STRONG SECOND-HALF DEFENSE CARRIES MSU PAST DEVILETTES
|women's BASkEtBALL RESULTS
|Mississippi State 64, Mississippi Valley St. 47
|Kentucky 81, Nebraska-Omaha 48
|Auburn 55, George Washington 47
|South Carolina 59, Col. of Charleston 40
STARKVILLE, Miss. – The Mississippi State women’s basketball team found reasons to be thankful Wednesday afternoon.
Behind freshman Martha Alwal’s third double-double of the season and a season-high 18 points from senior Porsha Porter, the Lady Bulldogs ushered in Thanksgiving weekend on campus by putting away a pesky Mississippi Valley State squad 64-47 at the Humphrey Coliseum.
With the victory, MSU improved to 4-1, including a perfect 4-0 at home this season. MVSU dropped to 1-3. The Lady Bulldogs have won 13-straight in the series and have now won 14 of 16 all-time career meetings with the Delta Devilettes.
Alwal had 17 points and 12 rebounds, and she finished two blocks shy of a triple-double. Diamber Johnson joined Alwal and Porter in double figures with 10 points, her 13th-straight game scoring double figures.
“From a points standpoint, I was just in the right place at the right time,” Alwal said. “We had some missed shots and I was fortunate enough to be in a position to get some rebounds and put some shots back in.
“Overall, it was not one of my better efforts. I feel like I could have played with more heart, instead of some times going through the motions.”
Both teams appeared sluggish throughout play. Still, MSU scored the game’s first four points, built an early 14-3 lead and never trailed in the contest.
MVSU hung tough, thanks to brilliant outside shooting. The Delta Devilettes hit seven 3-point baskets in the first half, including four from De’Kisha Fondon. The long-range shooting allowed the guests to close out the half with only a 33-31 deficit.
“We need to do a better job of taking care of the basketball,” MSU head coach Sharon Fanning-Otis said. “For the first time this year, our shot selection was not at its best. We did a good job of sharing the basketball but it did not end in the type of shots we need to take consistently on the offensive end.”
While the Lady Bulldogs strived for better offensive production, the defense took over the contest. After closing within 51-47, MVSU did not score over the final six minutes, seven seconds. State held the Devilettes to 11.4-percent shooting over the game’s final 20 minutes.
“In the second half, I was trying to bring more energy to the team,” Porter said. “Sometimes, we were struggling to play with intensity. We should not have allowed them to score 47 points. My job was to keep everybody focused and to get everybody playing harder.
“My teammates and coaches told me I was able to get that done.”
MSU built an early 7-3 lead on a 3-point play by Alwal. Back-to-back baskets by Catina Bett extended the advantage to 14-3. MVSU then closed within 19-15 with four straight free throws by Brittany Lakes.
MVSU would later cut the deficit to 24-23 before the Maroon and White scored six-straight points. A layup by Porter ran the MSU advantage to 30-23 before MVSU ended the half with an 8-3 run to create the 33-31 halftime spread.
“Our defensive effort was not good in the first half,” Fanning-Otis said. “We were losing players and not forcing them to take difficult shots. Our focus and intensity was much better in the second half.”
MSU opened the second half with a 9-3 run for a 42-34 lead. The lead would later grow to 10 at 51-41 on two free throws by Ashley Brown with 9:36 left in regulation.
Still, MVSU hung tough. The Delta Devilettes scored the game’s next six points to close within 51-47 with 6:07 left. From there, the Lady Bulldogs’ defensive pressure intensified and MVSU missed its final 11 shots of the game.
For the contest, the Lady Bulldogs hit 24 of 70 shots from the field (34.3 percent), 5 of 19 shots from 3-point range (26.3 percent) and 11 of 17 shots from the foul line (64.7 percent). The Delta Devilettes hit 13 of 64 shots from the field (20.3 percent), 8 of 28 shots from 3-point range (28.6 percent) and 13 of 16 shots from the foul line (81.3 percent).
MSU held a 54-46 rebounding advantage. The Lady Bulldogs had 14 assists and 18 turnovers, while the Delta Devilettes had nine assists and 21 turnovers.
MVSU was led by Fondon with 14 points (two in the second half) and Olivia Kennedy with 10 points.
For MSU, Brown added 10 rebounds, while Alwal had eight blocked shots. For the season, the true freshman now has a Southeastern Conference-best 25 blocks.
Mathies' strong game lifts No. 14 Kentucky
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- A'dia Mathies flirted with a triple-double finishing with 11 points, seven rebounds and eight steals in No. 14 Kentucky's 81-48 win over Nebraska Omaha on Wednesday.
The Wildcats (5-0) struggled early to separate themselves from Nebraska Omaha, consistently holding a one-possession lead well into the first half. With a 15-12 advantage, the Cats' full-court press came alive and forced turnovers on five straight Mavericks possessions and scored 11 points on those opportunities.
After giving up a basket to Nebraska Omaha, the Wildcats then ran off another 15 straight points.
