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    SEC Women's Basketball Today: November 23

    women's BASkEtBALL RESULTS
    Kentucky 73, Morehead State 37
    Georgia 84, St. Bonaventure 48
    South Carolina 65, Florida Gulf Coast 46
    Virginia 73, Vanderbilt 66
    Oklahoma 73, Arkansas 70
    Florida 66, N.C. State 64
    San Diego State 78, Auburn 57
    Texas A&M 88, Southern 48
    Green Bay 55, Missouri 33
    LSU 71, West Virginia 63

    Kentucky Blasts Morehead State, 73-37

    Samarie Walker had 15 points and 13 rebounds as No. 9 Kentucky thumped Morehead State, 73-37 on Friday in Lexington.

    Kentucky dominated the boards, outrebounding the Eagles 63-21 in the game. Kentucky had 26 second-chance points in the gam. The Wildcats also forced MSU into 24 turnovers, turning those into 26 points.

    DeNesha Stallworth also had a double-double in the game, with 10 points and 10 rebounds. A'dia Mathies had 13 points for Kentucky an Bria Goss added 10.

    No Morehead State player scored more than six points. Both Whitney Kyle and Mackenzie Arledge had six for the Eagles.
     




    Lady Bulldogs Thump St. Bonaventure, 84-48

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Khaalidah Miller poured in 22 points to lead five Lady Bulldogs in double figures as No. 8 Georgia rolled past St. Bonaventure, 84-48, in the opening round of the University of New Mexico's Thanksgiving Tournament on Friday.

    Tiaria Griffin added 14 points, Jasmine James chipped in 12, Anne Marie Armstrong scored 11 and Merritt Hempe finished with 10. James also dished out a game-high six assists and Miller collected five steals.

    "I thought we were impressive at a number of things at times," head coach Andy Landers said. "In the first half, I thought we rebounded the ball, ran the floor and forced turnovers. In the second half, I thought we shot the ball better. We shot the three-ball well…really the first time all season we've done that. All in all, it was a very solid performances with contributions from a number of different folks."

    Georgia outrebounded the Bonnies, 21-13, in the opening period and forced 15 turnovers. The Lady Bulldogs connected on 60 percent of their field goals in the second stanza.

    Georgia's seniors quickly gave the Lady Bulldogs a 7-0 lead less than a minute into the game as Jasmine Hassell opened the scoring with a jumper, James popped a three and Armstrong scored on a layup.

    The lead reached 10 points for the first time after back-to-back threes from Griffin put Georgia up 19-7 at the 8:23 mark. That margin quickly grew to 20. Consecutive buckets by Hassell, Miller and Shacobia Barbee put the Lady Bulldogs up 31-10 with 3:34 left in the half.

    Georgia's first-half offensive onslaught was well balanced. Nine different Lady Bulldogs scored, with five players scoring between five and nine.

    For the game, the Lady Bulldogs shot 50.0 percent from the floor and 47.6 percent from three-point range. Georgia had 21 assists on 30 made field goals and committed just 14 turnovers.

    The Lady Bulldogs will face the winner of Friday's second game between New Mexico and North Texas in Saturday's championship game at 9 p.m. ET.

    Georgia's next home game is next Wednesday against Furman at 7 p.m.






    Welch’s Double-Double Leads Gamecocks Past FGCU, 65-46

    ST. THOMAS, U.S.V.I. - South Carolina used good starts in both halves to out-shoot Florida Gulf Coast for a 65-46 win in women’s basketball action on day two of the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam. The Gamecocks (6-0) got another double-double from Aleighsa Welch (14 pts/11 rebs), her second in as many games at the event and out-rebounded the Eagles 46-20 in the victory

    Early in both halves, the Gamecocks focused on taking the ball right at the rim. Welch and Ashley Bruner did the damage in the opening minutes of the game, scoring the game’s first eight points, including six by Welch, while the defense forced four turnovers on Florida Gulf Coast’s first five possessions.

