Alabama (16-10, 7-7 SEC) had lost to the Lady Vols in each of its previous trips to Knoxville. Alabama has now beaten Tennessee four straight times overall after losing 42 consecutive games in this series from 1984-2016.
Tennessee (21-5, 9-4) leads the overall series 49-6.
Alabama scored the first 14 points of the fourth quarter to pull ahead for good. The Lady Vols led 49-44 at the end of the third quarter, but Alabama outscored Tennessee 28-14 in the fourth.
Ashley Williams scored 16 points, Shaquera Wade had 12 and Hannah Cook added 10 for Alabama.
Jaime Nared scored 22 for Tennessee. Rennia Davis had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Lady Vols, while Mercedes Russell had 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Russell became just the sixth Lady Vol ever to collect at least 1,500 career points and 1,000 rebounds. The others are Chamique Holdsclaw, Tamiaka Catchings, Sheila Frost, Glory Johnson and Bashaara Graves.
Tennessee was behind 29-24 at halftime — just the second time it has trailed at the half all season — and was down 33-26 early in the third quarter before scoring 15 straight points to take command.
That 15-0 spurt gave Tennessee a 41-33 edge, but Alabama wouldn’t go away.
Alabama chipped away and eventually tied the game at 51-all when Cook found Quanetria Bolton for a layup with 8:57 left in the game. The Tide pulled ahead for good 51-49 on Wade’s fast-break layup with 6:59 left.
Tennessee didn’t score a single fourth-quarter point until Davis made a free throw with 3:38 left.
Alabama eventually led by as much as 10. Tennessee cut the margin to five on a Nared 3-point play with 2:48 left, but Alabama responded with a 12-4 run that put the game out of reach.
Alabama: Give the Tide credit for never wilting in this one. Alabama shot just 4 of 20 in the first quarter but recovered to lead by halftime. The Tide watched a seven-point lead turn into an eight-point deficit in a matter of minutes in the third quarter, but the Tide found a way to respond. It was an impressive performance for a road underdog. Alabama also did a nice job of containing Russell, who shot just 4 of 12
Tennessee: A brutal fourth-quarter performance proved fatal for the Lady Vols. Tennessee shot 4 of 18 in the final period and didn’t score at all in the first six minutes of the quarter.
Alabama hosts Auburn on Sunday.
Tennessee is at No. 13 Missouri on Sunday