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    SEC Women's Basketball Today: February 23

    women's BASkEtBALL RESULTS
    Kentucky 53, South Carolina 50
    Arkansas 72, Tennessee 71
    Georgia 87, Ole Miss 52
    Florida 79, Mississippi State 45
    Auburn 81, Alabama 40
    LSU 69, Vanderbilt 66

    No. 13 Kentucky women defeat South Carolina 53-50

    LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- A'dia Mathies scored 21 points and the No. 13 Kentucky women defeated South Carolina 53-50 on Thursday night.

    The win give the Wildcats a 17-0 home record this season, the third time in program history they have gone undefeated at home.

    Bria Goss added 14 points for the Wildcats (23-5, 12-3 Southeastern Conference), who set a school record for SEC wins in a season.

    Neither team led by more than six points until Kentucky went on a 9-2 run and built a nine-point lead at 48-39 with 5:05 remaining in the game. Mathies capped the run with a layup. But South Carolina battled back, trimming the deficit to 50-48 on a basket by Ashley Bruner with 42 seconds to go. Kentucky sealed it with three free throws in the final 10 seconds.

    La'Keisha Sutton scored 14 points, and Bruner had 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Gamecocks (20-8, 9-6).



    Arkansas beats No. 10 Tennessee 72-71 in overtime

    WATCH GAME HIGHLIGHTS HERE

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Lyndsay Harris scored 20 points and hit a pair of free throws with 6 seconds left to help Arkansas beat No. 10 Tennessee 72-71 in overtime on Thursday night.

    The Lady Razorbacks became the second Southeastern Conference team this season to win in Knoxville, a place where the Lady Volunteers previously had not lost a conference game for nearly four years. South Carolina got its first win in Knoxville on Feb. 2.

    Shekinna Stricklen hit a layup for Tennessee with 48 seconds left to play to cut Arkansas' lead to 70-69. The Lady Vols got the ball back when Keira Peak lost it out of bounds under the Arkansas basket.

    Peak fouled Stricklen, who missed both of her free throws with 10 seconds left. Kamiko Williams then fouled Harris, who sealed the win for Arkansas (21-6, 10-5 Southeastern Conference) at the foul line.

    Peak then fouled Ariel Massengale to keep the Lady Vols from attempting a 3-pointer to tie the game. Massengale hit both of her foul shots, and Quistelle Williams missed a pair of free throws for Arkansas with 3 seconds left, but Stricklen couldn't get a half-court shot off before the buzzer sounded.

    The Lady Vols held a 62-60 lead with 48 seconds left in regulation but let C'eira Ricketts run right by them and dish the ball to Sarah Watkins, who hit a layup to tie the game at 62 points with 9 seconds left and force overtime.

    Watkins had 18 points, and Ricketts finished with 16 points.

    Stricklen led Tennessee (20-8, 11-4) with 17 points, all scored after halftime. Glory Johnson scored all 13 of her points in the second half.

    Both teams struggled hanging on to the ball. Arkansas committed 21 turnovers and Tennessee 19.

    The Lady Vols defense had some success frustrating the Lady Razorbacks, who committed four shotclock violations.

    But when Arkansas could get a shot off, it often was a good one. The Lady Razorbacks shot 11 of 19 in the first half and finished 50 percent from the floor.

    Watkins drained a 3-point shot and followed with a long jumper to give Arkansas a 21-16 lead with 7:29 in the first half, and the Lady Razorbacks entered halftime with a 31-26 lead -- nearly matching their points total in their 69-38 loss to the Lady Vols on Jan. 8.

    Arkansas managed to keep Tennessee off the boards and out of the paint in the first half. The Lady Razorbacks outrebounded the Lady Vols 14-8 and limited them to 9-for-20 shooting before halftime.

    Tennessee found some life after halftime from Stricklen and Johnson, who were a combined 0-for-4 with no rebounds in the first half.

    Stricklen sank a pair of 3s to pull Tennessee within two points, and Ariel Massengale stole the ball from Ricketts and hit a layup to tie it at 44 points with 12:08 to go. Johnson came up with key rebounds and found her way to the rim and free-throw line to help the Lady Vols keep a slight edge until just before the end of regulation.

    Tennessee had entered the game tied with Kentucky for first place in the SEC, but the Wildcats regained sole control of the conference with a win against South Carolina on Thursday night with one game left to play. The Lady Vols dropped to second place.

    Arkansas moved into a tie for third place with Georgia.



    No. 18 Georgia women pull away from Ole Miss 87-52

    ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- Meredith Mitchell scored 20 points and 18th-ranked Georgia pulled away in the second half for an 87-52 Southeastern Conference victory over Mississippi on Thursday night.

    Jasmine Hassell added 15 points and Anne Marie Armstrong and Khaalidah Miller had 14 apiece for the Lady Bulldogs (21-7, 10-5), who came into the game tied for third in the league with Arkansas, LSU and South Carolina.

    The Rebels (12-16, 2-13), who lost their 10th straight, trailed 36-34 at the half and tied it 39-39 with 18:53 left before Georgia took control with a 15-0 run.