    The teams traded 3-pointers just before the Eagles opened a 7-2 surge, capped by Taylor Gradinjan’s 3 from the left wing that brought her team within three at 13-10 midway through the half. After a pair of empty possessions for both teams, Bruner and Asia Dozier got the Gamecock offense rolling for a 14-6 run, most of which came on inside work.

    Bruner kicked off the spurt with a move in the paint, and, after a steal on the other end, Dozier buried a pull-up jumper from the right side to put the Gamecocks up by seven. Sarah Hansen drove for two of her 11 first-half points, but Bruner went right back to work on the block. A turnover yielded a Hansen layup, which Ieasia Walker answered with a 3-pointer from the right wing. Welch netted the next three points on a free throw and a baseline jumper. Sancheon White picked up a steal and converted the resulting layup for a 27-16 South Carolina lead with just over three minutes left in the period.

    Three 3-pointers from FGCU narrowed the gap to six by halftime with the Gamecocks taking a 32-26 lead into the locker room. After the break, South Carolina returned more aggressive and eager to get to the rim. Mitchell drove for a layup early in the half, then dropped a sweet assist off for White in transition off a rebound. Yet another defensive rebound had Walker out quickly on the break, and the senior drove deep into the lane before finding White charging in from the left side to collect the pass and hit another easy layup, giving South Carolina its largest lead of the game at 38-26 just over two minutes into the second half.

    Following a transition layup from Mitchell and a short jumper by the Eagles, Bruner scored the game’s next seven points to stretch the lead to 47-28 at the 12:46 mark. From there, the Gamecocks held FGCU at bay with solid rebounding and aggressive defense on the perimeter, not allowing the Eagles’ 3-point shooters to get dialed in.

    Six of Welch’s 11 rebounds cameo on the offensive end, while Mitchell matched her for game-high honors with 11 rebounds of her own. Bruner led the offense with 15 points, and White rounded out the trio of double-figure scorers with 11 points to go with her three steals. Mitchell led the way with three assists, adding eight points. South Carolina shot 44.3 percent from the field and grabbed 24 of its 46 rebounds on the offensive end.

    The Gamecocks will vie for the title of the Reef Division on Saturday, taking on DePaul, which also won its first two games this weekend, at 3:30 p.m. (ET).
     



    Vanderbilt Falls to Virginia, 73-66

    Christina Foggie had a season-high 26 points, but it wasn't enough as Vanderbilt lost to Virginia, 73-66 on Friday at the San Juan Shootout in Puerto Rico.

    Vanderbilt shot only 36.4 percent from the floor in the game, compared with Virginia's 53.1 percent.

    Virginia also won the battle of points off the bench, 28-14, led by Jazmin Pitts' career-high 20 points.
     



    Peak drops in 30 in Arkansas loss
         
    HONOLULU, Hawaii – University of Arkansas junior Keira Peak dropped in 30 points but the Razorbacks fell just short against No. 13 Oklahoma in Honolulu, Hawai’i, Friday at the Marriott Waikiki Beach Classic.
                
    Arkansas (3-1) suffered through a 15-0 Sooner (3-1) run in the first half falling 73-70 Friday.
                
    “We battled back and fought hard but just came up a bit short,” Arkansas head coach Tom Collen said.  “I’m so proud of the way this team battled back and stayed together, especially down the stretch.”
                
    Peak posted a career-best 30 points behind a 12-for-19 night that included four three pointers and a 2-for-2 night from the line.
                
    The Razorbacks, however, struggled offensively, especially in the first half.  The Razorbacks finished shooting 35 percent on 23-for-66 from the floor but Arkansas hit just five threes on the night and shot only 23 percent in the first half.
                
    “This is a tough game to drop but it is a great learning experience,” Collen said.  “We have to be more balanced take care of the ball down the stretch.”
                
    Arkansas trailed 26-19 at the break after allowing OU the 15-0 run in the mid to late first half.  The second half started with a steal and layup by sophomore Calli Berna.  The Fayetteville, Ark., native finished with 16 points and four rebounds.
                
    Peak then hit for a short jumper and Berna was fouled making both bonus shots.  The free throws closed the OU lead to three, 28-25, and Arkansas was back in business.
                
