"That was a pretty good stretch [of defense to start the game]," South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley said. "Our team was really buying into what the game plan was. For us, the magic trick is to do it for 40 minutes, and we're not there yet. We had a lot of lapses...[but] at the end of the game, I thought we did a better job from a defensive standpoint."
The Gamecocks opened play with a 16-1 run in the first half. South Carolina got out in front of the Lady Tigers and built a steady lead. Scoring was a team effort in the first half with Welch, Asia Dozier, Ieasia Walker and Sancheon White combining for 27 of the team's 40 points.
Walker began scoring for South Carolina draining a 3-pointer from the right wing. On the other end, Ashley Bruner snagged a defensive rebound that allowed Welch an opportunity for an easy layup. She also scored the Gamecocks' next two on a jumper from the right side. Welch's points were followed by back-to-back Savannah State turnovers that yielded layups from Tiffany Mitchell and White, giving the Gamecocks an 11-1 lead. Welch got to the free throw line for the Gamecocks, drained both and was followed to the line by Mitchell, who made one of her free throws to give South Carolina a 14-1 advantage. Khadijah Sessions capped the run with a long jumper from the top of the arc for a 16-1 seven minutes into the game.
On the other side of the ball, physical defense by South Carolina prevented Savannah State scoring from the field until there was 11:29 left in the half. Bruner helped lead the team on defense, snagging seven rebounds, six of them defensive, as the Gamecocks limited the Lady Tigers to one shot on nearly every trip down the floor.
The Gamecock lead stretched to 30-7 on a 14-6 run, which White kicked off with five straight points. Savannah State continued to struggle from the field, coming up empty on six straight possessions as South Carolina pulled away and never looked back.
Four Gamecocks finished the night in double figures behind Welch's 13 points. Dozier turned in 11 while Mitchell and Walker added 10 each. Bruner matched Welch's effort on the glass with 12 rebounds.
South Carolina is back in action at home on Sun., Nov. 18, at 3 p.m. against arch-rival Clemson. All general admission tickets for the game are $1 to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of Colonial Life Arena, which opened with a women's basketball game against Clemson on Nov. 22, 2002.
George Scores 20 As Gators Suffer First Loss
Senior Jennifer George scored a season-high 20 points but it wasn’t enough as the Gators faltered in their first road tip of the season, falling 98-67 at Florida State at the Donald L. Tucker Center Thursday night.
The Gators (2-1) were in control of the first 12 minutes of the game before Florida State ripped off a 28-2 run and the Gators would never recover.
“They did a great job of calling a timeout and making adjustments when we made a run and took the lead,” UF head coach Amanda Butler said. “Then they just outplayed us the rest of the ballgame. We didn’t do a good job coming out of timeouts of making adjustments. We did a horrible job of handling their zone which they played the entire game and I have to take the blame for that. We have to be ready to handle their zone pressure. You have to give them credit. They played like the team that they are, full of seniors with a couple of juniors. And we looked like all freshmen, unfortunately, with no upperclassmen. This is something we have to learn from, we were very exposed. When things were going our way we looked like Florida Basketball. When things didn’t go our way we didn’t handle the adversity at all.”
It was George’s fifth 20-point performance of her career, as she hit 9-of-15 from the floor and 2-of-5 from the free throw line. Florida’s lone senior was joined in double-figure scoring by Jaterra Bonds, who recorded 13 points and six assists. Sophomore Kayla Lewis added 10 points and seven rebounds for the Gators, who shot 35.6 percent (26-73) from the floor and committed 21 turnovers that Florida State converted into 33 points.
Four Seminoles (2-0) tallied a double-figure scoring effort, paced by Leonor Rodriguez’s 21 points. Natasha Howard added 18 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, pacing FSU’s effort on the boards where the hosts held a 46-36 advantage.
The teams traded buckets in the first seven minutes of the game, as FSU took a 10-7 lead. The Gators countered with a 7-0 spurt and took a 15-10 lead with 12:08 remaining in the first half, as George used a power move inside for the first bucket, Bonds followed by converted three consecutive free throws after begin fouled from beyond the arc and George capped the march with a three-point play.
The teams again exchanged scores before Sydney Moss nailed a three-pointer and Kayla Lewis completed a three-point play and gave the Gators a 23-14 lead with 10:16 on the clock.
FSU chipped away with the next five points before George scored again inside as part of a back-and-forth scoring trend.
With Florida holding a 27-21 lead with 8:15 remaining in the period, Florida State called a timeout and went on a devastating 28-2 run to end the half and take a 49-29 halftime advantage.