    Mitchell scored 14 of her points and Armstrong 12 in the second half, when the Lady Bulldogs, who lost 61-57 to Florida on Sunday, outscored Ole Miss 51-18, outshot the Rebels 54.8 percent (17 of 31) to 21.7 percent (5 of 23) and outrebounded them 29-8.

    Valencia McFarland had 22 points and six assists to lead Mississippi.



    UF Women’s Basketball Downs Mississippi State in Home Finale, 79-45

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of Florida women’s basketball team used another balanced offensive attack and a strong defensive effort in a 79-45 rout of Mississippi State Thursday evening in the Gator’s final regular-season home game.

    All 10 Gators who dressed out for the game scored en route to earning their largest margin of victory this year and posting their sixth consecutive home win. It was the sixth time this year every eligible Gator contributed offensively.

    With the victory, Florida (18-10) ensured no worse than a .500 record in Southeastern Conference action, as the team takes its 8-7 league mark to Knoxville on Sunday and plays No. 10/9 Tennessee in the final regular-season game for both teams. Tip-off from Thompson-Boling Arena is set for 3:30 p.m. and will be televised live on ESPNU. The Lady Vols (20-8, 11-4 SEC) were upset on Thursday by Arkansas, 72-71 in overtime.

    “It was a really big win for us. It was really important for a lot of reasons,” Head Coach Amanda Butler said. “Most importantly for our team tonight was to finish in great fashion on our home court for our group of seniors. With our win over Georgia on Sunday, we needed to come in, show a lot of maturity and poise going forward with this game, the next and the SEC Tournament ahead.”

    Senior Jordan Jones (Suwanee, Ga.) led Florida in scoring with 18 points, as she tied her Gator career-high with six three-pointers on 12 attempts. Senior Azania Stewart (Wood Green, England) and junior Jennifer George (Orlando, Fla.) added to Florida’s compelling victory, scoring 13 and 12 points respectively. Stewart also pulled down 11 rebounds to record her second double-double of the season, while George corralled eight and helped the Gators win the rebounding battle, 51-29. Senior Ndidi Madu (Antioch, Tenn.) pulled down eight boards to accompany six points.

    As a team, the Gators shot 43.3 percent from the field while holding Mississippi State to 30.9 percent, including 27.6 percent in the first half when the Bulldogs managed just 18 points, the second-fewest by a Gator opponent in the first half this season.

    With 2:08 remaining in the second half, all five seniors checked into the game one final time, as they played out their last home appearance together. The Gator quintet contributed greatly in the win, combining for 47 points and 29 rebounds.

    Joining Jones, Stewart and Madu were seniors Lanita Bartley (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Deana Allen (Houma, La.), as Bartley led the Gators with five assists and Allen chipped in seven points with three assists and a pair of rebounds.

    Florida began the game with an 11-0 run and never looked back, as the Bulldogs couldn’t find the bottom of the net until Kendra Grant hit a three at the 14:54 mark.

    The Gators scored three consecutive three-pointers in their 11-0 run to start the game. Two of those baskets came from Jones and the other triple was from sophomore Jaterra Bonds (Gainesville, Fla.), who finished with nine points and three assists.

    The Gators saw their largest lead of the first half at the 6:15 mark when Stewart’s layup put them ahead, 25-9, en route to a 33-18 halftime advantage.

    Florida continued to build on its lead in the opening minutes of the second half, when George sank a layup and Jones tacked on a trey. From there, the Gators ran away with the game seeing their largest lead at 36 with 16 seconds left to play in the game.

    Porsha Porter was the only Bulldog in double-figure scoring, as she led MSU (14-14, 4-11 SEC) with 17 points.



    Auburn Beats Alabama, 81-40

    WATCH GAME HIGHLIGHTS HERE


    AUBURN – The Auburn women’s basketball team snapped a five-game losing streak with an 81-40 win over Alabama on Thursday night in Auburn Arena. The Tigers improved to 12-16 (4-11 SEC), while the Crimson Tide fell to 12-17 (2-13 SEC).

    “It’s a nice way to end my coaching (career) here at Auburn, playing Alabama and going out with that one,” Auburn head coach Nell Fortner said. “You know when you’re an Auburn coach, playing Alabama is a big game.

    “That one felt good. I thought we just played for 40 minutes, and it was good to do that. If this team starts kind of riding that wave a little bit, and let’s see what we can do. It was a good night. We shot the ball, and the defense was good. It was nice to see that happen for these players.”

    The 41-point win ties Auburn’s largest margin of victory this season after defeating USC-Upstate 75-34 on Nov. 27, 2011. The 47 first-half points are the most points scored in a half this year and the 81 points in the game are a season-high.

    The win also marks the second-highest margin of victory over Alabama for the Tigers, the most since a 45-point win (89-44) on Feb. 18, 1989, in Auburn.

    Auburn was led in scoring by sophomore Tyrese Tanner with a career-high 23 points. It was Tanner’s third game of the season scoring 20 or more points and her second career 20-point game against Alabama after scoring 20 against the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa in a 65-55 win earlier this season.