Kentucky forced the Mavericks into 42 turnovers Wednesday. The Wildcats' opponents have committed at least 30 turnovers in every game this season.
Paige Frauendorfer led the Mavericks (2-2) with 12 points.
Second Half Charge Leads Gamecocks Past Cougars
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina ramped up the defense in the second half, which sparked a sluggish offense, as the Gamecocks topped College of Charleston 59-40 Wednesday night in women’s basketball action at Colonial Life Arena. Taking a one-point lead into the locker room at halftime, the Gamecocks (4-1) exploded in the second half with persistent full-court pressure that unhinged the Cougars (1-3). Markeshia Grant led the way with 14 points, including eight of the team’s first 10 in the second half.
“It was good to see [Markeshia and Ashley Bruner play so well together],” head coach Dawn Staley said. “We needed somebody to step up and take charge on the offensive end. We had too many turnovers in the first half. It was uncharacteristic of our basketball team to play that kind of half. To have Markeshia and Ashley come out the way we did, we needed that kind of boost from the offensive standpoint.”
The first half was a sloppy one for both teams, which combined for 31 turnovers and just 43 points in the first 20 minutes. Long scoring droughts plagued both sides, and the Gamecocks’ shooting woes continued.
After opening a 7-3 lead on a Grant transition layup, South Carolina saw the Cougars battle back with six of the game’s next eight points. With the game knotted at 9-9, Tina Roy drained a 3-pointer from the left wing, but it was the last lead the Gamecocks would see until just before the end of the period. The Cougars took advantage of a spate of South Carolina turnovers to open a 19-15 edge with 5:22 left in the period.
From there, it was the Gamecocks who capitalized on miscues as consecutive trips to the free throw line for Aleighsa Welch cut the lead to one. After a right hook from Deidre Ramer, Grant hit a pair of free throws and Welch put the Gamecocks on top 22-21 with a put-back just before halftime.
The story was much different in the second half as Staley and the Gamecocks unleashed their full-court pressure, which proved highly disruptive to the Cougars. The turnovers, mostly around half-court also allowed South Carolina to speed up its offense, attacking the basket right away.
Grant was the primary beneficiary of the tempo change as she netted eight of the Gamecocks’ first 10 points for a 32-23 lead just three minutes into the half. South Carolina did not let up at all from there with Grant and Ashley Bruner combining for six straight points as the lead stretched to 40-25.
Back-to-back buckets from Brittany Johnson brought CofC within 29-42 with 13:47 on the clock, but an eight-minute scoring drought was the Cougars’ ultimate demise as the Gamecocks extended their advantage to 55-30 by the time Cathryn Hardy hit a free throw to end the skid.
Bruner narrowly missed her first double-double of the season, finishing with 13 points and nine boards, eight of which came in the second half when the Gamecocks as a whole were much more active on the glass. Welch matched Bruner for team-high honors on the glass, including five on the offensive end.
Auburn Defeats George Washington, 55-47
AUBURN – The Auburn women’s basketball team overcame a seven-point halftime deficit to rally and defeat George Washington, 55-47, Wednesday night at the Auburn Arena. The Tigers (3-1) opened the second half on a 10-2 run, holding the Colonials (1-3) to two points for the first 9:37 of the half.
Junior Blanche Alverson led the Tigers in scoring with 14 points, followed by Tyrese Tanner with 11 and freshman Hasina Muhammad with 10. Senior Parrisha Simmons provided a spark off the bench, accounting for seven points and a team-high eight rebounds.
“Obviously it was a tale of two halves,” said Auburn head coach Nell Fortner. “I’m not sure we could have played much worse in the first half, and I thought we did some really nice things in the second half. We had some players really step up. They were challenged, and they met the challenge.”
The Tigers shot just 25 percent from the floor in the first half and hit only 4-of-11 from the free throw line. Meanwhile, George Washington beat Auburn on the boards, snatching 23 rebounds, including four on offense that led to seven second-chance points to the Tigers’ first half zero.
GW’s Sara Mostafa was the first-half hero, accounting for nine of the team’s 26 points. Tara Booker was right behind her with seven points as the Colonials led 26-19.
Auburn came out of the locker room after halftime eager to turn things around. The Tigers went on a 10-2 run, fueled by four points each from Tanner and Simmons, taking a 33-28 lead. George Washington was never able to regain the lead in the second half as the Tigers would go on to lead by as many as 10 points with 14 seconds left before a Danni Jackson layup on the final possession cut it to eight.
Auburn shot a much-improved 44 percent in the second half and went 11-of-14 from the line. The Tigers forced 16 GW turnovers in the game, turning them into 13 points. Auburn also edged out the rebounding battle, 39-38.
Senior Morgan Jennings led Auburn with five assists while Muhammad added four. Six different Tigers tallied a steal in the game with Alverson leading with two.
Mostafa led the Colonials with 13 points, while junior Danni Jackson added 12. Brooke Wilson led the team with eight rebounds while Tara Booker added seven points and seven boards.