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    SEC Women's Hoops Update

    WOMen's Basketball RESULTS
    Tennessee 75,  Davidson 40
    Arkansas 71,  Coppin State 57
    Kentucky 90, Alcorn State 23
    Florida 81,  Holy Cross 50
    Mississippi State 65,  Northwestern State 49
    Florida Gulf Coast 76,  LSU 70
    Illinois 70,  Georgia 59
    Texas A&M 74, Prairie View 52
    Alabama 58, Cincinnati 47

     

    Lady Vols Defeat Davidson

    After suffering back-to-back losses to the No. 1 and No. 3 teams in the nation, Tennessee returned to the win column on Friday night with a 75-40 victory over Davidson at Thompson-Boling Arena. The No. 13/15 Lady Vols used an 18-2 run midway through the first half to break an 11-11 tie and never looked back.

    The Lady Vols' front court dominated as freshman Bashaara Graves and sophomores Cierra Burdick and Isabelle Harrison combined for 39 points and 29 rebounds for Tennessee (8-3).

    With a game-high 16 points, Graves has tallied in double-figures in 10 of her 11 collegiate games. She also grabbed 10 rebounds for her fifth double-double of the season.

    Burdick had and even 10 points and 10 rebounds for her second-career double-double. Harrison tallied 13 points and corralled nine boards.
    It was the second time this season Tennessee had two players with double-doubles, the other coming in the win over North Carolina.
    Davidson (4-7) was topped by Sophia Aleksandravicious, who had 12 points.

    Tennessee dominated in many areas of the game. The Lady Vols held significant advantages in rebounding (48-26), points off turnovers (26-5), second-chance points (22-0), points in the paint (40-18), fastbreak points (10-0) and bench points (35-12).  Up 20 at halftime, Tennessee outscored Davidson 34-19 in the second half to run away with the win. The 19 points in the second half are tied for the fewest in a second half in Tennessee history.

    The Lady Vols opened the second half on a 9-0 run to take a 50-21 lead on a Harrison jumper with 16:20 left in regulation. Davidson missed seven shots in a row and didn't score for a 6:33 bridging the halves.  Tennessee doubled Davidson, 54-27, after a steal and layup by Ariel Massengale with 11 minutes left in the game.  The lead ballooned to 30 on a Kamiko Williams' putback with 6:37 left in the game, making it 63-33.

    Tennessee had its second-best defensive game this season in terms of scoring defense, allowing just 40 to the Wildcats. It was the third time UT held an opponent to less than 50 points.

    It was also Tennessee's fourth win by 35 or more points.

    The 18-2 run gave the Lady Vols the surge they needed to take a 41-21 lead at halftime. Graves led all scorers with 12 points in the first 20 minutes.
    The Lady Vols went on a 12-0 run spanning six minutes as Tennessee took a 23-11 lead before the Wildcats broke an 0-for-6 drought from the floor on Jasmine Calin jumper with 7:21 left in the first half. Harrison had three of UT's six baskets on the spurt.  Tennessee started a new lineup featuring a pair of freshman making their first-career starts in Jasmine Jones and Nia Moore.

    The teams stood even at 11 all after the game's first 6:30.  It was the first meeting between Tennessee and Davidson.
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    Kentucky Hammers Alcorn State

    Friday night, Kentucky set a new school record for the least points allowed. The previous record was 25.

    UK held Alcorn State to 11 points in the first half, marking the lowest total since holding Charleston Southern to a school-record low of nine points in the opening stanza on Dec. 10, 2004.  This marks the sixth time Kentucky has held its opponent to 20 or less points in the first half this season.
    Alcorn State went without a field goal for the final 15:55 minutes of the first half.  The 67-point win margin is the largest of the season and the fifth-largest in school history.

    UK held Alcorn State to season lows of seven made field goals and 20 percent shooting from the floor.
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    Watkins Leads Arkansas Past Coppin State

    Senior Sarah Watkins paced the No. 25 University of Arkansas women’s basketball team to a 71-57 win over Coppin State in Bud Walton Arena Friday.  

