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    SEC Women's Basketball Today: December 29

    women's BASkEtBALL RESULTS
    Ole Miss 72, Southeastern Louisiana 52
    Vanderbilt 81, Western Carolina 36
    Oklahoma State 78, Mississippi State 71
    Auburn 68, Charlotte 58
    LSU 66, Louisiana Tech 55

    Ole Miss downs SELA, 72-52

    OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss finished its non-conference schedule with at least 10 wins for the third time under Renee Ladner, as the Rebels beat Southeastern Louisiana, 72-52 Thursday night.

    With the win, Ole Miss improved to 10-3 while SELA fell to 4-9.  

    Nikki Byrd recorded her ninth double-double of the year and 14th of her career with 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Rebels while also adding a career-best five blocks.  Kenyotta Jenkins added 12 points and eight boards while Valencia McFarland recorded a career-high 11 assists.

    The Rebels used a 12-2 run midway through the half to take a 22-10 lead on a jumper from Byrd with 3:30 to play. 

    At the half, Ole Miss led, 28-17.  Byrd and Jenkins each had seven points while Byrd also had six boards and three blocks.  As a team, the Rebels shot 36.7 percent from the floor (11-30) while SELA shot 18.2 percent (6-33).

    In second half, Byrd gave the Rebels a spark early scoring the team’s first seven points of the half as Ole Miss went up, 35-17, with 17:38 to play.  The Golden Lions cut the Rebels’ lead to eight points, 40-32, with 13:59 remaining but Ole Miss used another run to push its lead back to double digits with 12:33 to play.

    Ole Miss ended the game shooting 44.1 percent from the floor (30-68) while SELA shot 30.8 percent (20-65).  As a team, Ole Miss recorded eight blocks.

    Ole Miss will open SEC play at home Sunday, hosting LSU at 2 p.m.  Admission to the game is free.



    No. 25 Vanderbilt women rout Western Carolina

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Christina Foggie scored a career-high 27 points and Kady Schrann added a career-best 20 to lead No. 25 Vanderbilt to an 81-36 victory over Western Carolina on Thursday night.

    Foggie hit five 3-pointers and Schrann sank four 3s for the Commodores (12-1) in their final non-conference game of the season. Tiffany Clarke chipped in with 12 points and had seven rebounds.

    Diamond Hunnicutt was the top scorer for the Catamounts (4-8), who lost their sixth straight game.

    Foggie hit back-to-back 3s for Vanderbilt for a 58-26 lead, then hit two free throws before going out with an undisclosed injury with 7 minutes remaining.

    Vanderbilt didn't lead until 9-7 on Schrann's jumper during an 8-0 run that included a pair of inside baskets by Clarke, but went ahead 32-14 at halftime on Foggie's third 3-pointer.



    Lady Bulldogs Drop 78-71 Decision to Oklahoma State
                   
    RENO, Nev. – Mississippi State’s late rally came up short Thursday night as the Lady Bulldogs dropped a 78-71 decision to undefeated Oklahoma State in the second contest at the University of Nevada-hosted Peppermill Classic.
                   
    The Lady Bulldogs (9-3) will now face the host squad from Nevada (3-9) at 7 p.m. central Friday night in the tournament’s consolation game. In the other contest Thursday, Nevada was beaten 67-51 by Long Island at the Lawlor Events Center.
                   
    In Thursday’s contest, the Lady Bulldogs started out strong. A 3-point by Danielle Rector and jumper by Porsha Porter placed the Maroon and White on top 19-13 with 10:40 left before halftime.
                   
    The Lady Bulldogs failed to build on the early offensive momentum, while the Cowgirls (8-0) moved the ball inside to take control of the contest.
                   
    Oklahoma State scored the game’s next nine points. An old-fashioned 3-point play by OSU’s Toni Young capped that run. After a layup by Porter brought MSU within one at 22-21, Oklahoma State again tacked on the game’s next nine points. This time, a 3-point play by OSU’s Taylor Schippers ran the lead to 31-21 with 4:08 left before halftime.
                   
    The Cowgirls ran the lead to 12 points before a couple of late transition baskets brought MSU within 35-29 at halftime.
                   
