Auburn fell to 13-5 overall and 2-3 in the league while the ninth-ranked Lady Vols improved to 14-3 overall and 5-0 in the SEC.
The Tigers put all five starters in double figures with Blanche Alverson and Hasina Muhammad scoring 15 points apiece. Jet Ouardad scored 11 points and dished out eight assists while Tyrese Tanner and Peyton Davis added 10 points apiece.
Both teams were 25-58 from the field for 43.1 percent shooting. The big difference was from three-point range with the visitors making 8-16 treys led by Simmons, who made 4-6. Auburn hit 3-9 threes.
The Tigers were 13-18 at the foul line and the Lady Vols made 17-24 free throws while taking a 37-33 rebounding edge. Auburn turned the ball over 20 times, one more than Tennessee.
"I thought our young ladies came out and played extremely hard," Williams-Flournoy said. "The thing about Tennessee is they score in bunches. If you make a turnover nine out of 10 times they are going to score off your mistakes."
The Auburn coach said that in future games she needs to do a better job of managing the minutes. Four of the five starters played at least 35 minutes and Tyrese Tanner played 38.
Sophomore Courney Strain was not available for playing time due to an injury. Williams-Flournoy said she didn't know when the guard would be available again. The only subs the Tigers used were freshmen Cabriana Capers and Tra'cee Tanner along with Julie King, who joined the team this season after playing soccer the past four years.
Asked about her team losing its second half lead, Alverson said, "It was definitely frustrating. I felt at one point we couldn't do anything right and we were trying so hard to turn it back around.
"The coaches in one of the timeouts said we have to play to win, not play to not lose," Alverson added. "That is what thing we tried to adjust at the end. We tried to attack them back. They had picked up their defensive intensity and we had to try and match that. They went on a run at the end of the second half and we couldn't fight back."
Tennessee coach Holly Warlick said that Auburn's energy gave her team trouble and said the Tigers' aggressive style of play gives a lot of opponents trouble. "We got ourselves in a hole," she said. "Somehow we pulled it out when Meighan Simmons hit a couple of threes and we made some defensive plays."
The Tigers return to action with a 1 p.m. CST road game vs. Kentucky.
Simmons, Meighan 10-14 5-5 29; Spani, Taber 4-9 3-3 12; Massengale, Ariel 3-5 3-6 11; Williams, Kamiko 4-11 0-0 9; Graves, Bashaara 1-7 5-8 7; Harrison, Isabelle 2-8 0-0 4; Jones, Jasmine 1-4 1-2 3. Totals 25-58 17-24 75.
Hasina Muhammad 7-17 1-3 15; Blanche Alverson 4-9 5-6 15; Najat Ouardad 4-10 2-3 11; Tyrese Tanner 5-14 0-0 10; Peyton Davis 3-4 4-4 10; Tra'cee Tanner 2-3 1-2 5; Cabriana Capers 0-0 0-0 0; Julie King 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 25-58 13-18 66.
Tennessee 27 48 75
Auburn 32 34 66
3-point goals--Tennessee 8-16 (Simmons, Meighan 4-6; Massengale, Ariel 2-2; Williams, Kamiko 1-3; Spani, Taber 1-5), Auburn 3-9 (Blanche Alverson 2-5; Najat Ouardad 1-4).
Fouled out--Tennessee-None, Auburn-Najat Ouardad.
Rebounds--Tennessee 37 (Graves, Bashaara 11; Harrison, Isabelle 11), Auburn 33 (Hasina Muhammad 7).
Assists--Tennessee 14 (Massengale, Ariel 5), Auburn 14 (Najat Ouardad 8).
Total fouls--Tennessee 13, Auburn 21.
Technical fouls--Tennessee-None, Auburn-TEAM.