The Wildcats (24-7) will make their third SEC championship appearance, meeting No. 4 Tennessee in a rematch of last year's final. The Lady Volunteers won that game 70-62 and took this year's regular-season meeting, 73-67.
Kentucky, which opened the game on a 22-2 run, led by 27 points with 10:34 to go when Elan Brown hit a 3-pointer to open a 24-7 run that cut the margin to 53-38 with 6:06 to go.
Brown hit another 3 with 1:40 left to cut it to 60-52, but Dunlap tipped in a missed layup by Bernisha Pinkett with 1:10 left to put Kentucky back up by 10, and the Commodores (20-11) would get no closer.
Tiffany Clarke led Vanderbilt with 18 points and 17 rebounds.