During the game-changing run, the Seminoles hit 12-of-17 shots from the field and outrebounded the Gators 12-2. George scored Florida’s lone basket, breaking up a 21-0 run with a tough inside shot, as the Gators turned the ball over six times during the span.
“We have to play really good teams on their home floor because that’s going to be a common thing for us this year,” Butler said. “Again, Florida State played great. Defensively, we did a horrible job defensively. When we did play good defense, we didn’t rebound and that was something in our preparation that we really, really harped on because we knew they were a really effective rebounding unit. We learned a hard lesion tonight.
“We’re not going to use anything as an excuse because I think we’ve got good ball players,” Butler said when asked if her team’s youth made a difference in the game. “Florida State made the experience gap very important. We played like a very scattered and inexperience team and they did a great job of looking primarily like a unit of seniors. That’s no excuse for the way we played. I’m really disappointed with our defensive effort. Defense and rebounding, I don’t care how many years you’ve been playing or who you’re playing against, you have to show up with a whole lot more toughness and awareness than we did.”
The Gators return to action on Monday when they play host to North Florida in the O’Connell Center beginning at 7 p.m. The first 250 students in attendance will receive a free dri-fit “All In” t-shirt, while it’s a Rowdy Reptiles Doubles Points Night and those students can check in at gate 2 and earn 8 points.
The radio call of the game can be heard live in Gainesville on The Star 99.5 FM, with the audio available free online thru www.Gatorzone.com, the official website of the Florida Gators. GatorVision.tv will provide live streaming video of the game for a small subscription fee.
Tennessee Runs Away From Rice For Second Straight Win
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The No. 20 Tennessee Lady Vols picked up their second win of the season on Thursday night with a 101-48 domination of Rice inside Thompson-Boling Arena. The Lady Vols (2-1) were led by Meighan Simmons, who dropped 22 points on the Owls to go along with five rebounds.
Simmons converted on eight of her 12 field goal attempts on the evening and the Lady Vols put together a stellar shooting performance as a team, converting on 56.8 percent of their shots. Just as it did over the weekend against Georgia Tech, Tennessee dug in defensively and limited Rice (1-1) to just 31 percent from the floor en route to the win.
Tennessee faced a small deficit in the early going, but that did not last long. Behind the offensive efforts of Simmons, Beshaara Graves and Isabelle Harrison, the Lady Vols pulled away from the Owls, leading by as many as 54 points. Graves chipped in 18 points in the winning effort, while Harrison dropped in 16 points of her own as well as a game-high 12 rebounds in a well-rounded performance.
"I think Izzy right now is a product of last year playing behind an All-American in Vicki Baugh and really taking everything in and learning,” said Tennessee head coach Holly Warlick. “It was difficult for Izzy to sit and not play a lot last year, but I think she went to work, she worked in the off season, has really put in the time in the preseason with Dean [Lockwood], and you're seeing the result of hard work and determination. I'm so proud of Izzy. She only played 18 minutes but I thought she had one of her better games."
Rice got off to a good start in Knoxville, but the Lady Vols were just too much for the Owls to handle, and the early energy was subdued. The Owls scored 22 points in the first eight minutes of play, but after that they struggled for every point against the stingy Tennessee defense that turned 22 Rice turnovers into 32 points.
"If you create 22 turnovers and you score 32 points off of those turnovers then you're doing something right, especially here at Tennessee because we stress so much defense and scoring off of our defense,” said Warlick. “I'm very pleased overall with the outcome."
Jessica Kuster and Megan Palmer led the way for Rice in the loss, scoring 16 and 15 points respectively.
Auburn Makes It Look Easy Against Alabama State
AUBURN - Five Tigers finished in double figures as Auburn cruised to an 80-43 win over Alabama State Thursday night at Auburn Arena. The win was the first home win for the Tigers this season and improves Auburn to 2-1. ASU fell to 0-1 in its season-opener.
"It felt great to just walk out there and see the crowd ready for us to play our first home game," said Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy. "It was really exciting."
Blanche Alverson led Auburn with 17 points, followed by Hasina Muhammad and Chadarryl Clay with 15 each. Tyrese Tanner scored 13 while Peyton Davis added a career-high 12. For Auburn, it was the first time to have five players in double figures since a 79-60 win over Jacksonville State on Dec. 30, 2010.
Defensively, Auburn applied the pressure to the Hornets, forcing 26 Alabama State turnovers that resulted in 28 Auburn points. It marked the third time in three games for Auburn to force more than 20 turnovers and the second time to force 25 or more. Auburn also scored more than 20 points off turnovers for the third time, tying a season-high of 28.