    In the second half, the Lady Bulldogs hung tough but could not overcome 19 turnovers. The Lady Bulldogs closed within four on two occasions early. After OSU ran the lead back out to double digits, the Lady Bulldogs again had the lead to four at 73-69 on two free throws by Porter with less than a minute remaining.
                   
    The Cowgirls hit 5-of-6 foul shots to close out the win.
                   
    For the contest, the Lady Bulldogs hit 22 of 64 shots from the field (34.4 percent), 8 of 20 shots from 3-point range (40.0 percent) and 19 of 24 shots from the foul line (79.2 percent). The Cowgirls hit 28 of 64 shots from the field (43.8 percent), 6 of 27 shots from 3-point range (22.2 percent) and 16 of 20 shots from the foul line (80.0 percent.
                   
    Oklahoma State held a 42-41 rebounding advantage. The Lady Bulldogs had five assists and 19 turnovers, while the Cowgirls had 18 assists and 18 turnovers.
                   
    Porter paced the Lady Bulldogs with 19 points. Porter hit 5-of-11 shots from the field and 9-of-10 shots at the foul line. Diamber Johnson followed with 18 points, while Kendra Grant scored a career-high 14 points. Porter and Shamia Robinson each had a team-high eight rebounds. For Robinson, that is also a career high.

    Liz Donohoe led Oklahoma State with 21 points. Toni Young added 18 points, while Tiffany Bias scored 15 points. Lindsey Keller had a team-high nine rebounds.

    MSU will open Southeastern Conference by hosting LSU at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Humphrey Coliseum.



    Hilliard’s 22 Points Leads Tigers To 68-58 Win Over Charlotte

    MIAMI – Auburn senior Chantel Hilliard erupted for a career-high 22 points, leading the Tigers (8-4) to a 68-58 win over North Carolina-Charlotte (6-6) in the first round of the Florida International Sun & Fun Classic. Auburn will take on host FIU at 5 p.m. CT, Friday in the tournament championship game.

    FIU (8-5) downed Albany, 69-56, in its first-round game. The last time Auburn and FIU met was the 2008 FIU Thanksgiving Tournament Championship Game with the Tigers taking the 63-52 win.

    “I was proud of how hard we played and the composure we showed there at the end,” said Auburn head coach Nell Fortner. “When Charlotte took the lead there with a few minutes left, we could have folded, but we didn’t. That was good to see.”

    Hilliard led Auburn in scoring for the first time this season and just the fifth time in her career with her 22 points. She also became the third different Tiger this season to record a 20-point game, joining Camille Glymph and Blanche Alverson.

    “Chantel had a great night, but we need that from her every night,” said Fortner. “I am proud of her for how she stepped up tonight. She came up big for us and really sparked our offense.”

    Auburn shot a blazing 64.3 percent from the field in the first half, finishing the game at 55.8 percent. It was a welcomed shooting night for the Tigers as the team had not shot better than 40 percent in each of the last five games.

    The Tigers used their hot hand in the first half to take a big lead, going up by 19 points, 36-17, with 4:47 to go in the first half. Charlotte did not back down, though, finishing the opening period on a 14-3 run to cut the lead to 39-31 at halftime.

    Auburn was never really able to pull away from the 49ers, holding a single-digit lead for most of the second half. The Tigers never trailed until Charlotte’s Gabby Tyler hit a jumper with 4:00 left in the game to give the 49ers their first lead of the game, 58-57.

    It proved to be their only lead of the game as Auburn held Charlotte scoreless for the rest of the game, scoring 11 points in the final minutes, including five from the free throw line, to pull away for the 68-58 win.

    Freshman Hasina Muhammad and sophomore Tyrese Tanner joined Hilliard in double figures with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Parrisha Simmons pulled down a team-high five rebounds while Morgan Jennings scored five points with her five assists.

    The Tigers again used their defense to fuel their offense, scoring 25 points off 22 Charlotte turnovers. Muhammad led the Tigers with three steals while Blanche Alverson and Najat Ouardad collected two each.

