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    SEC Women's Basketball Today: December 11

    women's BASkEtBALL RESULTS
    Kentucky 101, UAPB 43
    Tennessee 84, DePaul 61
    South Carolina 72, Furman 33
    La. Tech 63, Mississippi State 62
    LSU 67, Alabama State 35
    North Carolina State 79, Alabama 57

    No. 10 Kentucky women beat UAPB 101-43

    LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- Bria Goss scored 19 points and No. 10 Kentucky cruised to a 101-43 victory over winless Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Sunday.

    The game was a breather for the Wildcats (10-0) in a brutal stretch of scheduling; their last two games were against No. 15 Louisville and No. 6 Duke, and their next is at No. 3 Notre Dame on Dec. 18.

    Kentucky's full-court press was unrelenting from the beginning of the game, and coach Matthew Mitchell didn't call it off until the final minute. The Wildcats forced 49 turnovers, breaking the previous school record of 48 set earlier this season against Jacksonville State.

    The Wildcats opened the game on an 11-1 run and never trailed, only allowing the Lady Lions consecutive points four times throughout the game.

    Chigozianyi Okwumabua had 13 points for Arkansas-Pine Bluff (0-7).

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    Johnson leads No. 7 Tennessee women over DePaul

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Glory Johnson scored 16 points and Cierra Burdick added 15 to help No. 7 Tennessee beat No. 20 DePaul 84-61 on Sunday in the Maggie Dixon Classic at Madison Square Garden.

    Shekinna Stricklen added 12 points while Alicia Manning had 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Lady Vols (5-2), who saw their 12-point halftime lead cut to 41-37 before using an 15-4 run to take control. Stricklen had six points during the burst.

    Her layup made it 56-43 with 11:19 left and DePaul (8-2) couldn't get within single digits the rest of the way.

    Tennessee coach Pat Summitt was honored during No. 1 Baylor's 73-59 victory over St. John's with the Maggie Dixon Courage award. Summitt announced in August that she had been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. Both the Lady Bears and Red Storm came out of their timeouts to applaud the winningest coach in college basketball.

    Jasmine Penny scored 16 points and Keisha Hampton added 14 for DePaul.

    It was the second time Tennessee played in the Classic named for the former Army women's coach. The Lady Vols beat Rutgers two years ago. The Scarlet Knights had played in all four of the previous Garden events. Army hosted Ohio State at West Point the first year.

    The 28-year-old Dixon died April 6, 2006, of arrhythmia, probably caused by an enlarged heart. Her death came three weeks after she finished her first season as Army coach. She won the admiration of the academy and all of college basketball for leading Army to its first NCAA berth, where the Cadets lost in the first round to Summitt's Lady Vols.

    While this was DePaul's first appearance in the Classic, the school has played in the Maggie Dixon Surf'N Slam Classic in San Diego. The Blue Demons have also hosted a tournament in honor of the coach the past few seasons. She got her start as an assistant coach at DePaul under Doug Bruno before she went to Army.

    Both Tennessee and DePaul will stay in the Tri-State area after the game. On Tuesday night, the Lady Vols play at No. 11 Rutgers while DePaul visits Princeton.

    It will be the Blue Demons' fourth game in seven days. The roster has been depleted by injuries and DePaul had nine players available against the Lady Vols.

    Deanna Ortiz was sidelined with a right ankle sprain suffered in Friday's win over SIU-Edwardsville. Taylor Pikes is still recovering from an ACL injury last season. Freshman Shenise Johnson has an injured left foot and classmate Alexa Gallagher hasn't played this season because of knee issues.

    Tennessee was playing its first game without freshman point guard Ariel Massengale. She had started every game averaging 7.2 points and 5.8 assists.

    She injured a finger on her left hand while diving for a loose ball at the end of practice on Thursday and will be sidelined for a few weeks.

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    Grant Leads Gamecocks Past Paladins, 72-33

    COLUMBIA, S.C. – Senior guard Markeshia Grant scored 14 of her career-high 22 points in the first eight minutes of the game, setting the tone for a 72-33 South Carolina win over Furman (5-3) in women’s basketball action at Colonial Life Arena Sunday afternoon. The Gamecocks (7-2) turned in a solid effort on both sides of the ball as 21 steals – 10th-most in school history – helped the offense to a season-high 44.4 percent shooting, including 50.0 percent in the first half. Junior guard Ieasia Walker reeled in a career-high six of the 21 steals to set the tone.

    “Markeshia [Grant is] one that works,” South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley said. “She’s a tireless worker, and she wants to do well. So, for her to come out and jump-start our offense like she did is a wonderful thing.  She helped some of our other players get on board and get their offense jump-started as well.”

    The Gamecocks started the game hot and took an early 11-3 lead into the first media timeout, thanks to nine early points from Grant. The Tampa, Fla., native would continue her hot shooting, pacing the Gamecocks to a 21-5 lead with 14 points in the games first eight minutes. Grant finished the game hitting 10-of-13 from the field and tying for team-high honors on the glass with eight rebounds, one shy of her career high.