"In spots we looked really good, we were closing up our traps, we stepped it up in space, we got in the line of the ball and we were getting the steals, said Williams-Flournoy. "Then at times we were getting a little tired and we didn't move as fast. Those are the things we just need to work on. The effort has to always be there, because this is the way that we play."
Auburn held Alabama State to just two points for the first 8:12 of the game, holding a 16-2 lead at the time. The Tigers then went on a 20-4 run, taking their biggest lead of the half at 36-6 with 4:19 to go. Auburn took a 40-17 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Hornets kept pace with the Tigers early in the second half, but Auburn was able to eventually pull away, out-scoring Alabama State 40-26 in the half to take the 80-43 win. It was the largest margin of victory for Auburn since defeating in-state rival Alabama 81-40 last season.
After giving away some late runs to Alabama State, with the Hornets out-scoring Auburn for part of the period, Williams-Flournoy pulled her team together at the last media timeout for a defensive goal to finish the game.
"At the end of the game with almost four minutes left we gave them another defensive goal, because I didn't think that they were playing defense, so I had to threaten them a little bit and give them a defensive goal," said Williams-Flournoy. "They actually reached the defensive goal. It was 45."
Alverson led Auburn on the class with a game-high nine rebounds. Tanner and Davis pulled down seven each. Senior Julie King, in her first season on the team, led Auburn in assists with six while Najat Ouardad added five.
Defensively, Auburn totaled 16 steals with Muhammad leading the team with three. Alverson, Ouardad, Pascale West and King added two each.
For Alabama State, Nakiya Smith led all scorers with 25 points, including four 3-pointers. Ashley Jones pulled down a team-high seven rebounds.
Auburn will return to the court at 2 p.m., Sunday against Alabama A&M. Doors open at 12:30 p.m. CT at Auburn Arena and the game features a halftime performance by the Bama Air Dogs Frisbee Team.
Commodores Extinguish Blazers
NASHVILLE -- The Vanderbilt women's basketball team secured a 69-54 victory over UAB on Thursday, November 15, to run its record to 3-0.
Christina Foggie led the Commodores with 19 points. Tiffany Clarke added 14 points and seven rebounds.
Next up for Vanderbilt is a road contest at Dayton on Sunday, November 18. Tipoff at UD Arena is set for 1:00 p.m. CT.
Mizzou Earns Tough Win Over Western Illinois
Columbia, Mo. - Senior leader Sydney Crafton led the way for the Tigers (3-0) in their first close game of the year, as Mizzou took a hard-fought 70-61 win over the Western Illinois Leathernecks Thursday (Nov. 15) night in Mizzou Arena. Crafton's 19 points helped carried the team as Western Illinois kept fighting and kept the game close until the very end. Freshman Lianna Doty took advantage of her first start, tallying 14 points and forcing turnovers at key times to help the Tigers to their first close win of the year.
Missouri won the opening tip and quickly scored, with Crafton hitting a jump shot. Doty then forced a turnover and converted a layup on the other end. Crafton added on to the Mizzou lead with a layup, putting the Tigers ahead 6-0. After a Western Illinois timeout, the Leathernecks opened play with a three, cutting the lead in half. Doty answered on Missouri's next possession, draining a pair of free throws. A put back off an offensive board gave WIU two more points, but Liene Priede responded with a moving jumper in the lane for a 10-5 lead at the under-16 media timeout.
Priede nailed another shot after the break, but Western Illinois went on a mini 5-0 run to cut the deficit to 12-10. After a Leatherneck free throw cut the Mizzou lead to 12-11, Morgan Eye drained a three to extend the Missouri lead to 15-11. Darian Saunders then got on the board with a layup, building the Mizzou lead back to six. WIU split a pair of free throws, and Crafton made a layup to give the Tigers a 19-12 advantage. The Leathernecks answered with a layup, but Crafton made a pair of free throws to keep Mizzou up 21-14.
Western Illinois cut the lead to 21-16 before Kyley Simmons found Bri Kulas wide open under the hoop for an easy layup, and Priede then got her own assist on a fast break to put Missouri up 25-16. The Leathernecks then drained a three, and Crafton split a pair of free throws before another WIU three cut the lead to 26-22. Saunders then made another layup to put the Tigers back up six at the under-4 timeout. A Kulas free throw resumed play, and Priede hit another shot to put Missouri up nine before a WIU bucket and two free throws produced a 31-26 halftime score.
