Stricklen leads No. 5 Tennessee past Auburn 73-53
AUBURN, Ala. – Shekinna Stricklen scored 18 points and Glory Johnson had 16 points and 13 rebounds to lead No. 5 Tennessee to a 73-53 victory Auburn on Sunday for the Lady Vols' 10th straight win.
The Lady Vols (19-2, 7-0 Southeastern Conference) used a late 19-4 spurt to pull away, even with leading scorer Meighan Simmons held to five points.
Stricklen helped overcome the freshman's subpar outing with her second straight big game. She made 8 of 14 shots after getting 18 points and 16 rebounds Thursday night at South Carolina.
Johnson and Kelley Cain powered a dominant performance around the basket against the smaller Tigers (12-8, 5-2). Cain had nine points, 12 rebounds, three blocks and three steals.
Vicki Baugh added nine points in just seven minutes to help Tennessee's bench outscore Auburn's reserves 26-6.
Alli Smalley and Morgan Toles led Auburn with 13 points. Jordan Greenleaf added 10 points and nine rebounds.
Tennessee shot 43 percent (28-for-65) while holding Auburn to 34 percent (23-for-67), mostly forcing the Tigers to rely on jump shots.
The Lady Vols outrebounded Auburn 49-34 and scored 18 fastbreak points, repeatedly dumping the ball inside or scoring on drives.
Simmons, who came in averaging 16.2 points, made just 1 of 8 shots and didn't score until hitting two free throws with 4:39 left in the game. She did have a nice behind-the-back assist in the first half.
The Tigers cut a 19-point deficit to 52-42 at the midpoint with a reverse layup by Toles, but Tennessee scored the next 10 points and limited Auburn to one field goal over the next 6 minutes. Johnson's layup pushed the lead to 25 points.
Smalley hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer that finally gave the Auburn fans something to cheer about. But it was the only 3 the Tigers made in 10 attempts other than Blanche Alverson's 3-for-9 performance.
The Lady Vols had closed the first half on a 12-2 run to take a 34-19 lead even though both Angie Bjorklund and Simmons failed to score. Bjorklund finished with seven points, 4.5 below her season average.
Taber Spani had a steal and fast-break dish to Johnson for a layup for the final points with 1:18 left.
The Tigers missed 10 of their last 11 shots going into the half, and never got the margin back into single digits.