    With 8:00 left in the half, the Garnet and Black had a 27-7 lead. Freshman guard Tina Roy further stretched the advantage with a mid-range jumper from just behind the free throw line, and Walker followed with a 3-pointer from the right wing to push the lead to 25. The Gamecock defense was suffocating in the first half, forcing 13 steals and limiting the Paladins to 5-of-19 shooting. Carolina took a 40-11 lead into the break.

    The second half started out with more of the same as Carolina went on an early 12-2 run. Grant broke her previous career high of 18 points with just over 17:30 left in the game on a fluid transition layup.  The Gamecocks ran out the clock and notch their seventh victory of the year.

    Walker and senior guard La’Keisha Sutton joined Grant in double figures, adding 10 and 11 respectively. Walker handed out a team-high four assists for a balanced all-around effort. Aleighsa Welch matched Grant on the boards with eight rebounds, including six on the offensive end.

    The Gamecocks are back in action on Wed., Dec. 14, as they take on in state foe South Carolina State at Colonial Life Arena at noon. The winners of the first segment of the Read with the Gamecocks program will be honored at halftime of the game.

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    Lady Bulldogs Drop Nailbiter At Louisiana Tech, 63-62

    RUSTON, La. - A late rally fell short for the Mississippi State women's basketball team Sunday afternoon.

    Trailing by eight with less than two minutes remaining, the Lady Bulldogs pulled even. However, MSU later missed its final two shots in the last eight seconds of the contest, falling 63-62 to Louisiana Tech at Thomas Assembly Center.

    MSU (7-2) actually hit eight first-half 3-point baskets. The Lady Bulldogs parlayed the fast start to a 35-28 halftime lead. Louisiana Tech (4-6) grabbed its first second-half lead with 13 minutes remaining. The Maroon and White could not respond as it shot 29.4 percent from the floor in the second half, missed nine free throws and missed all nine 3-point attempts.

    "After Louisiana Tech scored some baskets, they got some confidence," MSU head coach Sharon Fanning-Otis said. "They became the aggressor and we didn't respond. To make the NCAA Tournament, you have to be Road Warriors and you have to make effort plays at the end of ballgames.

    "For whatever reason, we became a little soft and lost our focus."

    For MSU, Diamber Johnson and Porsha Porter hit back-to-back 3-point baskets to open the contest. The Lady Bulldogs led 9-2 less than three minutes in the contest. Again Johnson and Porter hit back-to-back treys to run the MSU advantage to 20-13.

    Louisiana Tech scored the game's next nine points and took its only first-half lead at 22-20. A 3-pointer by MSU's Darriel Gaynor placed the Lady Bulldogs back on top, 25-22. The half would end with MSU going on an 8-3 run for a 35-28 halftime advantage.

    "We really didn't have the production we needed around the rim," Fanning-Otis said. "The 3-point shots were falling in the first half. In the second half, we had our guard set some excellent screens. However, it didn't lead to the paint touches we needed.

    "When you are trying to win a tight game, you need putback opportunities. You have to have more chances to score around the basket."

    MSU's Ashley Brown split a pair of free throws to place MSU head 36-28. Louisiana Tech pulled even again with a 13-5 run creating a 41-41 tie. The teams would tie twice more, before the hosts seized the lead for good with a 9-0 run.

    The Lady Bulldogs missed four shots from the field, two shots from the free throw line and turned the ball over once as Louisiana Tech sprinted to a 57-49 advantage.

    Still MSU rallied once more. Down 61-53, the Lady Bulldogs used defensive pressure to spark a 7-0 run. A steal and layup by Porter brought the Maroon and White within 61-60 with 54 seconds left.

    Louisiana Tech's Courtney Hayes hit one of two free throws before Johnson answered with a game-tying basket with 36 seconds left. Hayes again hit one of two free throws with 24 seconds left for a 63-62 lead.

    The Lady Bulldogs then had the final shot, however Johnson missed a pair of baseline jumpers and the final rebound was being batted around as the game clock expired.

    For the contest, the Lady Bulldogs hit 22 of 66 shots from the field (33.3 percent), 8 of 25 shots from 3-point range (32.0 percent) and 10 of 21 shots from the foul line (47.6 percent). The Lady Techsters hit 21 of 61 shots from the field (34.4 percent), 5 of 17 shots from 3-point range (29.4 percent) and 16 of 29 shots from the foul line (55.2 percent).

    "The free throw line was the big divider in the game," Fanning-Otis said. "When you aren't doing the little things right, it is from a lack of focus. We have to learn how to be mentally tough for 40 minutes to be able to win games like this."

    MSU held a 51-45 rebounding advantage. The Lady Bulldogs had 10 assists and 18 turnovers, while the Lady Techsters had 12 assists and 16 turnovers.

