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    SEC Sunday Women's Hoops Scoreboard

    South Carolina 65, Vanderbilt 60
    Arkansas 72, LSU 52
    Georgia 61, Ole Miss 47
    Kentucky 57, Florida 52
    Mississippi State 62, Auburn 57

    Gamecocks Rip Down 65-60 OT Win at #25/22 Vanderbilt

    NASHVILLE – South Carolina needed extra time but held off a charging No. 25/22 Vanderbilt team to score a 65-60 victory Sunday afternoon at Memorial Gymnasium. The Gamecocks (15-5, 4-3 SEC) snapped a three-game losing streak with what had previously delivered a seven-game win streak – stingy, disciplined defense, aggressive offense and gutty plays when they counted most. Senior La’Keisha Sutton finished with 20 points, including a career-high four 3-pointers, and five of the team’s nine points in overtime.

    The second half of the game was in fits and starts for both teams. The Commodores came out strong on the glass in the second half and closed within one just five minutes into the period. South Carolina’s forwards went to work with Ashley Bruner hitting 1-of-2 from the free throw line then adding a bucket off a hard Sutton drive to stretch the lead back to six points at 41-35 with 11:45 to play. Four aggressive points from Sutton, a traditional three-point play from Aleighsa Welch and another 3-pointer from Markeshia Grant gave the Gamecocks a 51-42 cushion, their largest of the game, with 5:56 to go.

    The Commodores were not finished, though, putting together a 12-6 run that brought them within a basket of the Gamecocks, with five of those 12 points coming at the free throw line. Jasmine Lister’s pair closed the gap to 54-52 with 3:46 to play. South Carolina was called for an offensive foul on its next possession, but the defense answered with a Welch block to stop Christina Foggie’s driving layup. The Commodores picked up a steal on the other end, but Ieasia Walker sprinted back to swat away what looked like an easy transition jumper from Foggie. The Gamecocks quickly turned that defense into offense as Walker snagged the rebound and found Sutton for a transition layup to stretch the lead back to four points with 2:25 to play.

    Stephanie Holzer put back a missed 3-pointer to cut the lead in half, and the Gamecocks could not connect on the other end. Foggie’s free throws with 24 seconds to play knotted the game at 56-56. South Carolina set up for a final play, but could not get a shot off against strong interior defense by Vanderbilt. The Gamecocks defended the turnover, however, and sent the game into overtime.

    In the extra period, Sutton took command immediately with her career-high fourth 3-pointer of the night. Vanderbilt answered with a traditional three-point play on the other end, but Sutton did not let up, delivering a pair of free throws for a 61-59 South Carolina lead. Both teams came up empty on their next possessions, but Tiffany Clarke hit a free throw on the next trip up the floor to cut the lead in half with 2:53 to play. After Grant buried a pair of free throws, neither team could find a rhythm on offense as defense took over. For the Gamecocks, Welch helped put the game away with a huge rebound on either end to maintain the lead. From there, South Carolina hit just enough free throws and played lock down defense, including Walker who drew an offensive foul from Stephanie Holzer after getting caught on the block with the Commodores’ forward with less than 30 seconds to play.

    The Gamecock offense was not efficient early, but 3-point shooting from Sutton and Grant helped South Carolina stay within striking distance of the Commodores through the first 12 minutes. In the final eight minutes, the tide changed in favor of the Gamecocks.

    South Carolina closed the first half with a 16-2 run as the defense routinely forced the Commodores to take tough shots at the end of the shot clock. On the other end of the floor, the forwards started the run as Charenee Stephens hit from the left block and Welch added the next three points on the next two possessions to pull within 19-16 with 5:05 left in the half. Vandy put back an offensive rebound to briefly interrupt the run, but the Gamecock defense did not allow anything else in the half. Walker hit a pair of free throws, and Sancheon White drained a 3-pointer from the left sideline to tie the game at 21-12 with 2:37 left before halftime. A pair of Vanderbilt turnovers led to a traditional three-point play from Stephens and a buzzer-beating deep 3-pointer from Sutton, which sent the team to the locker rooms with a 27-21 Gamecock advantage.

    Welch and Grant joined Sutton in double figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Welch’s nine rebounds led the team as did Sutton’s six assists. The Gamecocks committed just 14 turnovers while handing out 14 assists and blocking seven shots. For the second time in as many meetings, South Carolina held the nation’s most prolific 3-point shooting team well below its average as the Commodores hit just 3-of-17 from beyond the arc.