    Arkansas moves to 12-1 on the year and begins Southeastern Conference play Jan. 3, at Auburn.

    Watkins, who scored just four points in the first half, finished with a game-high 22, scoring double figures for the 10th time this season and for the ninth consecutive game.  Watkins pulled down a season-best 10 rebounds as well for her first double-double of the season and the seventh of her career.

    Junior Dominique Robinson added 11 points and senior Quistelle Williams recorded her third career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

    “It was hard work out there,” Arkansas head coach Tom Collen said.  “We knew it would be.  They (CSU) really pushed us.  We were pushed to the end and that’s probably good going into SEC play.  We want to take this as a lesson but put it behind us.  We move on now and can learn from this.  Coppin State is a lot like Auburn in that they pressed us and played zone against us so this was a good test.”

    Arkansas got out to a flat start and Coppin State took advantage of it hitting the boards hard and taking an early lead.  The Razorbacks found a spark after the second timeout of the half and stepped up the defensive pressure which led to some scoring opportunities.

    The Razorbacks tried to take advantage of some open three-point looks but Arkansas was cold from distance going 1-for-13 in the first 20 minutes.  The Razorbacks were 2-for-16 for the game

    Arkansas had to look for its points inside and found them in the form of 18 in the paint and 13 from the bench players.

    After trailing much of the first half, the Razorbacks tied then took the lead at the 4:31 mark when Calli Berna hit a pair of free throws.  Tough defense then forced a turnover on the CSU end of the floor and Arkansas took advantage of a fast break as Keira Peak laid it in for two and a three-point lead.

    Arkansas put together a 16-0 run while Coppin State got rattled and went 0-for-14 during the run stretching the Razorback lead to nine at the break, 32-23. 

    Coppin State came out much more physical in the second half and caught Arkansas off-guard to start the period.  Arkansas battled five quick second-half turnovers while CSU let the aggressive defense turn into fouls as two starters had three fouls at the 15:53 media timeout. 

    CSU was over the limit in fouls with just under eight minutes to play in regulation and Arkansas had been solid for much of the game from the line.  That trend stalled a bit early in the second half as the Razorbacks went 2-for-5 in the first 10 minutes but Arkansas finished hitting 10-for-10 from the line. They were 23-for-28 for the game.

    A late 8-0 run by Arkansas was fueled by the CSU foul trouble and the Razorbacks pulled away late in the contest.  The Razorbacks shot just 39.7 percent from the game on 23-for-58 shooting.  Arkansas los the rebounding battle, 44-46, and Arkansas finished with16 assists, including a career-best 12 from Berna in the win.
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    Gators Beat Holy Cross

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Senior Jennifer George (Fresno, Calif.) notched her fifth double-double of the year, freshman Sydney Moss (Union, Ky.) flirted with a double-double and the Florida women’s basketball team capped its non-conference slate with an 81-50 victory over Holy Cross on Friday evening in the O’Connell Center.

    The win was the sixth straight for the Gators (11-3), who earned their 14th consecutive home victory, as well as their 15th straight at home against non-conference opponents.

    It was a tight game for the first 13 minutes when the Crusaders (5-6) cut Florida’s lead to two points with seven minutes left in the first half.

    That’s when the Gators outscored Holy Cross 38-13 over the next 18 minutes and took a commanding 64-37 lead with 9:06 remaining in the game.

    All nine Gators who dressed out for the game scored during that game-changing stretch paced by George, who scored 13 of her game-high 21 points during the span, including Florida’s first six points of the second half when the Gators outscored Holy Cross, 44-23, hit 51.4 percent of their shots and outrebounded their guests by 18.

    George also collected 10 rebounds, six on the offensive end, and four steals, as she posted her fifth double-double of the year and the 24th of her career.

    “I am very excited about this win. We had an individual purpose in mind, obviously to win, but also to set a tone going into the conference season. We did that,” UF head coach Amanda Butler said. “I loved our balance and our response in the second half. I thought we didn’t play the first half as well as we should have. I think they really answered that halftime call, especially as a rebounding unit which is really important for us.”

