By Jamie Combs
KNOXVILLE — Meighan Simmons scored 22 points to help No. 8 Tennessee rout No. 16 Vanderbilt 81-53 on Monday night and win its sixth consecutive game, continuing the Commodores’ history of road futility in this series.
Vanderbilt (17-6, 6-4 SEC) has never beaten the Lady Vols (20-4, 9-2) at Knoxville in 29 attempts.
Tennessee had lost 74-63 at Vanderbilt on Jan. 12, but the Lady Vols never trailed in the rematch. The Lady Vols shot 58.2 percent (32 of 55) and held Vanderbilt without a basket for the first 9 minutes, 25 seconds of the second half.
Isabelle Harrison scored 18 points and shot 8 of 10 for Tennessee, which clinched its 38th consecutive 20-win season. Andraya Carter added 11 points and seven assists.
Christina Foggie scored 22 points and Marqu’es Webb added 12 points for Vanderbilt, which was held to its lowest point total of the season.
The Lady Vols have gone on this winning streak without the services of starting point guard Ariel Massengale, who missed her fifth straight game Monday after inadvertently getting hit in the face while making a steal Jan. 23 in an 89-69 victory over Florida.
Harrison, the daughter of former Vanderbilt defensive lineman and assistant football coach Dennis Harrison, had played just 10 minutes before fouling out of Tennessee’s Jan. 12 loss at Vanderbilt. The 6-foot-3 center made amends in the rematch.
Harrison, a Nashville native, made her first seven shots and scored 14 points in the first half to help Tennessee grab a 42-31 lead at the intermission. Tennessee made its first six shots overall and went 19 of 29 in the first half.
Vanderbilt had nine turnovers in the first half, including a pair of Carter steals that led to baskets during an 8-0 run that broke a 12-12 tie and put Tennessee ahead for good.
Foggie kept Vanderbilt in the game by shooting 5 of 6 from 3-point range in the first half, but she wasn’t getting much help. Jasmine Lister ended up with eight points after scoring 22 against Tennessee last month.
Once Foggie cooled off in the second half, the game got out of hand.
Tennessee opened the second half on an 18-2 run by turning up its defensive intensity. Vanderbilt missed its first 12 shots of the second half and trailed 60-33 by the time Lister finally sank a 3-pointer to end the drought with 10:35 remaining.