Freshman Jasmine Phillips was not in uniform and not on the bench for the Lady Vols game. Coach Holly Warlick said Phillips was not dressed because of a "violation of team rules."
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Senior Kamiko Williams came up huge on both ends of the court to lead the #16/14 Lady Vols to an 88-81 overtime win over in-state foe Middle Tennessee State for UT's fifth win in a row before 10,768 at Thompson-Boling Arena on Wednesday night.
Even through she didn't post the biggest numbers on the stat sheet, Williams' clutch shooting and defense spurred the Lady Vols in the second half and overtime. She finished with nine points, five rebounds and three assists to go along with numerous intangible plays.
Junior Meighan Simmons topped the scoring charts for Tennessee (5-1), as she netted 19 points. Freshman Bashaara Graves, who has scored in double-figures in all six of her college games, had 15 points. She also corralled 12 rebounds for her second double-double in her rookie season.
Sophomore Ariel Massengale, who started for the second time this season, tallied a season-best 15 points. Sophomore Isabelle Harrison scored 10 points and swatted a career-high six blocks.
MTSU (4-2) had four players score in double-figures led by Icelyn Elie, who had 21. She was joined by Ebony Rowe (19), Laken Leonard (17) and Shanice Cason (13), to top the Blue Raiders.
Tennessee used a 10-0 overtime run keyed by Williams' all-around play to secure the win.
Sophomore Cierra Burdick put UT ahead for good, 79-77, with a pair of free throws with 2:04 left in OT. Then Williams' stole the ensuing possession from MTSU and set up Simmons for a layup with 1:52 left to move the lead to 81-77. Williams finished the next sequence with a layup to make it 83-77 with 40 seconds left. Then Williams drew a charge seconds later. Harrison's bank shot was the final dagger finishing the run of 10 points in a row.
After being down for the game's first 35-plus minutes, Tennessee finally grabbed a lead for the first time late in the second half. Williams' steal and bankshot put the Lady Vols ahead at 64-63 -- their first lead of the game with 4:24 left in regulation. Massengale hit a jumper to put UT ahead by three and the Lady Vols never trailed after that.
Tennessee was on the cusp of taking a lead several times, getting to within one possession four times in the second half before finally breaking through as Williams used her defense to create offense and UT's first advantage.
The Lady Vols pressured MTSU and used a 10-2 run to comeback from a 63-60 deficit to lead 70-65 on a Simmons jumper.
MTSU cut the margin to two at 70-68 on Leonard's fifth 3-pointer of the game with 1:26 left in the second half.
Williams nailed a 3-pointer with 55 seconds left to put the Lady Vols up five at 73-68. But MTSU scored the final five points of regulation to send the game to overtime as Elie canned a 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds left, tying the game at 73.
Tennessee couldn't get over the hump for the first three-quarters of the game.
The Lady Vols used a 10-0 run to get within one at 55-54 on free throws by Burdick with 10:03 left. But MTSU answered again as Elie made a jumper to regain a three-point lead.
Tennessee cut the deficit to two at 42-40 on a 3-pointer by Massengale, but MTSU answered with a 13-4 spurt to take a 55-44 lead with 14 minutes left in the game.
MTSU scored the game's opening basket and led for the entire first half, taking a 39-35 lead into the locker room. Cason topped all scorers with 10 points while Simmons led UT's scoresheet with nine.
MTSU jumped out to an 18-9 lead on the Lady Vols early on after back-to-back 3-pointers by Leonard. The lead increased to double-figures on Leonard's third trey of the half midway through the first stanza, making it 26-16. The Blue Raiders also started strong on the boards, grabbing 17 of the game's first 24 off the glass.
A drawn charge by Jasmine Jones with six minutes in the first half energized the Lady Vols as they went on a 9-0 run to cut their deficit to 31-29 on a 3-pointer by Massengale a minute later with 5:01 left in the half.
Tennessee has never lost to MTSU, leading the all-time series, 20-0.
The Lady Vols finish their three-game home swing on Sunday against No. 22 North Carolina. The game tips at 1 p.m., and will air on SportsSouth, Fox Sports Tennessee with the radio call on the Vol Network.