    Part of Florida’s big run came in the final seven minutes of the first half, when the Gators ended the frame on a 17-9 stretch and took a 37-27 lead into the locker room. Holy Cross held a 23-15 rebounding advantage during the first 20 minutes and limited Florida to 38.2 percent shooting.

    Holy Cross scored the first bucket of the second half and dropped UF’s lead to single digits, but George scored the next six points and Carlie Needles (Highlands Ranch, Col.) drilled a three-pointer for a 17-point Gator lead. The Crusaders answered with a trey, but Moss canned a 12-footer and Kayla Lewis (Decatur, Ga.) followed with a 15-foot jumper and Florida never looked back, as the Gators regrouped to outrebound Holy Cross by 18 during the second half.

    “We had four individuals who had not gotten a rebound yet,” Butler said of the difference between the first and second halves in the paint. “They had some individual challenges. Kayla Lewis was one of them and I think she really responded to that. I think Jennifer George did a great job setting the tone for us in the paint and really anchoring our game down low. That is what we expect her to do. That is what her teammates expect her to do. I think she was really playing with a lot of purpose tonight. That is important for us.”

    Moss, who scored eight during Florida’s big run, finished with 17 points – one shy of her season-high – along with eight rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocked shots.

    Junior Jaterra Bonds (Gainesville, Fla.) added 10 points and three assists to Florida’s winning effort.

    Alex Smith scored 14 points to lead Holy Cross, which committed 26 turnovers that led to 33 Florida points.
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    MSU Picks Up Home Win

    STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi State women’s basketball coach Vic Schaefer talked about pride and playing hard at halftime Friday night.
     
    The Bulldogs got the message loud and clear.
     
    After a lackluster first half, MSU found a second gear in the second half, easily rolling past Northwestern State 65-49 at the Humphrey Coliseum.
     
    “I really enjoy being around these kids,” Schaefer said. “Sometimes, it is hard to get them ready to go when the lights come on. You have to play for pride in your uniform. We want players excited about a chance to play for this university.
     
    “The kids got the message at halftime. They played much better in the second half. Now, we got to find a way to come out of the gates playing like that.”
     
    Northwestern State (4-6) started the game strong, building a quick 13-4 advantage. The Lady Demons maintained a healthy advantage for most of the half. A layup by Jasmine Upchurch ran the Lady Demons’ lead to 24-14.
     
    “In the first half, we didn’t come out with a lot of focus,” MSU sophomore center Martha Alwal said. “We have to a do a better job of playing with more energy. At halftime, we got the message and I thought we really responded. We have to find a way to do that for an entire half.”
     
    The Bulldogs did end the first half with a 9-2 run. A pair of free throws by Katia May ran out the half as MSU trailed 31-29 at the intermission.
     
    In the second half, MSU picked up its energy on both ends of the floor. Northwestern State only scored 18 points, including six field goals, over the final 20 minutes.
     
    “Jessy Ward and JJ (Jerica James) really gave us a spark in the second half,” Schaefer said. “On the first possession she was in there, we ran a set play for Jessy and she hit the 3-point shot. That really gave us a spark. We were much better on the defensive end in the second half.
     
    “Jessy and JJ were a big reason for that run.”
     
    The Bulldogs pieced together a 15-0 run to erase a 33-32 deficit. Ward’s trey pushed the lead to 37-33. James scored two baskets and Carnecia Williams added two free throws to push the advantage to 47-33.
     
    Ward saw her most extensive playing time of the season, collecting those three points with an assist, steal and rebound in 12 minutes of play. James had eight points, including a 3-of-3 night from the field, also in 12 minutes.
     
    MSU (7-5) put the clamps down defensively, forcing 13 second-half turnovers to run the advantage to 20 at 59-39 with 4:51 left in regulation.
     
    For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 24 of 60 shots from the field (40.0 percent), 4 of 9 shots from the 3-point range (44.4 percent) and 13 of 22 shots from the foul line (59.1 percent). The Lady Demons hit 15 of 54 shots from the field (27.8 percent), 3 of 10 shots from 3-point range (30.0 percent) and 16 of 22 shots from the foul line (72.7 percent).
     