Western Illinois drained a three to start the second half, and Mizzou answered with a quick four points from Doty and Crafton for a 35-29 lead before a 5-0 run by the Leathernecks cut the Mizzou lead to 35-34. Eye nailed a three after the timeout, but the Leathernecks matched her effort on their next trip down the floor and made a layup for their first lead of the game on their next possession. Eye responded with another three, her third of the game, to give Mizzou a two-point lead once again. The teams then traded threes, with Doty connecting for the Tigers as they clung to a 44-42 advantage. Crafton then made a tough shot in the paint to boost the Mizzou lead to four before WIU answered with a jumper to make the score 46-44 at the under-12 media timeout.
Doty split a pair of free throws after the break, and the Leathernecks tied the game with a three. Liz Smith scored on a layup, and after WIU answered Simmons nailed a three for a 52-49 lead at the 9-minute mark. Smith connected on another shot to give the Tigers a five-point lead, but the Leathernecks got a quick layup to pull back within three. Doty answered with a jumper that was matched by Western Illinois, and a step-back three by the Leathernecks tied the game at 56. Crafton's reverse layup put Mizzou back up two, and Saunders matched the effort with a layup of her own for a four-point lead before Western Illinois quickly cut the deficit to 60-58 at the under-4 timeout.
Crafton opened play with a layup, and Doty came through with a big steal and layup to give the Tigers separation at 64-58. Eye drained a three to give Mizzou a 67-58 advantage, and Kulas's three to give the Tigers a 12-point lead proved too much for WIU, who fell 70-61.
The Tigers next head to Cancun for the Cancun Challenge, and return home for a November 29 matchup against SEMO. Check in to the team's twitter page (@MissouriWBB) or MUTigers.com for updates on the squad's trip to Meixco and all other team news.
Arkansas Wins In Overtime On the Road
TULSA, Okla. – University of Arkansas junior Keira Peak posted her first career double-double with a career-best 17 points and 14 rebounds leading the Razorbacks to a 64-56 overtime win at Tulsa Thursday.
Down three with 13 seconds remaining regulation, fifth-year senior Kelsey Hatcher drained a huge three-pointer to tie the back-and-forth game and send it into overtime. Arkansas moves to 2-0 on the year while Tulsa falls to 0-3 on the season.
“It was a designed play,” Arkansas head coach Tom Collen said. “The ball came out to her, she dribbled and made a defender fly by her, stepped back and hit it. It’s great to see her have that success after all of her hard work.”
As the physical game moved into overtime, it was Tulsa who scored first but Arkansas rallied to again tie the contest at 54. Tulsa stole the ball and their leading scorer, Taleya Mayberry, raced down the court but missed an open layup that seemed to knock the wind out of the home team’s sails.
Mayberry, the daughter of Arkansas great Lee Mayberry, finished with a game-best 20 points.
Arkansas rebounded the miss and Quistelle Williams was fouled. The Grand Rapids, Mich., native hit both giving Arkansas a 56-54 lead they would not surrender. Williams finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Senior Sarah Watkins had a quiet 14 points and five boards, while Hatcher and sophomore Calli Berna had eight each in the win.
Arkansas opened strong jumping out to an 11-2 lead at the first media timeout. The balanced early game scoring was led by Watkins with four points in the opening minutes.
The Golden Hurricane fought back and closed the gap to two points, 20-18 at the 5:32 mark, but Peak caught fire and scored eight points and pulled in four rebounds stretching the Arkansas lead to 28-18 with under five to play in the half.
The Razorbacks, however, hit a scoring wall and were unable to put the ball in the hoop in the final 4:02 of the period while Tulsa went on a 10-0 run to tie the game at 28 at the break. Tulsa hit four of its last six shots in the half paced by Mayberry who had 15 at the break.
Tulsa’s offense continued to shoot well to start the second half and the Razorbacks struggled to match the Golden Hurricane. The home team stretched the lead to seven with under eight minutes to play.
Arkansas broke the huddle from a media timeout and stepped up the defensive effort getting Tulsa flustered. They held Tulsa without a score from 8:20- 3:04, and tied the game at 49-all. The teams tossed up a flurry of shots without either team hitting a bucket. Tulsa finally broke the tie with a three pointer at the 3:04 from Mayberry forcing Arkansas to chase them once again.
The score would remain in Tulsa’s favor as the teams exchanged possessions until the one-minute mark. Tulsa turned the ball over when Watkins forced a steal but she missed the ensuing jumper and the rebound went to the opponent. That’s when Mayberry missed a key shot, Arkansas rebounded and Hatcher hit the shot to tie the game sending it to overtime.
The Razorback season continues Monday at Oral Roberts followed by a week-long trip to Hawai’i where Arkansas faces Oklahoma, Oregon and the host, Hawai’i.