    Arkansas would play OU close throughout the second half and eventually tied the game at 28 with 12:54 to play.  The Razorbacks even managed to lead a couple of times late but the inside game of the Sooners was tough for Arkansas to match up with.
                
    The Razorbacks were a point away, 61-60, with less than three minutes to play but game-long foul troubles became a factor when senior Sarah Watkins fouled out.   Arkansas was never able to regain the lead.
                
    One of the keys for the Razorbacks early in the season has been the team’s balance but the Razorbacks struggled Friday with only two players, Peak and Berna, in double figures. The Razorbacks also lost the rebounding battle, 40-32, and allowed 42 points in the paint to the Sooners.
                
    The Razorbacks return to the floor Saturday taking on host Hawaii, followed by the tournament’s final game against Oregon on Sunday.
     




    UF’s Carlie Needles’ Late Three-Pointer Lifts Gators over N.C. State, 66-64

    LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Carlie Needles (Highlands Ranch, Col.) hit a three-pointer with six seconds remaining and helped the Florida women’s basketball team earn a hard-fought 66-64 victory against N.C. State on Friday in the first day of action at the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout at the South Point Arena in Las Vegas.

    There were 14 lead changes and 13 tied scores in the game, as the Gators improved to 4-1 this season and handed the Wolfpack (4-1) their first loss of the year.

    With N.C. State using a 7-0 run to take a 54-49 lead with 5:58 remaining, Florida’s Vicky McIntyre (Omaha, Neb.) hit an 8-foot baseline jumper to halt the spurt and spark a 5-1 march for the Gators, who closed to within 55-54 with 4:30 on the clock.

    The Wolfpack came right back with an offensive rebound putback by Kody Burke, but the Gators rallied as Jaterra Bonds (Gainesville, Fla.) converted two free throws, Sydney Moss (Union, Ky.) banked in a six-foot pull-up jumper on a fast break and Jennifer George (Fresno, Calif.) hit one free throw and Florida took a 59-57 advantage with 2:37 remaining.

    As the entire game flowed, both teams answered each other’s run with one of their own and N.C. State came right back with one free throw followed by a three-pointer from Marissa Kastanek and the Pack regained the lead, 61-59, with 1:43 to play.

    Florida called a timeout to settle and Needles came out of the 30-second break nailing her second of three three-pointers and swung the lead back to the Gators, 61-62, with 59 seconds remaining.

    N.C. State then called a timeout and Florida seemed to play solid defense, as Burke missed an outside jumper that was tipped, but the Gators couldn’t find the flailing ball in the air, as it landed right into Markeisha Gatling’s waiting arms under the basket and she put in the short uncontested jumper that gave the Pack the lead with 42 seconds left.

    Florida missed its shot on its next offensive possession and N.C. State collected the rebounded and the Gators were forced to foul Kastanek because the shot clock was off with 21 seconds. Kastanek made the first but missed the second and the Pack held a 64-62 lead.

    That set up Needles’ three-point heroics, as she calmly nailed it from the left corner while standing directly in front of the Gator bench, as Florida took the 65-64 lead.

    After the Pack called a timeout, they turned the ball over dribbling up the court and were forced to foul Moss, who sank one of two with 0.9 seconds remaining for the final score.

    “This was a really a gutsy performance and I could not be more proud of how we handled the adversity of a lot of moments because we certainly did not control the ballgame, it was back and forth,” UF head coach Amanda Butler said. “I thought we did a really good job of keeping our composure, especially on defense because this is a very talented N.C. State team. You have to give a lot of credit to N.C. State for their fight. I was really proud of our defense. This N.C. State team has scored in the 80s in every game except for the one time when they scored over one hundred points. When you can hold a team like that in the 60s, take care of the basketball and pay attention to details they you have a chance to win every single night.”

    Moss led Florida with a career-high 15 points and collected 10 rebounds to post the first double-double of her young career, while collecting four steals. George added 13 points with seven rebounds, four steals, three blocks and two assists.

    Needles finished with nine points all from beyond the arc and all nine Gators who entered the game scored.

    Florida shot 45.8 percent (27-59) for the game, including a mere 21.1 percent (4-19) from the three-point arc.

