Watkins has 15 in Razorback win
|women's BASkEtBALL RESULTS
|Arkansas 59, Mississippi Valley State 40
|South Carolina 62, Drexel 58
|Tennessee 90, Old Dominion 37
|Georgia 83, Furman 58
|Florida 81, Samford 56
|Middle Tennessee State 70, Kentucky 58
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas women’s basketball team won its 11th game in a row with a 59-40 victory over Mississippi Valley State in non-conference action in Bud Walton Arena Wednesday.
The win moves Arkansas to 11-1 overall while MVSU falls to 2-7 on the year.
“It was a typical post-holiday game,” Arkansas head coach Tom Collen said. “We knew coming back from break that we wouldn’t be very sharp but we stepped up when we needed to. The team was a little frustrated with themselves but they have an eye on the SEC right now. Our focus is on Georgia now and what we need to do to knock them off later this week.”
Arkansas’ defense kept the team going in the early minutes of the game until the offense caught fire and opened a lead. The Razorbacks were able to force 14 first half turnovers and convert those into 18 points as MVSU struggled to get their offense going.
But Arkansas suffered through a more than seven minute scoring drought in the first frame that allowed MVSU to close within five, 20-15. The Razorbacks were re-started after a long jumper from Quistelle Williams broke the stalemate as Arkansas finished with a 9-0 run to close the half.
Dominique Robinson led all scorers with seven at the break as the defense held MVSU to 15 first half points, a season-low for Razorback opponents this year.
Arkansas’ offense picked up where it left off opening the second half with a 10-0 run stretching the lead to 23 before MVSU got a steal and layup to get on the board.
Although the Razorbacks held a commanding lead much of the second half, Arkansas was again stymied offensively going more than six minutes at the mid-point of the half without scoring from the floor.
The Razorbacks suffered through another five-plus minute period without scoring but was able to out-last Mississippi Valley State for the team’s 11th consecutive win of the year.
Sarah Watkins finished the game leading all scorers with 15 points and five rebounds. Robinson had nine, followed by C’eira Ricketts with eight points and five rebounds.
As a team, Arkansas shot a season-best 81.8 percent from the foul line going 18-for-22 for the game. Arkansas shot 32.8 percent from the floor on 19-for-58 shooting and was 3-for-11 from three-point range. Arkansas had 12 assists, 11 steals and six blocked shots in the win.
“Defensively we had a good mind-set going into the game,” Watkins said. “The shots weren’t falling right away but we stuck with it. It’s good to have this game to shake the rust off. We are all ready to come back for practice tomorrow and get ready for Georgia.”
Arkansas begins Southeastern Conference play Jan. 1 at No. 17 Georgia in Athens. The Razorbacks travel to No. 6 Kentucky Jan. 5 and host No. 7 Tennessee as league play continues.
Walker Leads Offense, Seals Win at Drexel
PHILADELPHIA – Junior guard Ieasia Walker hit both ends of her 1-and-1 in the final seven seconds to help South Carolina hold onto a 62-58 victory over Drexel in women’s basketball action Wednesday night at John. A. Daskalakis Athletic Center. The Gamecocks (11-2) had a 17-point advantage midway through the second half, and held off a furious Drexel rally to earn their 11th win of the season, the most pre-conference play wins since 2007-08. All three of South Carolina’s starting guards finished in double figures as Walker’s 18 led Markeshia Grant’s 17 and La’Keisha Sutton’s 10.
The Gamecocks got off to a sluggish start on both sides of the ball as Drexel’s penetration on offense and defensive zone gave South Carolina problems early in the first half. Junior Ieasia Walker kept the Gamecocks afloat early, though, scoring seven of the team’s first nine points while assisting on the other basket. Her final transition layup sparked a 7-2 run that brought South Carolina within three at 17-14 with 7:36 left in the half.
The Dragons scored on back-to-back possessions to build a 21-14 advantage with just under six minutes in the period, but the Gamecocks brought some full-court pressure, which seemed to spark their aggression on the offensive end as well. South Carolina closed the half with a 13-5 run, keyed first by Ashley Bruner and then finished by Walker. Sancheon White added a pair of baskets to the surge as well, helping the Gamecocks to their first lead of the game and a 27-26 edge at halftime.
