Vanderbilt’s bid for a second straight — and third in four years — Southeastern Conference tournament title ended Saturday with a 68-49 loss to to-seeded Tennessee in the semifinal round at Duluth, Ga.
The Commodores (22-10), the only lower seed to win in the quarterfinals, scored the first four points and led 10-4 fewer than four minutes into the contest.
The fourth-ranked Lady Vols (29-2) roared in front with a 13-2 run over the next 6:38 and led the rest of the way.
Shekinna Stricklen gave UT the lead on a layup with 12:08 to play in the first half and extended that margin with a 3-pointer 68 seconds later.
Alyssa Brewer scored the final four points of an 11-0 second half run, which stretched the advtantage to 20 points, 56-36, with fewer than five minutes to play.
Brewer led all scorers with 15 points. Angie Bjorklund added 12, and Stricklen was one of three Lady Vols who finished with nine.
Hannah Tuomi had 12 points, six rebounds and three steals — all team-highs — for Vanderbilt. Merideth Marsh added 11 – her ninth straight game in double figures. Marsh was 3-for-11 on 3-pointers and the rest of the team was a combined 0-for-7.
Tennessee, which had a 42-27 edge in rebounds, advanced to the tournament’s championship game for the 19th time.