    “We shot way too many three-pointers in the first half and have to use much better judgment from beyond the arc,” Butler said. “Carlie’s shot was huge. She never hesitated and I loved her confidence.”

    The Wolfpack, who held the 41-38 rebounding advantage, in the game, hit 39.1 percent from the floor, including 3-of-13 from long range.

    “We still lost the rebounding battle, but we certainly gained ground in the second half,” Butler said. “That was one of our halftime adjustments. If we continued to get dominated in the second half like we had been in the first we would have a much different result.”

    Freshman January Miller (Orlando, Fla.) came off the bench and sparked the Gators midway through the second half, as she helped UF overcome a 6-2 run that had the momentum shift in N.C. State’s favor. The Gator rookie checked in and collected a quick offensive rebound and kept the possession alive as fellow freshman Christin Mercer (Douglasville, Ga.) powered up an inside bucket after a great dish from Bond and tied the game. Miller then ran the floor after a Wolfpack miss and Bonds rewarded her with the pass that she converted into a layup that gave the Gators the two-point lead.

    The first half was just as exciting. Florida led the majority of the frame and held a 22-14 lead with 8:43 to play before N.C. State erased the entire advantage with a 10-2 march. The teams traded baskets for the next couple of minutes and the game was tied with 1:38 left in the period.

    With 54 seconds remaining in the first half, N.C. State’s Krystal Barrett scored her eighth points of the period on a driving layup to break the 28-all tie.

    Kayla Lewis was fouled with 31.8 seconds on the clock; missed the shot and was sent to the line where she made one free throw, missed the second. Jennifer George corralled the offensive board and Florida had the ball for the last shot of the period. The Gators had three short shots under the basket but none would drop and the Wolfpack took the 39-29 lead into the locker room.

    Eight of the nine Gators who played in the first 20 minutes scored, with Jennifer George leading the way with eight points, two blocks and a pair of steals. Sydney Moss added six points and collected a team-best seven rebounds, however Florida trailed on the boards overall, 24-21, with NCSU grabbing 10 on the offensive end.

    N.C. State’s Kody Burke led all scorers in the game with 21 points and 13 rebounds, while Barrett added 11 points, eight of those in the first half.

    The Gators continue action at the tournament on Saturday when they play Northern Iowa (2-1) beginning at 3 p.m. ET (Noon PT). The Panthers lost to Arizona State, 66-63, in a tight game on Friday.
     




    Auburn Falls To SDSU 78-57 In Omni Hotels Classic Opener
     
    BOULDER, Colo. – Auburn (3-2) got down early and overcame a double-digit deficit to tie the game in the second half, but could not hold off a late San Diego State (3-1) run as the Tigers dropped a 78-57 decision to the Aztecs Friday night in the first round of the Omni Hotels Classic in Boulder, Colo.
     
    Auburn’s Tanner sisters led the way for the Tigers. Junior Tyrese Tanner was the top scorer with 17 points, along with four rebounds and three steals, while Tra’cee Tanner followed with 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds off the bench. Hasina Muhammad rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10.
     
    “Tra’cee came in and gave us a defensive presence, banging around inside where we need her to be aggressive,” said Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy.  “She led us in rebounds and we have to get that from her, she is a big body post and we need a presence from her inside.”
     
    Auburn got down early against the Aztecs, trailing by as many as 15 points in the first half after San Diego State took a 24-9 lead.
     
    “I thought in the first five minutes of the game, San Diego State came out pretty aggressive in their man-to-man defense, but later in the game we were able to get open,” said Williams-Flournoy. “But, we were not making hard cuts, we were not setting screens like we needed to.”
     
    The Tigers rallied back, however, out-scoring the Aztecs 15-5 to close out the period and holding SDSU scoreless for the last 4:06. Tra’cee Tanner scored six of seven first-half points in the run.
     
    The Tigers kept the momentum rolling into the second half and tied the game up at 36-36 with 15:05 to play after a 3-pointer from Courtney Strain. That would be the final run, though as San Diego State scored the next seven points and out-scored Auburn 42-21 the rest of the game.
     
