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    SEC Women's Basketball Today: December 1

    Women's Basketball RESULTS
    Vanderbilt 77, Tennessee Tech 50
    SMU 61, Mississippi State 59
    Michigan 59, Florida 55
    Wisconsin 69, Alabama 50
    La. Tech 57, Ole Miss 54

    Vanderbilt Downs Tennessee Tech

    NASHVILLE -- Head Coach Melanie Balcomb wanted her team to focus on defense right from the tip on Saturday against Tennessee Tech. The Commodores did just that, utilizing a 15-0 run to open the game, before cruising to a 77-50 victory at Memorial Gym.
    The Commodores (5-3) were led by 17 points from Tiffany Clarke. The senior also grabbed seven rebounds. Classmate Elan Brown contributed 10 points and nine rebounds. Vanderbilt also got nine from Morgan Batey, eight from Jasmine Lister and seven each from Kady Schrann and Gabby Smith.
    Tennessee Tech was led by 18 points from Diamond Henderson. T'Keyah Williams contributed 10 poins and five rebounds.
    The 15-0 Vanderbilt run to open the contest was the best for a Commodore team to start a game since a 17-0 run against Lipscomb in last season's Vanderbilt Thanksgiving Tournament. During the stretch, Tennessee Tech missed six field goals and turned the ball over twice.
    In addition to stout defense, Vanderbilt shot 50% from the field (27-54). It marked the first time since the season opener against McNeese State that the Commodores shot at least 50% from the floor.
    "I'm really proud of how we're executing," Balcomb said. "I think that's what's important. It's being able to slow down. As we start to trust our defense, you can play relaxed on offense."
    Vanderbilt led the entire contest and the biggest lead of 27 points was the final margin. Balcomb felt her team played two complete halves for the first time this season.
    "We just wanted to put two halves together to continue to build confidence," Balcomb said. "I think the most important part of that is the start of both halves."
    Brown, who has emerged as the team's steadying force, seconded that notion.
    "That was one of our goals, especially this past week," Brown explained. "Everyone was confident and ready for the game."
    Vanderbilt was again without the services of Christina Foggie, who is day-to-day with a foot injury. The Commodores also played without freshman forward Kendall Shaw, who is day-to-day with a sprained knee.
    Vanderbilt is back in action on Tuesday, December 4, when they return to the road at Western Kentucky. Tipoff in Bowling Green, Ky., is set for 7:00 p.m. CT.

    Mississippi State Falls to SMU

    HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Mississippi State had nine players score, including 10 from sophomore Kendra Grant, but the effort wasn't enough as an Ance Celmina basket with six seconds left rallied Southern Mississippi to a 61-59 win Saturday afternoon at Reed Green Coliseum.
    Celmina's winner came just seconds after MSU's Jerica James tied the game with at 3-point basket with 21 seconds.
    James scored nine points on a trio of long-range baskets. Freshman Sherise Williams and red-shirt sophomore Carnecia Williams added nine points each as well.
    The Bulldogs (3-5) led by nine at halftime and stretched that lead to as many as 13 in the early stages of the game's final half. Still, Southern Miss (4-2) found a way to rally and snap a four-game losing streak in the series between the longtime rivals.
    "We turned the ball over way too many times, which resulted in 11 more shots for them than we had," MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. "Once again, we held a team to 34 percent shooting and couldn't get the win. It's hard to lose a game the way we did tonight."
    Both teams struggled offensively in the early stages of the game. The Bulldogs finally eased to a 14-9 advantage on a jumper by Jessy Ward at the midway mark of the opening half. Southern Miss scored the game's next five points for a 14-14 tie.
    The Lady Eagles battled ahead at 18-17 on a pair of free throws by Jamierra Faulkner. MSU answered with back-to-back 3-point baskets by James.
    MSU scored the final eight points of the half and led 33-24 at the intermission.
    The lead grew to 12 on a 3-point basket by MSU's Darriel Gaynor to open the second half. A 3-point play by Carnecia Williams placed the Maroon and White on top 45-32 with 14:39 left.
    The Lady Eagles eventually rallied. The lead was cut to seven at 49-42. Minutes later, Southern Miss scored seven straight points to force a 52-52 tie with 5:01 left. MSU again built a 56-53 lead on two Martha Alwal free throws. However, that lead would not hold.
    "Twenty offensive boards really kill you," Schaefer said. "Rebounding is an attitude. We got beat in transition too many times. We've lost two games where we didn't execute at the end on defense, and I'll take responsibility for that."
    For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 22 of 56 shots from the field (39.3 percent), 5 of 10 shots from 3-point range (50.0 percent) and 10 of 12 shots from the foul line (83.3 percent). The Lady Eagles hit 23 of 67 shots from the field (34.3 percent), 1 of 9 shots from the 3-point range (11.1 percent) and 14 of 22 shots from the foul line (63.6 percent).
    The teams were even at 42 in rebounding. The Bulldogs had 12 assists and 22 turnovers, while the Lady Eagles had 16 assists and 11 turnovers.
    Kendra Grant led MSU with 10 points. Alwal had 10 rebounds, including eight on the defensive glass.
    Southern Miss received 17 points apiece from Jerontay Clemons and Tanecka Carey. Jamierra Faulkner added 11 points and 11 assists.
    MSU hosts Florida Atlantic at 7 p.m. Friday in Humphrey Coliseum. 