The Gamecocks wasted little time getting the offense going in the second half, putting 14 points on the board in the first four minutes of the period. Again pressure defense sparked the surge, during which Markeshia Grant accounted for half the offensive output. She opened the run with a putback, and Walker stretched the lead to five with a layup off a steal. Drexel’s Kamile Nacickaite hit a free throw, but Grant answered with another layup off a steal as the Gameocks applied an aggressive trap just over center court. Tyler Hale hit the Dragons’ next two baskets, but the Drexel defense could not stop Grant, who buried a 3-pointer from the top of the arc for a 36-29 South Carolina lead with 17:38 left to play.
Sutton took over after Charenee Stephens hit a pair of free throws, scoring the next five points on a pair of circus shots after getting fouled. Hollie Marshon brought the Dragons back within 10 at 43-33 with a long jumper from the right side, but by that time the Gamecock guards were in control. Grant hit a pair of free-throw line jumpers, and Walker added a short jumper from the baseline to extend it to a 49-34 game. Taylor Wooten interrupted the surge briefly with a layup, but the lead quickly went back to 17 points on a free throw from Ashley Bruner and another traditional three-point play from Sutton.
Trailing 36-53 with 9:59 to play, Drexel put together an impressive 17-2 run, highlighted by solid rebounding and capped by a pair of tough 3-pointers from Nacickaite to bring her team with a basket at 55-53 with 4:14 to play. With the Dragon defense back in its active zone, Sutton went into playmaker mode, setting up Bruner for a bucket from the right block with a hard drive to the lane. The senior guard picked up her 300th career assist on the basket and, after Drexel misfired on the other end, she followed it with another assist on Grant’s 3-pointer from the top of the arc at the end of the shot clock to put the Gamecocks up 60-53 with 2:12 on the clock.
Both teams failed to connect on their next possessions, and Marisa Crane made it a 60-56 game with a 3 from the right wing with 44 seconds to go. South Carolina missed on the front end of a 1-and-1 opportunity, but, following a Drexel timeout, the defense forced Crane to the baseline under the Gamecocks’ basket where she misfired on a pass to give the ball back to the Gamecocks with 19 seconds to play. Another missed free throw and defensive rebound put the ball back in Drexel’s hands. Mershon was fouled looking to drive to the basket and hit both her free throws to pull within two with seven seconds to play. Crane fouled Walker quickly after the Gamecocks’ inbounded the ball, and the junior guard buried both her attempts to make it a two-possession game.
Walker’s 18 points were her season high, and she added four assists and four steals to her impressive effort. Sutton became the 11th Gamecock to hand out 300 assists while also scoring at least 1,000 points in her career. Stephens and Sutton shared team-high rebounding honors with five apiece as the Gamecocks out-rebounded the Dragons 32-28.
South Carolina returns to Colonial Life Arena for its next two games. SEC play kicks off Sun., Jan. 1, at 3 p.m. against Alabama before No. 25/12 Vanderbilt visits on Thu., Jan. 5, at 7 p.m.
No. 7 Tennessee routs Old Dominion 90-37
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Glory Johnson had 16 points and 11 rebounds as No. 7 Tennessee cruised to a 90-37 win over Old Dominion on Wednesday night.
Vicki Baugh, who lost her starting job after poor play in a Dec. 20 loss at Stanford, had 11 points and 12 rebounds. Meighan Simmons added 12 points, Ariel Massengale scored 11, Isabelle Harrison had 10 and Alicia Manning grabbed 15 rebounds for the Lady Volunteers (8-3).
Massengale hit back-to-back 3s in the span of 28 seconds during a 14-2 run that gave Tennessee control of the game. The Lady Vols took a commanding 50-20 halftime lead against Old Dominion on 50 percent shooting while committing just two turnovers in the first half.
The Lady Monarchs shot just 25 percent before the break.
Jackie Cook scored 13 to lead Old Dominion (3-10), which has dropped 16 straight in the longtime series with Tennessee.
No. 17 Georgia women rout Furman
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- Anne Marie Armstrong scored 19 points and led short-handed No. 17 Georgia to an 83-58 win over Furman on Wednesday night.
For the second straight game, Georgia (11-2) played without starting point guard Jasmine James, who sprained her right knee Dec. 20 in a win over Montana State.
Jasmine Hassell scored 15 points, Erika Ford 14 and Meredith Mitchell 12 for Georgia.
Janice Roberts led Furman (8-4) with 13 points.
The Lady Dogs raced out to a 17-4 lead in the first five minutes behind Hassell, who had six points during the run. Georgia led 49-31 at the half as Ford had 12 of her points by the break.
