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    SEC Bracket Sunday Roundup

    Kentucky 76, Mississippi State 40
    South Carolina 53, Arkansas 47
    Tennessee 75, Florida 59
    Auburn 46, Ole Miss 43
    Vanderbilt 67, Alabama 54
    Georgia 62, LSU 46

    Hoops Claims SEC Title Outright with Win at MSU

    STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) - A'dia Mathies and Bernisha Pinkett scored 13 points each to lead No. 13 Kentucky to a 76-40 victory Sunday over Mississippi State and clinch the Wildcats' first regular season Southeastern Conference title in 30 years.

    Kentucky (24-5, 13-3 SEC) opened the game on a 19-7 run and led 41-17 at the half. The Wildcats shot 40.3 percent (27-of-67) from the floor and hit 15-of-22 free throws. Kentucky will return home and celebrate its first title since 1982 later Sunday night on campus.

    MSU (14-15, 4-12) shot 26.4 percent (14-of-53) from the field in the loss and turned the ball over a season-high 33 times.

    Kendra Grant led MSU with 9 points.

    The Bulldogs finished the season on a four-game losing streak. The loss also marked retiring MSU head coach Sharron Fanning-Otis's last regular season game.


    Gamecocks Rise Over Razorbacks 53-47

    COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina closed its regular season with a 53-47 win over Arkansas, behind a defensive effort that shut down the Razorbacks’ leading scorer in the second half and a rebounding effort that yielded 18 of the 36 on the offensive glass. After celebrating their five seniors prior to tipoff, the Gamecocks (21-8, 10-6 SEC) trailed by as many as eight in the second half before senior guard La’Keisha Sutton hit a pull-up jumper to tie the game as part of her game-high 16 points. Fellow senior Charenee Stephens reeled in 11 rebounds, including six on the offensive end and eight total in the second half, to help hold Arkansas (21-7, 10-6) to just five field goals in the second half.

    “These seniors have put themselves in a position to take this program to another level,” South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley said. “They have been through a 10-18 season, and it didn’t feel good. We all looked at things and wanted to turn it around. It took us committing to one another and committing to being a student-athlete in its totality. It all has to work together, and it takes some time to mature. These seniors have matured.”

    Arkansas took a 28-26 lead into the locker room at halftime after using an 8-2 run to build a six-point lead with 2:46 to play. The Gamecocks fell behind early in the half as turnovers mounted. Courtney Newton’s 3-point from the left sideline and La’Keisha Sutton’s free throws knotted the game at 18-18 with 6:13 left in the period. The Razorbacks were relentless on their offensive glass over the next four minutes to surge ahead 26-20. Bruner scored twice from the left block, and Newton put back her own miss to cut the lead to two at the break.

    The Razorbacks again surged ahead early in the second half. Despite aggressive defense by the Gamecocks, Arkansas found ways to score late in the shot clock and put together a 10-4 run to go up 38-30 just five minutes into the half. South Carolina answered with a 14-4 spurt that put it on top for the first time in the game.

    Ieasia Walker kicked off the drive with a transition layup, during which she was fouled. She missed the resulting free throw, but Ashley Bruner sailed in for the rebound and stuck it back in to cut the Razorback advantage in half at 38-34. An Arkansas turnover set up another possession for South Carolina. A missed shot found Walker rising above the rest for the offensive rebound, which led to Charenee Stephens’ bucket from the right block. Quistelle Williams stretched the lead back to four with a bucket as the shot clock expired, but the Gamecocks kept up the pressure. Sutton drove in for a bucket then tied the score with a pull-up jumper at the free throw line. Walker rose up for a defensive rebound on the next Arkansas possession, and took it the full length of the court for a go-ahead layup with 10:02 on the clock.

    Arkansas continued to nip at the heels of the Gamecocks, much as South Carolina had done to the Razorbacks throughout the first 30 minutes of the game. Rebounding sealed the win, however, as Bruner’s tough board and put-back stretched the lead to four at 50-46 with 5:25 to play. Stephens snagged key rebounds on both ends of the floor and scored a transition layup with Sutton came up with a rebound off a well-timed leap and found her classmate streaking up the court. With the Gamecocks up by five with 1:19 left, Stephens delivered a decisive block on a sure layup from C’eira Rickets, and Markeshia Grant sealed the win at the free throw line.

    The win was South Carolina’s first on Senior Day since 2007 and gives the Gamecocks 21 regular-season wins for the first time since 2002-03. South Carolina closes its home season with a 12-3 mark, including a 6-2 record in SEC action. The Gamecocks also tied the program record for SEC wins in a season with 10, matching that of the 2001-02 team.