    “We could not keep playing basket for basket, we had to get some stops,” said Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy. “We just did not get the defensive stops we needed when we were making our run.”
     
    SDSU senior Courtney Clements led the way for the Aztecs, scoring 26 points with five rebounds and three steals. She had six of the team’s 11 3-pointers in the game. Chelsea Hopkins added 14 points and nine rebounds while Malia Nahinu scored 12 with eight boards.
     
    SDSU shot 46.7 percent from the field, including a 44.0 percent clip from 3-point range. The Tigers were limited to 30.9 percent shooting on the night.
     
    Auburn will play at 6 p.m. CT, Saturday night in the consolation game of the 26th Annual Omni Hotels Classic. The Tigers will face either Texas A&M-Corpus Christi or host Colorado.
     




    Aggies Roll Southern, 88-48

    COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Texas A&M got a combined 30 points from Karla Gilbert and Kelsey Bone en route to an 88-48 win over Southern Friday night in the A&M Classic before 4,136 fans at Reed Arena.

    The Aggies (2-3) shot 60 percent in the second half and outscored the Jaguars (0-4) 52-20 in the paint on the night en route to their second consecutive victory.

    A&M took a 16-point lead into the locker room and would quickly extend that lead to 20 before Southern mounted its only threat. The Jaguars rallied for an 11-4 run, pulling within 13 points at the 15:14 mark of the second half, but would get no closer. Bone and Gilbert answered by putting the game out of reach, scoring 20 of the Aggies' points on a 26-4 run that put them up 71-35 with just over 6 minutes to play.

    Peyton Little scored 11, while Courtney Walker and Kristi Bellock added 10 each to round out five A&M players in double figures.

    Kendra Coleman scored 11 points to lead Southern.

    The Aggies return to action on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. against Marquette, 67-46 winners over Marshall earlier in the day. Southern and Marshall will face off in Sunday's first game at 11 a.m.
     




    Mizzou Falls to Green Bay in Cancun Challenge, 55-33

    Cancun, Mexico - Mizzou Women's Basketball dropped its first game of the season tonight against the Green Bay Phoenix. Mizzou, now 4-1 on the season, stuck with the Phoenix in a hard-fought, physical battle, but it was not enough to come out on top. The Tigers fell 55-33 in their second game of the Cancun Challenge. Morgan Eye put up nine points in the contest, making 3-of-10 field goal attempts. Sydney Crafton played a large part for the Tigers in the game as well, grabbing nine rebounds to lead the team.

    Coming off of an overtime loss to James Madison in their first game of the Challenge, Green Bay came out strong against the Tigers. After some back-and-forth action right off the bat, Lianna Doty hit a three for the Tigers to give them an early lead. It was short-lived, however, as the Phoenix quickly responded with a trey of their own. Green Bay held the Tigers scoreless for another nine minutes of the half, running the score up making it 15-3 in Green Bay's favor.

    A Kyley Simmons three-pointer with 9:03 left in the half ended Green Bay's scoring streak and gave Mizzou some momentum. Sydney Crafton recorded a layup adding two to Mizzou's score, and Morgan Eye made her first trey of the game with 5:26 left to play in the half. With just over two minutes left, back-to-back fouls on the Phoenix gave Missouri a few points from the charity stripe, Doty made one free throw followed by one from Michelle Hudyn making the score 20-13.
     
    The Tigers narrowed the gap even more in the last minute of play thanks to a three from Eye and a last minute foul on Green Bay. Crafton made a free throw with 0.4 seconds on the clock, and the Tigers headed in at halftime trailing the Phoenix 21-17.

    The second half picked up quickly as Bri Kulas hit a jumper early on to negate two Green Bay free throws. Liz Smith added another two for the Tigers with 17:41 on the clock to bring Missouri within two, but Green Bay's Sension made two free throws to make it 25-21 in the Phoenix' favor. Kulas hit a bucket with just under 16 minutes left in the game making it 29-23 at the first media timeout of the half.