    Johnson paced MSU with 25 points, including a 10-for-28 night from the field. Johnson had five assists, three steals, a blocked shot and also hit three 3-pointers. Porter set a season-high with 23 points, including a 7-of-16 night from the field, with four 3-pointers, and a 5-of-11 night at the foul line.

    Louisiana Tech received 12 points from Jasmine Bendolph.

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    KRYSTAL FORTHAN’S CAREER-HIGH 17 POINTS SPARK LSU WOMEN’S BASKETBALL TO 67-35 WIN OVER ALABAMA STATE

    BATON ROUGE – Freshman Krystal Forthan scored a career-high 17 points and the LSU women’s basketball team compiled a 20-2 run in the second half to coast to a 67-35 win over Alabama State on Sunday in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

    LSU (4-3) snapped a two-game losing streak and returned to action for the first time since Nov. 27. The Lady Tigers were playing for the first time in 13 days after breaking for academic finals.

    Alabama State (2-3) trailed by only a 29-21 margin at the half, but the Hornets were not able to match the depth of LSU’s bench, which outscored them 40-4 for the contest. LSU toughened up defensively in the final 20 minutes, holding ASU to 20.0 percent shooting in the second half and forcing 30 turnovers for the game.

    “We wanted to work and get some of our players a lot of minutes,” said LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell. “We went deep into our bench, and I thought our bench did a really good job of coming in and giving us some life. When we have an opportunity to give our bench some playing time, we definitely want to do that.”

    Forthan was dominant in the first half with 11 points in two minutes. The former Naismith High School Award finalist finished 8-of-11 from the floor and had two blocks in 17 minutes. In her past two games combined, Forthan is 15-of-21 from the floor with 32 points.

    Adrienne Webb added 10 points and Jeanne Kenney put in seven points to go along with a game-high five assists. Bianca Lutley blocked three shots and the Lady Tigers accounted for a season-high 12 blocks for the game. It was the first double-digit block game for LSU since swatting 10 against Texas Southern in 2008.

    Forthan ignited the 20-2 run with a jumper at the 16:00 mark. Kenney then added a lay-up off a steal and fed Theresa Plaisance for a wide-open look that made it 41-27 LSU with 11:29 to go in the game. Over the next five minutes, LSU scored 12 unanswered points culminating with Courtney Jones’ layup that increased the lead to 53-29.

    The Hornets went six minutes without a bucket before Quentori Alford broke the dry spell with a jump shot with 5:38 remaining in the game. LSU converted 12 points off turnovers in the second half.

    Both Shanece McKinney and Theresa Plaisance contributed seven points apiece with good minutes in the second half. LSU kept every Alabama State out of double-figures. Keirra Paige finished with a team-high nine points.

    LSU shot 49.0 percent (24-of-49) for the game and held an opponent to 40 points or less for the third time this season. In four home games this season, the opponent has failed to reach the 45-point mark on the Lady Tigers.

    LSU will face a quick turnaround before facing UCLA at 7 p.m. CT Tuesday. The Bruins, Caldwell’s former team, bring a 5-2 record into the contest.

    The first 1,000 fans in attendance Tuesday night will receive a free Lady Tiger replica basketball jersey. Fans are urged to bring canned goods to the game in support of LSU’s holiday food drive in conjunction with the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank.

    “We played this schedule right before we went into final exams,” said Caldwell. “It’s very familiar for us. We just need to finish out better than we did in the first half of the non-conference schedule. We’ve been really preparing for any opponent that we play, because we want to stay true to LSU’s defensive system and what we want to do offensively.”

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    Alabama Falls At North Carolina State

    RALEIGH, N.C. - The women's basketball team suffered a 79-57 loss at NC State on Sunday in Reynolds Coliseum. With the loss, the Crimson Tide falls to 7-4 on the season, while the Wolfpack improves to 6-2 overall.

    "When you play the way we played tonight, you can never expect to win," said Alabama head coach Wendell Hudson. "We could never get a group out there that would play in sync with each other. This is probably the worst game we've played all year, and when you play that poorly against a good basketball team, you can expect the outcome we had. You have to give NC State credit though. They fought for every loose ball and played hard tonight."

    Junior Jessica Merritt and sophomores Shafontaye Myers and Jasmine Robinson each had 11 points to lead Alabama in scoring. Junior Erin Hogue and Myers tallied four rebounds apiece for the Tide on the boards.

    Alabama was unable to get much going early offensively and committed a handful of costly turnovers resulting in points for NC State. The Wolfpack continued to pull away from the Tide, leading by 11 at the 7:42 mark. Alabama came within four points with 3:57 to play, however a 16-5 run by NC State to end the extended the Wolfpack lead out to 15 at the break.

    NC State scored seven unanswered points to open the second half, setting the score at 48-26 with 18:53 remaining. The Wolfpack continued to lead for the duration of the game, going ahead by as many as 34.

    For the game, NC State out-rebounded Alabama 52-26, while the Wolfpack also collected 46 points in the paint compared to the Tide's 22. In addition, Alabama committed 21 turnovers in the loss.