    Sutton’s 16 points and three assists led the offense, while Bruner finished the night with an impressive 15 points and eight rebounds, including six offensive. South Carolina shot 50.0 percent (13-of-26) in the second half while limiting the Razorbacks to just 5-of-24 in the final 20 minutes. The Gamecocks scored 42 of their 53 points in the paint and converted 19 points off 18 offensive rebounds.


    Senior Send-Off, #9 UT Tops UF, 75-59

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - With all five seniors in the starting line-up on Senior Day, the No. 10/9 Lady Vols rolled past Florida, 75-59, on Saturday afternoon before 18,563 at Thompson-Boling Arena.

    The Lady Vols (21-8, 12-4 SEC) enter SEC Tournament as the No. 2 seed and will face the winner of the No. 7-No. 10 seed game in the second game of the second round on Friday, March 2 at 2:30 p.m. That game will be televised on Fox Sports Net and can be heard on the Lady Vol Network.

    In her final regular-season home game, Glory Johnson led the Lady Vols with 21 points and 10 rebounds. It was her 10th double-double of the year. Senior Shekinna Stricklen added 15 points and Meighan Simmons tallied 12.

    Alicia Manning made the most of her Senior Day as she scored 11 points, grabbed eight rebounds and had five assists.

    It was also the final home game for Vicki Baugh and Briana Bass.

    Lily Svete led the Gators (18-11, 8-8) with 12 points while Jennifer George had 11 points and 11 rebounds.

    Tennessee jumped out to a 15-3 lead to start the game and never trailed the rest of way despite Florida staying within in striking distance throughout the game.

    The Lady Vols sealed the game on a Johnson breakaway lay-up with 2:05 left in regulation putting UT ahead 70-57. Manning's jumper gave the Lady Vols a 15-point lead.

    Back-to-back hoops by Manning and Stricklen regained a double-figure lead for the lady Vols at 59-48 with six minutes left. The teams then traded 3-pointers by Jones and Stricklen for a 62-51 UT lead with 5:18 left in game.

    Florida continued to hang around and cut the deficit to seven at 51-44 on a jumper by Ndidi Madu with 9:43 left in the second half.

    Johnson opened the second half with a quick lay-up just 14 seconds in, as the Lady Vols equalled their largest lead of the first half of 12 at 37-25.

    Tennessee led 35-25 at halftime as Johnson tallied 12 points prior to intermission including a last-second lay-up for the double-figure advantage.

    After Florida opened the game with a 3-pointer by Jones, the Lady Vols ran off 15 points in a row to take a 15-3 lead 6:07 into the action. Johnson had eight of those 15 points.


    Auburn Battles For 46-43 Win Over Ole Miss

    AUBURN – Auburn did not lead for 38 of the 40 minutes in Sunday’s game against Ole Miss, but it led the ones that mattered as the Tigers (13-16, 5-11 SEC) pulled out a 46-43 win over the Rebels (12-17, 2-14 SEC). The game was the regular-season finale for the Tigers as Auburn heads to the Southeastern Conference Tournament this week.

    Ole Miss led from the start and was ahead by four with 3:07 left in the game, but sophomore Tyrese Tanner stepped up in the final minutes to take control for Auburn. She scored on a tip-in with 2:46 left to play, drawing the foul for the three-point play, cutting the Rebel lead to one.

    She made good on one of two free throws on Auburn’s next possession to tie the game and nailed a pair with 1:50 left to give the Tigers their first lead of the game, 45-43, with 1:50 left. Junior Najat Ouardad extended the lead to 46-43 with 24 seconds left, helping the Tigers to the win.

    “It sure is nice to get the final win at home and the final win in the SEC season,” said Auburn head coach Nell Fortner. “I’m just really proud of how the team just kept fighting and kept believing until the end because it was not a pretty day for us. I don’t know if it was just a lid on the basket today, but we just had to really fight hard for every field goal we made.

    “The best part about it was they just believed until the end and just hung in there and made some great defensive stops, hit some big free throws. I thought Hasina Muhammad was just outstanding today. Just great fight in this team.”

    Muhammad, Auburn’s lone freshman on the roster, led the Tigers with 19 points and six steals. Her six steals tie her for 10th all-time at Auburn in single-game steals.

    She was followed by sophomore Tyrese Tanner with 14 points, six of which came in the final three minutes of the game. It was the 14th double-digit scoring effort for Tanner this season. Tanner also led the Tigers on the boards with seven, adding three steals along the way.