    MSU held a 43-42 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 14 assists and 12 turnovers, while the Lady Demons had six assists and 20 turnovers.
     
    Alwal posted her fifth double-double of the season with 10 points, 13 rebounds for MSU. Carnecia Williams led the way with 16 points. May added a season-high 11 points while dishing out six assists.
     
    “I really don’t have a reason for why we have not started games better this year,” Williams said. “So far, we really have been a second-half team this year. We are working hard to get better at that.”
     
    Jasmine Bradley led the Lady Demons with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
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    LSU Falls To Florida Gulf Coast

    Sarah Hansen scored a game-high 30 points and converted four free throws in the final 38 seconds as Florida Gulf Coast upset the LSU Lady Tigers, 76-70, in front of 2,239 fans in Alico Arena on Friday night.

    Hansen was a perfect 14-of-14 from the free throw line for the Eagles (7-5), who finished 23-of-24 as a team from the line. Getting to the free throw line and a 7-of-30 effort from three-point land proved to be the recipe for the upset against LSU, which dropped to 8-4 overall and lost to an Atlantic Sun Conference team for the first time.

    Four Lady Tigers finished with double-digit scoring. Theresa Plaisance had a team-high 19 points before fouling out with 8:26 left in the game. Danielle Ballard and Bianca Lutley had 18 points apiece, while Adrienne Webb contributed 13 points. Jeanne Kenney pulled down seven rebounds.

    “We struggled to matchup with them on the defensive and we didn’t execute our game plan,” said LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell. “We knew they were a great offensive team that likes to shoot threes or make lay-ups. We didn’t do a very good job and we let them get into isolation situations. Offensive rebounds were energy givers for them.”

    Plaisance left the game after drawing her fourth foul and then an ensuing technical foul. LSU trailed 57-54 following the foul shots, but Ballard countered with two free throws of her own and then a lay-up off a Kenney assist. The Lady Tigers held a 62-59 lead after Lutley’s bucket with 5:12 remaining in the game.

    “When you lose her (Theresa Plaisance) early, it’s going to be a tough one,” said Caldwell. “She’s our go-to player. We tried to establish her inside and she was able to convert.”

    It would be LSU’s final lead as Hansen took over down the stretch. She converted an old-fashioned three-point play at the 4:15 mark that gave the Eagles a 64-62 advantage. LSU was able to cut it to two points, 70-68, with 0:47 left after a Ballard steal that led to two Kenney free throws and an ensuing Ballard lay-up.

    However, a foul on the other end with the shot clock winding down sent Hansen to the line who made two and then two more after an LSU shot was no good on the other end. Trailing 74-70, Ballard missed a cutting lay-up with 0:15 remaining before time ran out.

    Florida Gulf Coast, which set an NCAA record for three-point field goals last year, attempted 30 treys – over half of its 57 field goal attempts on the night. The Eagles own one of the nation’s toughest home court advantages having lost only 11 of its 165 games in Alico Arena.
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    Lady Bulldogs Fall To Illinois

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. --- No. 6 Georgia rallied from an 18-point first-half deficit and tied Illinois twice in the second period before falling to the Illini 70-59 at Assembly Hall on Friday night. The loss was the Lady Bulldogs' first of the season, snapping a 12-game winning streak that equaled the fifth-best start in program history.

    Jasmine James and Khaalidah Miller scored 17 points apiece to lead Georgia (12-1), while Jasmine Hassell added 13. Karisma Penn poured in 27 points and hauled down 19 rebounds to pace Illinois (7-5).

    Georgia, which entered the game averaging 13.2 turnovers per game, gave the ball away 26 times, 16 of those in the first half.

    "They forced us the play fast," Andy Landers said. "They extended us and picked us up beyond the three-point line, and we allowed them to affect us. Now we're running the offense further out on the floor than we have all year long. We sailed balls out of bounds when people were open. We were looking at looks we wanted, but we couldn't make the passes because they'd pushed us so far out."

    Back-to-back threes from Amber Moore ignited a 12-1 Illinois run that put the Illini up 24-12 with 9:54 left in the first half. The lead grew to 31-13 before Georgia rallied.

