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    SEC Women's Basketball Today: December 30

    women's BASkEtBALL RESULTS
    Alabama 80, Air Force 45
    Florida International 64, Auburn 55
    Mississippi State 67, Nevada 63

    Alabama Women’s Basketball Defeats Air Force, 80-45

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama women’s basketball team improved to 10-4 on the season, closing out the 2011 calendar year with an 80-45 victory over the Air Force Falcons on Friday night at Foster Auditorium.

    Junior guard Meghan Perkins notched the first double-double of her Alabama career, scoring a game-high 19 points to go along with a game-high 10 rebounds. Junior forward Kyra Crosby tied her career-high with 13 points, while freshman forward Aneesah Daniels, sophomore guard Jasmine Robinson and junior guard Celiscia Farmer each added eight points apiece for the Crimson Tide.

    “We finished up (the non-conference schedule) in a good way,” said Alabama head coach Wendell Hudson. “We talked to this team about making little strides and getting better as a team. I thought our energy level was up really high to start the basketball game. We were playing together, but we just missed so many opportunities early. As far as effort was concerned on both ends of the court and sharing the basketball, we did fine.”

    The Tide led for 39 of the game’s 40 minutes, setting a new season-high rebounding mark with 55, while tying its season-high point total of 80. Alabama forced 23 Air Force turnovers, of which it converted into 18 points, while outscoring the Falcons by a margin of 40-6 on points in the paint. The Tide also enjoyed an 18-2 edge on fast break points.

    With the score tied 13-13 midway through the first half, Alabama mounted a 13-0 run over a two minute span, cashing in on several Air Force mistakes, to pull in front 26-13 at the 5:03 mark of the half. From there, the Tide would build the lead even further, increasing the margin to as much as 16 points in the latter stages of the half before settling on a 37-22 advantage at intermission.

    Following the break, Alabama embarked on a 16-2 run over the first 7:18 of the half to take a commanding 53-24 lead. During the stretch, the Tide enjoyed an over 3:1 ratio on shots taken (25 to 8), while getting 10 of the 16 points from its bench players.

    After an Air Force basket briefly cut the lead to 27 points, Alabama utilized another game-changing run to put the contest completely out of reach. The Tide outscored the Falcons 19-7 over a six-and-a-half minute stretch to take its biggest lead of the game, 72-33, at the 5:36 mark. From there, Alabama would enjoy a cushion of no less than 33 points en route to a 35-point victory.
     
    Alabama has now won three consecutive games as it prepares to open Southeastern Conference play at South Carolina on Sunday, January 1, 2012.



    Auburn Women’s Basketball Falls To FIU, 64-55, In Sun & Fun Championship

    MIAMI – The Auburn women’s basketball team (8-5) took runner-up honors Friday at the Florida International Sun & Fun Classic, falling to host FIU, 64-55. Sophomore Tyrese Tanner and freshman Hasina Muhammad were named to the All-Tournament Team.

    Auburn trailed by 17 midway through the second half, but cut the lead down to six with 2:49 left in the game. FIU’s Jerica Coley, who scored a game-high 28 points, nailed a 3-pointer to push the lead back to nine, all but sealing the game for the Panthers.

    “We had some defensive breakdowns today and I’m disappointed in that,” said Auburn head coach Nell Fortner. “But, Coley for FIU had a great night, she was really something. It didn’t seem to matter what we did, she found a way to get her shot off.”

    Overall, Fortner wasn’t unhappy with the Tigers’ performance as Auburn out-rebounded FIU 42-26 and committed only 14 turnovers. But, the Tigers again struggled from the field, shooting just 30.8 percent for the game.

    “Overall, I did not think we played bad, but we have to have our shooters connecting,” said Fortner. “When that is not happening, it effects some other things we do and puts us in a bad position.”

    Tanner led the Tigers with 17 points off the bench. Fifteen of her 17 points came in the second half, fueling the Tiger comeback. She was the only Tiger to score in double figures in both tournament games, averaging 14.0 points per game for the two games.

    Muhammad, Auburn’s other selection to the all-tournament team, scored eight points with three steals. She averaged 10.0 points and 3.0 steals per game in the two games.

    Leading the Auburn rebounding effort was senior Parrisha Simmons with nine and sophomore Jassany Williams with eight. Williams, a Miami native, also scored six points with two blocked shots.

    “Jassany played inspired basketball today,” said Fortner. “She came off the bench and fought hard, really gave us a lot of energy.”

    FIU’s Zsofia Labady hit a 3-pointer on the Panthers’ first offensive possession, giving FIU a lead it would never surrender. The Panthers led by 10 midway through the half, but Auburn was able to cut it back down to four with 5:27 left in the period. FIU out-scored Auburn 10-5 to close out the period, taking a 31-22 halftime lead.