    Jennifer Hailey led the 49ers with 16 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Jai Forney added 13 points while Tyler came off the bench for 11.

    With seven international players on their roster, Fortner expects a different type of game when the Tigers and Panthers face off Friday for the championship.

    “FIU has a lot of international players on their team and play that style of game you see a lot overseas,” said Fortner. “They drive to the basket a lot, are great outside shooters and play a very smart game. I was impressed with what I saw earlier.”
     
    Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. CT, Friday from U.S. Century Bank Arena in Miami, Fla. Live stats and tournament information are available at FIUSports.com while a live audio broadcast will be available on WMXA 96.7 FM in Auburn and online at AuburnTigers.com.



    Perfect December: Second-Half Rally Lifts LSU past Louisiana Tech, 66-55

    RUSTON, La. – Senior forward Courtney Jones poured in a season-high 20 points – 16 in the second-half – as the LSU women’s basketball team rallied past in-state rival Louisiana Tech in the final 20 minutes to complete a perfect December, 66-55, in front of 4,930 fans on Thursday night in Thomas Assembly Center.

    LSU (9-3) erased a 12-point first-half deficit and outscored the Lady Techsters 42-26 in the second half to win its sixth straight game. The Lady Tigers haven’t lost since a 77-68 setback at No. 18 Ohio State on Nov. 27. LSU finished the month undefeated for the second straight year.

    Jones’ dominant second half carried the Lady Tigers to their seventh consecutive win over Louisiana Tech. The Lady Techsters (7-8) remained winless against LSU since the 1999 NCAA Tournament.

    “Louisiana Tech is always a tough team and a tough place to play,” said LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell. “I can remember playing back here in the early 1990s, and I told the team when you look at this program traditionally, they are one of the better programs in the country. I want to give our kids credit for not folding in the first half and being able to generate offensive looks in the second half with our defensive play.”

    Jones finished 7-of-12 from the floor and grabbed six rebounds. Junior guard Adrienne Webb added 12 points, and senior forward LaSondra Barrett contributed seven points and seven rebounds.

    “We did a good job of finding Courtney Jones, but she did a lot of that by working before the ball got to her,” said Caldwell. “When you have two starters in foul trouble in LaSondra Barrett and Destini Hughes, you definitely look for somebody to step up. I thought Courtney Jones did a great job of that for us tonight.”

    LSU fell behind as many as 12 points in the first half when Kiara Young’s layup gave Louisiana Tech a 26-14 lead with 4:43 to go. The Lady Tigers sliced the deficit to 29-24 at the half when Jeanne Kenney, inbounding the ball with 0.5 seconds left, found Theresa Plaisance for a tip-in at the buzzer.

    The teams traded threes with 15:36 in the second half. Louisiana Tech claimed a 36-34 lead and then LSU made its move with an inspiring 11-0 run that proved to be the difference in the game. Jones was the catalyst with a layup that tied it and Kenney fired in a jumper from the right wing with the shot clock winding down.

    Barrett then nailed a three from the top of the key and found Jones for a breakaway layup on the ensuing possession that made it 43-36 LSU with 12:56 left in the game. Webb finished off the run with a layup in transition following a Kenney steal.

    The Lady Techsters pulled to within five with 7:07 on the clock, but LSU converted its free throws down the stretch while Louisiana Tech was just 8-of-18 from the line in the second half. Jones was 4-of-5 from the stripe in the final stanza. She put the Lady Tigers comfortably ahead with two shots following a flagrant foul on Kiara Young.

    Kenney’s two free throws in the final seconds gave LSU its double-digit victory. The Lady Tigers shot 48.1 percent in the second half and finished at 39.7 percent for the game. LSU out-rebounded Tech 24-17 in the second half and dominated points in the pain 22-12 for the game.

    The Lady Techsters had three players in double-figures led by Angie Felton, who finished with 15 points.

    LSU will remain on the road and travel to Oxford, Miss., on Friday in preparation for its Southeastern Conference opener at Ole Miss on New Year’s Day. Tipoff from Tad Smith Coliseum is 2 p.m. CT Sunday. There will be no television broadcast of the game.