    Harris’ 17 leads to win at LSU

    BATON ROUGE, La. – Senior Lyndsay Harris scored 17 points leading four players in double figures as the University of Arkansas women’s basketball team defeated LSU, 72-52, Sunday.
    Arkansas moves to 14-5 overall and 3-4 in the SEC behind Harris’ season-high tying 17 points.  Senior Ashley Daniels added 11 and Baton Rouge, La., native Dominique Robinson and senior C’eira Ricketts had 10 each.
    LSU opened the game with a fast start and Arkansas was on their heels offensively.
    The Razorbacks used a 5-0 run to take an 18-17 lead they would expand to 38-22 in the first half.  Arkansas struggled early on the boards but finished strong leading by two at the break. 
    Arkansas got a three from Harris to take the one-point, 18-17, lead and hit four more from long distance as LSU’s 2-3 zone couldn’t get out in defense fast enough.
    The Razorbacks pressed and also played zone defense early in the game and LSU was flustered by Arkansas’ fast hands as they committed 12 first-half turnovers.
    The 16-point halftime lead was too much for LSU to overcome in the second half as Arkansas’ lead was never in doubt.
    The Razorbacks finished the game shooting 47.5 percent on 28-for-59 shooting.  Arkansas hit a season-best eight three’s, four by Harris, and was 8-for-9 from the line.  Arkansas forced LSU into 27 turnovers, a season-high for opponents, and grabbed a season-best 17 steals in the win.
    “Well, it was a good win for us,” said Arkansas head coach Tom Collen.  “We played with a lot of confidence and it was great to get a win on the road.”
    Arkansas has won three in a row against LSU, tying the longest win streak in the series.  It is the first time since 1995-96 that Arkansas has won consecutive games in Baton Rouge, La.

    Lady Bulldogs Start Fast, Top Ole Miss, 61-47

    OXFORD, Miss. --- No. 15 Georgia raced to a 30-2 lead and never looked back en route to a 61-47 victory over Ole Miss here on Sunday afternoon.

    "It would hard to imagine us playing much better out of the gate than we did today," Andy Landers said. "They moved. They passed. They cut. They caught. They shot. They defended. They crashed the boards and rebounded. You really couldn't ask for your basketball team to play any better than we did in the first half."

    Three Lady Bulldogs posted double-doubles – and career-best rebound tallies. Anne Marie Armstrong scored 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, Khaalidah Miller chipped in 13 points and 11 boards and Meredith Mitchell contributed 10 points and 14 rebounds for Georgia (16-4, 5-2 SEC).

    Jasmine Hassell added 11 points, and Erika Ford posted nine points and seven boards in 24 minutes of action.

    Tia Faleru led Ole Miss (12-8, 2-5 SEC) with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

    Five different Lady Bulldogs scored on the first five possessions as Georgia opened up an 11-2 lead just 3:37 into the game. Armstrong opened the scoring with a short jumper, followed by additional jumpers from Hassell and Mitchell, a three from Miller and a jumper by Ford.

    Georgia eventually scored on its first eight trips to the offensive end and expanded the lead to 18-2 during that run.

    The score bulged to 30-2 before Ole Miss finally notched its second field goal on a stickback by Nikki Byrd with 6:32 remaining. The teams matched buckets for the remainder of the period before the Lady Bulldogs finished the half by matching their largest lead at 43-15 on an Armstrong layup off a nifty assist from Mitchell.

    Georgia scored a season-low 18 second-half points after the game's outcome was all but decided.

    The Lady Bulldogs again played without Jasmine James and Krista Donald, who are nursing knee injuries.

    "The thing you don't have to worry about with this team and the position we're in with injuries and depth is that they are not going to pace themselves," Landers said. "They're not going to worry about how they're going to feel late in the game. They really go out there and pour it all down the funnel from the opening tip. The result of that is that we've been able to jump people and get very good early leads. We may lose a little of that as the game goes on but we still play hard and we defend well."


    Kentucky Holds Off Florida

    LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Kastine Evans scored all of her 10 points in the second half to help No. 6 Kentucky hold off Florida 57-52 Sunday.

    The Wildcats (18-2, 7-0 Southeastern Conference) created separation early in the second half. After playing to a 21-all halftime tie, Evans scored eight points during a 17-2 Kentucky run to open the second half.

    Florida led for much of the opening 20 minute, while the Wildcats couldn't find an offensive rhythm. Kentucky leading scorer A'dia Mathies was scoreless at halftime and finished with a season-low two points.

    Jordan Jones led the Gators (13-7, 3-4) with 13 points.

    Florida slowly chipped away at the lead, limiting the Wildcats to just three field goals in the game's final 10 minutes. The Gators pulled to 50-48 with 25.2 seconds left on Lanita Bartley's layup, but the Wildcats hit seven of eight free throws in the final 30 seconds to hold on.