    Auburn struggled to find a rhythm in the first half, shooting just 26 percent from the floor. The Rebels opened the game on a 9-2 run, and widened the margin to 13 with 8:21 to play after a jumper from Tia Faleru who finished the half with seven points and six rebounds

    The Tigers chipped away at the lead, eventually cutting it to five at 22-17 with less than three minutes to play. Auburn went into the locker room trailing 24-17. Muhammad added eight points off the bench for the Tigers in the opening half.

    Auburn started the half on a 5-0 run to cut the Rebel lead to two, but could not get over the hump until the final minutes of the game.

    With 2:17 to play, Tanner tied the game, 43-43, hitting one of two shots at the line. A steal from Tanner resulted in a foul from the Rebels and Tanner hit a pair from the stripe to put the Tigers up by two and seal the win.

    Offensive rebounds were key for the Tigers as Auburn possessed the ball for 1:36 of the final 1:50 of the game. Najat Ouardad and Chantel Hilliard pulled down big offensive rebounds in the final seconds to keep the ball in Auburn’s hands.

    The game was Senior Day as the Tigers recognized Hilliard Morgan Jennings and Parrisha Simmons. It was also Fortner’s final home game as Auburn’s head coach. She was recognized by her staff, as well as current and former players in a video after the game.

    “It was just really nice, I look forward to going back and seeing it again,” said Fortner. “You never know what kind of impact you make on people, you don’t ever know. This is a special place, I’ve loved every minute of being here, so it’s nice to know that you’ve made a difference here.”


    VU stops the Tide on Senior Day

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Vanderbilt's women's basketball team put the skids on a two-game losing streak Sunday at Memorial Gym as the Commodores concluded the regular season with a 67-54 win over Alabama on Senior Day.

    With the win, the Commodores finished the regular season with a 21-8 record and 9-7 mark in league play. The Commodores will be the No. 7 seed in next week's SEC Tournament played in Nashville. The Commodores will play 10th-seeded Mississippi State at 2:30 p.m. Thursday. The winner will face second-seeded Tennessee on Friday.

    Alabama dropped to 12-18 overall and 2-14 in the SEC.

    The Commodores were paced by Christina Foggie's 18 points. Foggie capped the season as the SEC's leading scorer with an average of 17.9 points scored per game.

    The win also snapped a two-game losing streak for the Commodores on Senior Day. Vanderbilt's lone senior, Jordan Coleman got the start and tallied two points and four rebounds in her final home regular season game.


    Lady Bulldogs Cruise Past Lady Tigers

    ATHENS, Ga. --- The No. 18 Georgia Lady Bulldogs (22-7, 11-5) ended the regular season with a win over the LSU Lady Tigers (20-9, 10-6), 62-46, Sunday evening.

    Khaalidah Miller led Georgia with 14 points and six rebounds. Jasmine Hassell recorded 12 points, while Meredith Mitchell notched 10 points and five assists. Anne Marie Armstrong tallied seven in three different categories: points, rebounds and  a career-high for steals.

    “I thought we played terrific," said head coach Andy Landers. "Defensively, we were just outstanding and did what we needed to do. Offensively, LSU is a good team. They force you to do things that most teams don’t force you to do. We prepared as best we could for that and I thought we executed well on the offensive end. I think we played about as well as anyone could have expected.”

    LSU led a majority of the first eight minutes of the game, before an Erika Ford jumper sparked a 10-0 Georgia push that put the Lady Bulldogs up 18-9. Georgia built an eventual 10-point advantage and held on to the lead for the remainder of the first period.

    The Lady Bulldogs led 26-17 with two minutes remaining, before LSU used a 6-0 run to close out the first half and bring the score to 26-23.

    Georgia was led in the first period by Miller, who scored all 12 of her points from behind the three-point arc. The Lady Bulldogs controlled the turnovers and steals in the opening half, recording seven turnovers and six steals, while LSU notched 11 turnovers and five steals. Conversely, the Lady Tigers out-rebounded Georgia 19-13.

    The Lady Bulldogs continued to control the game in the second half, starting with a quick 4-0 run in the first 1:30. The Lady Tigers pulled within four, 34-30, with 14:28 on the clock, but Georgia scored on back-to-back possessions to increase its advantage, 38-30.

    LSU once again decreased Georgia's lead, this time closing the gap to six, 41-35, with 12:50 remaining. A Jasmine James trey then triggered a 12-0 Lady Bulldog surge that lasted four and half minutes and put Georgia up by 18, 53-35.

    The three minutes following Georgia's run were fairly uneventful, and a Lady Tiger free throw the only point scored. The final five minutes of the game were evenly matched, as LSU outscored Georgia 10-9. Georgia's 17-point lead entering the last five minutes allowed them to end the regular season with a 62-46 win.