    A layup from Doty put two more on the board for Mizzou, after a three from Green Bay's Gilbertson upped the score to 32-23. Hudyn again reduced Green Bay's lead, making it 32-38 after an and-one with 14:04 left in the game. With just under 13 minutes in the game, Hudyn made another shot bringing the Tigers within five. A huge three-pointer from Morgan Eye brought the Tigers within reach, at the under-12 media timeout Missouri trailed by just two points, 35-33. Unfortunately, the Tigers could not stop the Phoenix, who went on a 20-0 run to finish the game.

    The Tigers will play their final game of the Challenge against Minnesota tomorrow at 5 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on KTGR FM and a live video feed will be available on the Mizzou Network. Fans can also follow along with the team on Twitter (@MissouriWBB) and Facebook (facebook.com/missouriwbb).
     




    LSU Knocks Off No. 12 West Virginia, 71-63

    MIAMI – LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell said true freshman guard Danielle Ballard “graduated to another level tonight.”

    She did in a big way as Ballard poured in a career-high 25 points, including 10 straight during a critical stretch in the first half, as the LSU women’s basketball team knocked off previously unbeaten No. 12 West Virginia, 71-63, in the second game of the Florida International Thanksgiving Classic on Friday night in U.S. Century Bank Arena.

    The Lady Tigers (2-2) snapped a two-game losing streak and recorded their highest ranked win over a non-conference opponent since upsetting No. 9 UCLA, 55-53, on Dec. 28, 2010. The victory sent LSU to the tournament’s championship game to be held at approximately 2 p.m. CT Sunday.

    The Lady Tigers will face host FIU who stunned Iowa, 66-65, in the final seconds on a buzzer beater. The Panthers trailed by as many as 13 points in the second half. The LSU Sports Radio Network will carry Sunday’s championship contest on 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge and to members of the Geaux Zone on LSUsports.net/live. The tipoff show airs at 1:45 p.m. CT.

    Ballard, the prized recruit of Caldwell’s first recruiting class, put on a show Friday night, finishing 10-of-16 from the floor, collecting five steals and grabbing eight rebounds. Her 25 points were the most by an LSU true freshman since LaSondra Barrett scored 27 at Arkansas on Jan. 8, 2009.

    “She was very crafty in getting open looks, but the main thing is that she was aggressive,” said Caldwell, who won her sixth game over ranked opponent as LSU coach in less than two seasons. “She played very well off the bounce for us. Defensively, she got some huge steals and had some hustle plays, but more importantly, she was all over the boards. She definitely graduated to another level tonight. ”
     
    Four Lady Tigers finished with double-figure scoring. Junior forward Theresa Plaisance added 13 points and swished a perfect 7-of-7 from the free throw line. Plaisance iced the game with four free throws in the final 17 seconds. Adrienne Webb had 12 points, and Bianca Lutley chipped in 10 points.

    The Mountaineers (3-1) came into the contest with one of the nation’s stingiest defenses, allowing only 49.7 points per game. WVU, which dropped to 0-4 all-time against LSU, committed 28 turnovers – 14 of which were Lady Tiger steals.

    Ayana Dunning, the Mountaineers leading scorer and an LSU transfer from 2009, finished with 11 points but managed only one field goal against the Lady Tiger defense.

    LSU trailed 42-38 with 13:51 left in the game, but Ballard served as the catalyst for the comeback. She converted a layup and then kept an ensuing possession alive when she found Webb for a three in the right corner that gave the Lady Tigers a 43-42 lead.

    With 10 lead changes, the game reached its final tie with 3:35 remaining. That’s when followed with a jumper at the top of the key that put LSU ahead for good, 61-59, with 3:16 to go.

    “Both teams competed to the end in a physical game,” said Caldwell. “Each time they made a run, we would answer. When we made a run, they would answer. It was very competitive. They did a good job of really denying or pressing up on us. We had to play more off the bounce, and we responded to that.”

    A very physical contest that featured a combined 47 fouls went the Lady Tigers’ way in the final three minutes. Ballard converted another tough layup, and LSU finished 22-of-30 from the free throw line.

    The Lady Tigers shot 45.3 percent to West Virginia’s 36.0 percent.