KNOXVILLE — No. 8 Tennessee secured the outright regular-season SEC championship with an 82-72 victory over No. 13/15 Texas A&M on Thursday night. The Lady Vols claimed their 17th SEC regular-season crown.
Senior Kamiko Williams scored a career-high 18 points and classmate Taber Spani scored eight as the duo won their third SEC regular-season crown.
The Lady Vols (23-5 overall, 14-1 SEC) have won 18 of their last 19 games against conference foes dating to last season. That includes a perfect 8-0 mark at home in the SEC contests this year.
First-year head coach Holly Warlick became the second coach in SEC history to win the regular-season title in her first year as a head coach in the league, joining Pokey Chatman, who won it at LSU in 2005.
"It was a feeling of a little bit of disbelief, but I guess I didn't know how to act because I've never done that before,” Warlick said of cutting down the nets. “I was obviously extremely excited for this program and our players and it's just a great opportunity to make sure that we carry on the tradition that Coach Summitt has done and so it's just a little surreal for me right now."
Tennessee will be the No. 1 seed in the SEC Tournament which starts on March 6 in Duluth, Ga. The Lady Vols will play the winner of the 8/9 game in the first game of the Third Round on Friday, March 8 at 12 Noon.
Texas A&M, which had won 21 of their last 25 games, fell to 21-8 overall and 11-4 in the SEC.
Meighan Simmons netted 17 for her 17th game in a row in double-figures. Cierra Burdick had her fourth double of the season and second in three games with 15 points and a career-high 14 rebounds.
"She was awesome today,” Warlick said of Burdick. “I thought she came up with key offensive rebounds and then down the stretch, she hit those two jumpers at the free throw line. If you didn't look at the stats sheet, for Cierra, you'd think she's having a good game and then you look at it and she has 14 rebounds, 9 offensive, she's scored and has a great percentage and she's just a steady, go-to, reliable player. I asked her tonight about Kamiko (Williams) starting with her being a senior and she was just totally on board and I thought she was key tonight as well."
Freshman Bashaara Graves tallied 14 points for her 25th game this season with 10 or more points.
Playing her first home game in a month, Isabelle Harrison returned with 10 points -- all in the second half for UT's fifth player in double-figures. After missing close to a month with an injury, Harrison was hurt late in the action and missed the final 1:52.
The Lady Vols close the regular-season on Sunday at No. 10 Kentucky in Lexington at 3:30 p.m. That game will air on ESPNU and can be heard on the Lady Vol Network.