    The Panthers picked up right where they left off in the second half, quickly extending the lead back to double digits. FIU took its largest lead, 46-29, after a Coley 3-pointer with 11:37 left to play. Auburn then went on a 19-8 run, fueled by 11 points from Tanner, to cut the lead to six, but would come no closer.

    Three Panthers, Finda Mansare, Labady and Fanni Hutlassa, scored eight points each behind Coley’s 28. The Panthers shot 52.3 percent from the field for the game and 44.4 percent from 3-point range.

    Auburn will return to action at 2 p.m. CT, Sunday in the team’s Southeastern Conference opener against Tennessee (8-3). The game will air live on CSS.



    Lady Bulldogs Defeat Host Nevada at Peppermill Classic
                   
    RENO, Nev. – Mississippi State erased a 16-point second-half deficit as the Lady Bulldogs rolled past Nevada 67-63 in the consolation game of the Peppermill Classic played Friday  night at the Lawlor Events Center.
                   
    MSU bounced back from a 78-71 loss to Oklahoma State in the tournament’s opening round on Thursday night. With the victory, MSU completes the non-conference portion of its 2011-12 schedule with a 10-3 overall record.
                   
    “The first half was totally forgettable,” MSU head coach Sharon Fanning-Otis said. “We have to get the players to understand mental toughness. You have to have pride in the uniform you are putting on. Fortunately, things got a lot better and we played a solid second half.”
                   
    MSU had major offensive struggles in the first half. The Lady Bulldogs only shot 25 percent from the field, while hitting 9-of-36 shots, including 5-of-13 shots from 3-point range. The hole was established late in the first half and the Wolfpack (3-10) did a fine job of digging it deeper.
                   
    Nevada pulled away from an early 11-11 tie with eight straight points. MSU went better than four minutes without scoring before Porsha Porter rammed home a 3-point basket. After a steal and layup by Porter, Diamber Johnson hit a game-tying 3-point basket.
                   
    This time, Nevada went on the offensive attack. The Maroon and White went another four minutes without scoring as Nevada opened a 10-point advantage on a 3-point basket by Kate Kevorken.
                   
    Nevada shot 56.5 percent from the floor in the first half and led 35-24 at the intermission.
                   
    “We were not executing our assignments on defense,” Fanning-Otis said. “We had a great deal of difficulty in stopping the penetration. We didn’t have a lot of focus or intensity about what we were trying to do.
                   
    “When the shots aren’t falling, you have to be even better on the defensive end.”
                   
    The Wolfpack actually enjoyed a 16-point lead on three occasions, the last of which was at 47-31 with 15:23 left in the contest. Strong inside play by Catina Bett and Ashley Brown slowly sparked a comeback.
                   
    The Lady Bulldogs were within nine two minutes later. MSU got within six on a Porter layup at 59-53 with 9:16 left. Porter would later tie the teams at 59 as she capped an 11-0 run with a 3-point basket at the 7:26 mark.
                   
    Nevada quickly built the lead back to four before MSU answered with a Jerica James 3-pointer at the 5:27 mark. The Lady Bulldogs took the lead on a Shamira Johnson jumper with 2:40 left. Kendra Grant scored a critical insurance basket with 43 seconds left.
                   
    The MSU defensive effort saved the day as Nevada was held to two field goals over the final 9:47 of play.
                   
    “Our defensive intensity was much better in the second half,” Fanning-Otis said. “We hold them to 37 percent shooting in the second half and that is a number we can live with. We did a better job of taking care of the basketball on our offensive end and forcing some turnovers on the defensive end there late in the game.”
                   
    For the contest, the Lady Bulldogs hit 23 of 67 shots from the field (34.3 percent), 10 of 24 shots from 3-point range (41.7 percent) and 11 of 16 shots from the foul line (68.8 percent). MSU hit 10 second-half free throws after only attempting two in the first half. The Wolfpack hit 24 of 53 shots from the field (45.3 percent), 5 of 19 shots from 3-point range (26.3 percent) and 10 of 15 shots from the foul line (66.7 percent).
                   
    MSU held a 45-35 rebounding advantage. The Lady Bulldogs had 14 assists and 15 turnovers, while the Wolfpack had 15 assists and 18 turnovers.
                   
    Johnson had 23 points, four assists and three steals to pace MSU. Porter added 19 points, three assists and two steals. Robinson had a career-high 10 rebounds, while Bett had nine boards. James dished out a career-high five assists 13 minutes of playing time.
                   
    Kevorken paced the Wolfpack with 27 points and seven rebounds. Emily Burns had 11 points, while Amanda Johnson handed out eight assists.
                   
    MSU will open Southeastern Conference by hosting LSU at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Humphrey Coliseum.