The No. 5 Lady Vols (27-4) got 20 points and 11 rebounds from senior forward Cierra Burdick to reach their 23rd SEC championship game in the last 35 years. They'll face South Carolina on Sunday for the title.
Jordan Reynolds added 13 points and seven rebounds for Tennessee, which overcame 20 turnovers forced by UK's aggressive full-court pressure. The Cats hung within single digits for most of the second half, but could not string together the key buckets to make a run. They finished 15-for-51 from the floor in the final period.
"We just couldn't get the ball in the basket," UK coach Matthew Mitchell said.
Bria Goss and Linnae Harper led UK with 16 and 15 points, respectively.
Kentucky (23-9) now awaits its NCAA seeding. The No. 12 Wildcats are still expected to earn a bid for home games in the first and second rounds.
It was Tennessee's third win over the Cats this season and the second straight year that UK was ousted from the league tourney by the Lady Vols.