PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Meighan Simmons and the Tennessee women had been struggling in the second half against Rutgers.
The sixth-ranked Vols lost all of a 13-point lead and found themselves down by three before taking control with a late run to seal their 67-61 victory over the 11th-ranked Scarlet Knights. Simmons hit two clutch 3-pointers during the spurt.
"It was a great win for us, great win against a very good, well-coached team," Tennessee associate coach Holly Warlick said. "I thought when we needed to we made the big play."
Trailing 54-51 with 8:33 left, Tennessee (6-2) scored 13 straight, holding Rutgers scoreless for nearly eight minutes. Vicki Baugh started the burst with a layup and Simmons hit consecutive 3-pointers to give the Vols a 61-54 lead. Taber Spani hit a 3 with 1:52 left to seal it.
"I feel like there's a time and place for everything," said Simmons, who missed eight of her first 10 attempts. "At that time it was a moment where we hadn't scored in four or five minutes, I was open and happened to take the shot, thank God it went in."
The game featured two Hall of Fame coaches in Tennessee's Pat Summitt and Rutgers' C. Vivian Stringer. The long-time friends have combined for nearly 1,950 victories and stand first and third on the women's basketball all-time victory list.
Summitt received a warm standing ovation before the game and shared a long embrace with Stringer. Rutgers players wore warmup shirts that said "We Back Pat" in honor of Summitt's battle with early onset Alzeheimer's. The school also presented Tennessee with a collage of Stringer's favorite photos with Summitt and a commemorative jersey at the half.
"I saw them with the shirts 'We Back Pat' and the crowd got loud when she walked out, people respect Pat and people back her and care about her," said Shekinna Stricklen, who led Tennessee with 22 points.
NO. 12 OHIO ST. 83, SOUTHERN 49: Tayler Hill had 21 points, four assists and five steals in 29 minutes for the host Buckeyes (9-0).
NO. 23 DEPAUL 78, PRINCETON 67: Anna Martin had 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the visiting Blue Demons (9-2).
NEWBERRY 59, SAINT LEO 46: The visiting Wolves opened with an 18-0 run and had 21 points off 18 turnovers by the Lions (6-1).
NO. 14 WISCONSIN 60, MILWAUKEE 54: Jared Berggren had 17 points and Jordan Taylor hit a critical 3-pointer with just more than 40 seconds left to help the visiting Badgers (9-2) fend off a second-half surge.
NO. 17 MISS. ST. 75, FAU 68: Dee Bost had 22 points, Rodney Hood added 19 and the host Bulldogs (10-1) survived a late scare.
NO. 20 MICHIGAN 63, ARK.-PINE BLUFF 50: Freshman Trey Burke scored 13 of his 15 in the first half, and the host Wolverines (8-2) went on an early 19-point run and cruised.
UCF 77, N.C. A&T 65: Marcus Jordan tied a career high with 28 points and his brother, Jeff, added nine points and six assists for the host Knights (7-2).
NEW ORLEANS 66, SAINT LEO 55: The host Privateers blew open a close game with a late 10-0 run to put away the Lions (5-3).
BUCKEYES WAITING: Ohio State coach Thad Matta still isn't sure when star forward Jared Sullinger will play again. Matta said Sullinger is able to run, jump and shoot but still hasn't recovered enough from back spasms that have kept him out of two games for the No. 2 Buckeyes.
NO. 12 KANSAS: Freshman Ben McLemore was arrested after missing a Dec. 6 court appearance to answer a citation for underage possession of alcohol.
SETON HALL: Freshman forward Brandon Mobley, who dislocated his right shoulder and tore his labrum over the summer, was cleared to play.