    Mathies, the SEC's third-leading scorer, averaged 16.1 points prior to Sunday but shot 1 of 7 from the floor in 27 minutes against the Gators.

    Mathies has averaged 5.7 points in the three games since she scored 34 in a win over Tennessee on Jan. 12. She missed a pair of free throws with 1:01 left that allowed Bartley's layup to put Florida within one possession for the first time in about 19 minutes of play.

    Kentucky stretched its second-half lead as wide as 15 with 13:19 to play before the Gators had a 6-0 run to trim the deficit to single digits.



    STARKVILLE, Miss. –Mississippi State women’s basketball coach Sharon Fanning-Otis encouraged her team to keep believing Sunday afternoon.

    The Lady Bulldogs did believe. In the end, they believed enough to erase a 15-point first-half deficit to knock off Auburn 62-57 in a Southeastern Conference matchup played in the Humphrey Coliseum.

    “When we were down big we were in the huddle and asked the girls ‘Do you believe we can this game’?” Fanning-Otis said. “When you are down, you have to believe you can win. You don’t have any chance to come back unless you really believe you can make the plays to win a game.”

    MSU improved to 13-6 overall and 3-3 in league play, while Auburn fell to 10-10 and 2-5. The Lady Bulldogs won their first conference home game, while winning a third straight against Auburn for the third time in school history. MSU knocked off Auburn in this arena for the first time since a 75-68 overtime triumph in 2005.

    “We had to keep our heads in the game,” MSU senior guard Diamber Johnson said. “When your shots aren’t falling, how do you respond to that? We knew it was going to be a battle so our job was to stay committed to what we were trying to do. I am proud of the way we fought back.”

    The Lady Bulldogs had a first-half stretch where it went close to 10 minutes without scoring a single point. Auburn scored 13 straight points during the draught to pull away from an 11-11 tie. Auburn later ran the lead to a game-best advantage at 28-13 on a layup by Jassany Williams.

    MSU got the final seven points of the first half, including a 3-pointer as the extended first half horn expired, pulling the Lady Bulldogs within 28-20 at the intermission.

    Despite the struggles, the hosts did shoot 36.4 percent from the field in the first half. However, the stat sheet also showed Auburn with 12 more shots from the field and a plus-11 rebounding advantage. MSU also did not aid its cause with 12 turnovers in the first half.

    “The key to the second half was a positive turnover-to-assist ratio,” Fanning-Otis said. “We turn the ball over four times in the second half. They have two really good 3-point shooters and we did a better job of locating them in the second half.”

    Johnson also sparkled in the game’s final half, as she totaled 17 of her game-high 27 points in the final half. The Pontotoc native is now 19th all-time on the MSU scoring list, while needing only 48 more points to hit 1,000 for her Bulldog career.

    Auburn scored the first four points of the second half, before the Maroon and White express began to rally. An old-fashioned 3-point play by Johnson brought the hosts within 38-34.

    Down 43-36, the Lady Bulldogs scored 10 straight points to storm ahead. Kendra Grant was fouled on a 3-point make, which brought the team within 43-42. A Porsha Porter layup gave MSU a 44-43 lead.

    The lead was short-lived as Auburn moved back on top 53-48 with 6:22 left. MSU finally pulled back even at 55 on back-to-back jumpers by Johnson with 3:39 left. Another Johnson score gave MSU a 57-55 lead.

    After Auburn tied the game, a steal by Martha Alwal led to one successful free throw by Porter for a 58-57 lead with 2:00 left. Alwal then had a critical defensive rebound, which led to two free throws by Johnson with 1:35 left. An Alwal layup closed out the scoring with 40 seconds left.

    “If a team continues to work hard and learns how to play together, they can find a way to win some games,” Fanning-Otis said. “That is what we have done this week.”

    For the contest, the Lady Bulldogs hit 25 of 54 shots from the field (46.3 percent), 6 of 22 shots from 3-point range (27.3 percent) and 6 of 18 shots from the foul line (33.3 percent). The Tigers hit 21 of 60 shots from the field (35.0 percent), 7 of 18 shots from 3-point range (38.9 percent) and 8 of 12 shots from the foul line (66.7 percent).

    Auburn held a 45-32 rebounding advantage. The Lady Bulldogs had 12 assists and 16 turnovers, while the Tigers had 13 assists and 22 turnovers.

    Grant added a career-high 15 points for the Lady Bulldogs. Alwal just missed a double-double with nine points and a team-high 10 rebounds, to go along with five blocked shots.