    Florida Falls in Ann Arbor

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Senior Jennifer George scored 15 points with nine rebounds, but it wasn’t enough for Florida to overcome a woeful second-half shooting effort in a 59-53 loss at Michigan at the Crisler Center Saturday afternoon.
    The Gators (5-3), who dropped their second consecutive game, connected on just 21.6 percent (8-of-37) from the floor during the final 20 minutes and a season-low 30.3 percent (20-66) overall.
    It seemed the majority of U-M’s shot attempts came with 10 or fewer seconds on the shot clock.
    “That’s typically how they play,” UF head coach Amanda Butler shared about Michigan’s offensive attack. “They like a low possession ball game and we didn’t do a good job defensively of maintaining our focus. I felt like we would put a lot of pressure on them and then we would have a breakdown with 10 seconds left. It’s got to be the other way around. Those last 10 seconds, your defense needs to get tighter and sharper.”
    After Lily Svete nailed a three-pointer in the opening seconds of the second half, Michigan (6-2) ripped off 10 consecutive points and sparked a 22-7 run that reversed a 35-27 Gator lead into a 49-42 Wolverine advantage over a 10-minute span.
    The Gators finally scored on consecutive possessions when Carlie Needles dropped in a layup off a Christin Mercer steal and Jennifer George put in an offensive rebound and cut Florida’s deficit to three points, 49-46, with 7:54 remaining. U-M came right back with the next four points of the game and increased its lead back to seven, 53-48, with 2:31 remaining in the game.
    Svete buried a three-pointer from the left corner and had UF within four points with 2:18 on the clock, but the Wolverines made good on their trips free throw line, where they made 4-of-6 the rest of the way to close out the win.
    U-M’s final eight points of the game came from the charity stripe and its last field goal came with 6:35 remaining. Florida wasn’t able to take advantage, as the Gators hit a woeful 21.6 percent (8-37) in the second half and just 30.3 percent (20-66) during the game.
    George, who shot 7-of-13 from the floor, was joined in double-figure scoring by freshman Sydney Moss, who added 11 points and five rebounds, as eight of nine Gators who dressed for the game scored.
    Kate Thompson led all scorers with 21 points for Michigan, which hit 42.9 percent (21-49) during the game, including 47.6 percent (10-21) in the deciding second half.
    “Even though we held them in the 50s, I didn’t feel like we had great defensive energy,” Butler said. “That effort trickled over into our offense and we were a little too slow and a little too stagnant. We didn’t have as much fight as we needed to on the low block. We have a lot to look at on film from this one and correct before we play again.”
    The first half was tight, with five lead changes and six tied scores.
    Michigan held the early lead until the Gators went on a 6-0 spurt with two long jumpers from Sydney Moss and a pair of free throws from Vicky McIntyre. Rachel Sheffer halted the run with an inside bucket, but Jennifer George powered in a tough shot in the paint and Moss added a three-pointer that extended the Gator march to 11-2 and gave Florida a 20-13 lead with 7:27 remaining in the first half.
    U-M answered with a 9-1 scoring run of its own behind a trio of three-pointers and regained a one-point advantage, 22-21, with 4:21 to go.
    George hit one free throw then powered up another field goal between defenders, before Lewis canned a 14-footer that swung the lead back in Florida’s favor, 26-22, with 3:12 to play in the first frame.
    Madison Ristovski scored her first points of the game for the Wolverines with an inside layup, but George answered with one for Florida. Moss then collected a steal and dribbled the length of the court for the acrobatic layin and the Gators held a 30-24 lead with 2:03 on the clock.
    Brenae Harris knocked down a three-point as the shot clock was expiring for U-M, but Christin Mercer put back an offensive rebound with 14 seconds remaining and ended the first half scoring with Florida carrying a 32-27 lead into the locker room.
    Six different Gators scoring during the opening 20 minutes, with George and Moss each recording nine points, while Lewis collected a team-best five rebounds for Florida, which held a 21-16 rebounding edge over the Wolverines, who were led in scoring by Kate Thompson’s 13 points.
    The teams were almost identical statistically, with both committing eight turnovers and corralling five steals. Florida hit 12-of-29 shots (41.4 percent), while U-M connected on 11-of-28 (39.3 percent) from the floor.
    Florida returns to action on Tue., December 4, when the Gators play host to Troy in the O’Connell Center beginning at 7 p.m. Florida’s appearance in the O’Connell Center is the team’s first since defeating North Florida on Nov. 19, in 15 days ago.

