first half. They opened the second half with a 10-4 run and led by double digits the rest of the way.

The Lady Vols led by as many as 20 points in the second half. Vanderbilt scored 10 straight points to cut the lead to 10 with 8:40 remaining, but the Commodores couldn't get the margin into single digits. With five freshmen playing more than 10 minutes each — and three of them getting over 25 minutes — the Commodores eventually ran out of gas.

"I think the effort's there," Balcomb said. "If you see them get tired, it's because they haven't played so many minutes, but they're really starting to figure it out."

Before the game, the Champions For A Cause foundation founded by Warlick and LSU coach Nikki Caldwell to fight breast cancer presented separate $15,000 checks to three organizations: The Kay Yow Cancer Fund, the UT Breast Health Outreach Program and the Brady James Foundation.

Breast cancer survivor and "Good Morning America" host Robin Roberts attended the game and sat next to former Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt. Roberts left "Good Morning America" last year to undergo a bone marrow transplant to treat a rare blood disorder, but she is scheduled to return to the show Wednesday.