    With her 23 points, it was also the seventh 20-point game for an Auburn player this season and the seventh time this season (eighth of her career) in which Tanner led the Tigers in scoring.

    Blanche Alverson tied her career-high with five 3-pointers and Camille Glymph added three, giving each player 53 on the season and tying them for 7th all-time at Auburn in single-season 3-pointers with Tamela McCorvey (2006-07).

    Junior Najat Ouardad earned a career-high 10 points and picked up her first double-digit scoring game of her Auburn career. Senior Parrisha Simmons tallied a career-high five steals.

    Auburn got out to an early lead over Alabama and never looked back. With a 6-5 lead with 17:21 remaining in the first half, the Tigers went on a 14-0 run to extend the lead to 15 with 12:25 remaining. The Crimson Tide wouldn’t come within 12 points of Auburn the rest of the night.

    Alabama was plagued by turnovers, tallying 29 on the night with 19 in the first half alone. The Tigers capitalized on their opponent’s mistakes, picking up 37 of their 81 points off turnovers.

    With a 47-23 lead at the half, the Tigers outscored Alabama 34-17 in the second half. After increasing the lead to 57-25 with 16:14 to play, Auburn kept the lead at more than 30 points until the finish.

    Alabama was led by Jessica Merritt with 15 points and six rebounds. Aneesah Daniels added six points and nine rebounds.

    Auburn will close out the regular season at 2:30 p.m., Sunday against Ole Miss (12-16, 2-13 SEC) at Auburn Arena. The Rebels are coming off an 87-52 loss at Georgia on Thursday. The game will be Senior Night, recognizing Chantel Hilliard, Morgan Jennings and Parrisha Simmons. It will also be Nell Fortner’s last home game as Auburn’s head coach.



    Barrett Leads Lady Tigers to Sixth-Straight Win

    WATCH GAME HIGHLIGHTS HERE

    BATON ROUGE -- On a night when five seniors were recognized in their final regular season home game, All-America candidate LaSondra Barrett scored 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as the LSU women’s basketball team notched its sixth consecutive win, 69-66, over 24th-ranked  Vanderbilt in front of a raucous crowd of 5,745 on Thursday evening in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

    The Lady Tigers (20-8, 10-5 SEC) secured their first 20-win season since 2010 and remained in a tie for third place in the Southeastern Conference standings with one final regular season game remaining at No. 16 Georgia on Sunday. That game will be televised live on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com at 4 p.m. CT.

    A win against the Lady Bulldogs on Sunday would lock up the No. 3 seed and a first round bye for LSU in next week’s SEC Tournament in Nashville. The only way the Lady Tigers do not secure a first round bye (top-four seed) is the combination of a loss at Georgia and Arkansas beating South Carolina in Columbia. The first round gets underway on Thursday with the quarterfinals set for Friday.

    “I can’t say how proud I am to be a part of this,” said LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell. “We have five great seniors, and they have meant a lot to this program. Tonight, they showed their toughness and how courageous they can be. They just made plays when they needed to. We’re very thankful for this senior class. I told them that we still have one more regular season game to go, and we have some unfinished business. If they come with that same type of intensity and attitude, they will definitely go out of here on a great note.”

    Vanderbilt (20-8, 8-7 SEC) saw a three-game winning streak against LSU come to an end. The Commodores, who lead the SEC in field goal percentage, shot 43.1 percent for the game. Christina Foggie was one of three Commodores in double-figures, scoring 17 points.

    Barrett finished 12-of-15 from the free throw line, moving into third place in LSU career free throws made with 455 and second place in LSU career free throws attempted with 607. Courtney Jones added 13 points, seven rebounds and three steals. Adrienne Webb fired in 6-of-11 from the floor for 12 points.

    All five LSU seniors started, including injured point guard Destini Hughes. Hughes was an honorary starter and on the floor at the opening tip. LSU controlled the tip and passed it to Hughes who tossed it out of bounds and was lifted from the game to a standing ovation from the crowd and her teammates. The classy move was envisioned by Caldwell and Hughes and Vanderbilt head coach Melanie Balcomb agreed to it.

    “That type of giving that (Coach) Melanie (Balcomb) did for Destini and for our program is just a testimony to her being a great person,” said Caldwell. “She was looking at the overall situation, and we definitely appreciate her giving Destini the chance to stand out there. That’s something that Destini will take with her the rest of her life.”

    Vanderbilt led 47-42 with 12:13 to go in the game but LSU responded with a 13-2 run. Lutley drained two free throws and then found Jones in transition for a beautiful layup after Theresa Plaisance swatted a Foggie shot. Plaisance nailed a three from the right wing and LSU led 55-49 with 6:30 remaining.

    Taylor Turnbow got into the senior night scoring act finding Jeanne Kenney for a transition bucket and knocking down two free throws. With the Lady Tigers up 65-63, Jones and Barrett closed the game out at the free throw line, burying LSU’s final four points.

    LSU, which improved to 4-0 against ranked teams at home, finished 45.7 percent from the floor and dominated the boards, 41-21.