    Alabama Suffers First Loss at Wisconsin

    MADISON, Wis. - The women's basketball team was unable to get much going offensively, shooting 22.7 percent from the floor, in a 69-50 loss to Wisconsin on Saturday at the Kohl Center. The loss was the Crimson Tide's first of the season, dropping it to 5-1, while the Badgers improve to 4-3 overall.
    "Wisconsin had a really good game plan coming in," said Alabama head coach Wendell Hudson. "We had a lot of open shots, especially early, that we didn't make. They also did a good job of keeping us from making runs. I thought we played hard and didn't quit playing. We expected the zone defense and thought we made adjustments, but we just couldn't score."
    Wisconsin started the game on an 11-6 run and went on to score 11 unanswered points over the next five minutes to build a 22-6 advantage. Alabama would pull within 13 points on two occasions but was unable to get any closer. The Tide hit only five of its 31 attempts from the floor, while the Badgers connected on 14 of their 31 shots. Alabama's top three scorers went 0-14 over the 20 minute span.
    Wisconsin continued to distance itself from the Tide, taking as much as a 30 point lead in the second half. Alabama put together a 10-0 run late but was unable to overcome the deficit.
    Senior Meghan Perkins finished as the leading scorer for Alabama with 17 points, while sophomore Daisha Simmons added another 16 points for the Tide.
    The Badgers had their best offensive performance of the season, hitting 43.9 percent of their shots, including six three pointers. Wisconsin also out-rebounded the Tide 59-38; however the Badgers committed 31 turnovers compared to Alabama's 15.
    The Tide will play its next game on Saturday, Dec. 8, when it hosts Chattanooga in Foster Auditorium. Tipoff is slated for 2 p.m. CT. Tickets are on sale and can be purchased on or by phone by calling  1-877-TIDETIX (843-3849).

    Ole Miss Ends Three-Game Stretch With Tough Loss to La. Tech

    RUSTON, La. –Ole Miss finished a tough three game in five day stretch on the road Saturday with a hard-fought 57-54 loss at LA Tech in front of 4,785 fans.
    With the loss, Ole Miss fell to 4-2 on the year while  LA Tech improved to 2-3.
    Valencia McFarland led Ole Miss with a season-best 15 points and eight steals while Amber Singletary and Kenyotta Jenkins each added eight points. Jenkins also led the team in rebounds with seven.
    Down by three with 1.3 second left in the game, Gracie Frizzell’s potentially game-tying three was off the mark but the Rebels got the rebound with 0.9 seconds to play. After a timeout, Danielle McCray inbounded the ball to Diara Moore but her three just missed as LA Tech held on for the win.
    For the game, Ole Miss shot 33.8 percent from the floor (22-65) while LA Tech shot 41.1 percent (23-56).
    LA Tech built a quick 12-4 lead with 15:48 left in the half before Ole Miss used a 7-0 run, and held the Lady Techsters scoreless for almost five minutes, to pull within one, 12-11, with 11:36 to play.
    LA Tech pushed its lead to 11, 26-15, before Moore and McFarland combined for seven points in less than 40 seconds to pull the score to 26-22. The Lady Techsters lead at the half, 30-22.
    Gracie Frizzell and Moore each led the Rebels at the half with five points. Ole Miss shot 42.9 percent from the floor (12-28) while LA Tech shot 30 percent (9-30).
    In the second half, Amber Singletary’s shot LA Tech’s lead to one, 34-33, at the 16-minute media timeout.  The Lady Techsters pushes its lead back to six, 55-49, with 3:33 to play.
    Ole Miss will host Massachusetts on Sunday, December 8 at 2 p.m. The game is Youth League Day and all kids in their youth league uniforms will receive free admission.