Armstrong and Georgia dispelled any thoughts of a comeback, starting the second half strong. Her driving layup with 11:03 to play put the Lady Dogs up 64-39.
Gators Use Hot Shooting Night to Defeat Samford, 81-56
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The Florida women's basketball team utilized steady shooting and strong play on the glass to take down the Samford Bulldogs, 81-56, Wednesday evening in the Stephen C. O'Connell Center.
The Gator's 81 points were their second-highest scoring total at home this season (83, Charleston Southern, Dec. 20), as Florida closed its non-Southeastern Conference slate with its 10th victory of the year.
Five Gators scored in double-digits on Wednesday night, led by junior forward Jennifer George (Orlando, Fla.). The reigning SEC Player of the Week notched her fifth consecutive double-double, scoring 10 points and nabbing 13 boards, as Florida dominated the rebounding battle, 43-20. The 20 total rebounds were Samford's fewest this season.
The Gators' persistence on the glass paid off, as Florida (10-3) tallied 19 second-chance points thanks to 21 offensive rebounds.
Senior guard Deana Allen (Houma, La.) led all players with a season-high 17 points on the evening, just one shy of her career high. Senior guard Jordan Jones (Suwanee, Ga.) had her eighth double-digit scoring performance of the season with 13 points, including her fifth outing with three or more three-pointers. Sophomore guard Jaterra Bonds (Gainesville, Fla.) and senior guard Lanita Bartley (Jacksonville, Fla.) scored 15 and 10 points against the Bulldogs, respectively.
Florida shot 49.2 percent from the floor, its second-high mark this year, while Samford (6-6) connected on 43.6 percent from the field.
The second half played out similarly to the first, as Jones hit her third three-pointer of the game just 39 ticks into the second stanza. Florida continued its momentum from the first half, going on a 7-0 run to open the half.
Allen's jumper with 15 minutes remaining in the game gave Florida its largest lead of the night, as the Gators led 59-31.
Senior forward Azania Stewart (Wood Green, England) scored three straight buckets late in the second half, putting Florida ahead at 75-52. The Gators continued to push, holding the Bulldogs to just three points in the closing minutes of the half.
Jones got the scoring started for the Gators, knocking down the Orange and Blue's first trey of the night at the 19:43 mark of the first half. Bonds wasn't too far behind with a trey of her own less than two minutes later, sparking a 15-0 Gator run over the next 4:24.
Florida led by as many as 22 in the first stanza, as Bonds hit a three-pointer with 9:55 remaining in the half. The Bulldogs began to chip away at the Gator lead, pulling within 11 courtesy of back-to-back free throws by Samford's Taylor Reece. Jones answered, nailing a trey to put the Gators up by 14 with less than four minutes remaining in the first.
Samford continued to surge, cutting the Florida lead to 10 with 2:09 to go in the half. The Orange and Blue recaptured the momentum, finishing the half on a 7-0 run. A George free throw began the scoring run and a Bartley offensive board and ensuing layup put the Gators up by 13 with a little over a minute to play.
Stewart put on a defensive showcase, blocking two shots and pulling down two defensive boards in less than a minute to hold the Bulldogs scoreless down the stretch. Bonds hit a jumper with 12 seconds remaining in the half to give the Gators a 43-26 advantage heading into halftime.
Florida next turns its attention to SEC action, playing host to sixth-ranked Kentucky on New Year's Day in the league opener for both teams. The Gators and the Wildcats face off on January 1st in the O'Connell Center with tip-off scheduled for 1 p.m.
Middle Tennessee women upset No. 6 Kentucky 70-58
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) -- Icelyn Elie scored 23 points and Ebony Rowe added 21 while grabbing 12 rebounds as Middle Tennessee upset sixth-ranked Kentucky 70-58 Wednesday night in the Wildcats' final game before diving into the Southeastern Conference schedule.
Middle Tennessee (9-5) had chances to pull off big wins already this season only to blow leads against No. 12 Penn State, Arkansas and Georgia Tech. Against the only ranked opponent to visit, the Blue Raiders grabbed the lead midway through the first half and led by as much as 17 three times.
Kortni Jones added 15 points for Middle Tennessee, which overcame 28 turnovers against Kentucky's "40 minutes of dread" defense with a 39-38 rebounding edge.
Kentucky (11-2) shot a season-low 32.8 percent from the floor and were just 2 of 18 from 3-point range. A'dia Mathies, the Wildcats' leading scorer averaging 16.1 points per game, scored eight. Bria Goss led Kentucky with 12.