    Miller scored seven in a 13-2 Lady Bulldog surge that closed the gap to 33-26 with just over a minute remaining in the first half.

    Georgia eventually tied the contest at 52-52 on a James free throw with 7:09 remaining in the game. Penn and Shacobia Barbee free throws left the score tied at 53-53 with 6:27 left.

    A pair of Penn three-point plays – the second of which fouled out Hassell with 4:36 left – helped Illinois reestablish a 61-57 lead. The Illini scored five more unanswered to put the contest out of reach.

    The largest deficit Georgia faced prior to the Illinois contest was a five-point gap early against Furman. All told, the Lady Bulldogs never trailed in seven games of the first dozen games and their largest deficits in the five outings they were behind in added up to 16 points.
     



    Mississippi State Wins in Return to Reed Arena

    COLLEGE STATION - Texas A&M used strong team offense to prevail over Prairie View A&M on Friday night at Reed Arena by a score of 74-52 in front of 4,915 fans. Texas A&M improves to 9-4 with the victory while Prairie View A&M fell to 3-7 with the loss.
     
    Reigning SEC Player of the Week, espnw.com National Player of the Week and Ann Meyers Drysdale National Player of the Week Kelsey Bone continued her strong play with her sixth straight game of double figure scoring with 18 points, Bone has raised her season average in points in each game during the stretch. Over the last three weeks Bone is averaging 23.8 points and 9.5 rebounds, Bone was just shy of yet another double-double with nine rebounds on the night. In addition to scoring and rebounding  the basketball Bone dished out six assists on the night.
     
    "Kelsey enjoys the pass as much as the shot," Head Coach Gary Blair said after the game. "This is the first time we've ever had a national player of the week. I hope that will give our team and her some good national attention. She's playing like an All-American right now."
     
    The Aggie offense jumped out to an early 10-6 lead at first media timeout, Kristi Bellock (6) and Bone (4) combined for all 10 of A&M's points. Beginning at the 17:05 mark in the first half the Aggies went on a 11-0 run over 2:16 of game play capped off by an old-fashioned three point play from Tori Scott to make the score 17-6.
     
    The Maroon and White began the game on an impressive run of nine assists on the first nine made field goals in the game, en route to 24 Aggie points. The assist streak came to an end with a Karla Gilbert offensive rebound and put-back to make the score 26-10 with 7:46 remaining in the first half.
     
    The Aggie offense continued to share the ball throughout the game as the Aggies ended with 23 assists on the night, just one off the season high of 24 set against Old Dominion eight days ago. Texas A&M has had at least 19 assists in each of the last four games and is averaging an impressive 22.3 assists per game in that stretch.
     
    The home team used an early 6-2 run in the second half to stretch the Aggie lead out to a then game high 23 points with 17:25 remaining. Senior Adrienne Pratcher ignited the run with a nifty step-back jumper, Pratcher ended the game with four points and seven assists to lead the team.
     
    Later in the second half the Aggies put the game out of reach with an impressive 16-4 run to give Texas A&M a game-high 32 point lead. In the run Texas A&M post players combined for 12 of the Aggie points, Freshman Courtney Walker made two jumpers for the remaining four points on the run.
     
    Bellock had an efficient night scoring 14 points and pulling down eight rebounds in 25 minutes of play. Joining Bone and Bellock in double figures scoring were Walker and Gilbert with 11 points apiece. Texas A&M forced 13 Panther turnovers leading to 25 points and out-rebounded Prairie View 38-21, limiting the Panthers to only four offensive rebounds.
     
    The Aggies will return to Reed Arena for a New Year's Day contest against Rice at 2:00 p.m. Tuesday's game will continue the half-price holiday hoops promotion.



    Bama Downs Cincinnati in Hawaii

    HONOLULU - The women's basketball team won its first game of the Bank of Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine Invitational with a 58-47 victory over Cincinnati on Friday at the Stan Sheriff Center on the campus of the University of Hawai'i. With the win, the Crimson Tide improves to 8-3 on the season while the loss drops the Bearcats to 7-4 overall.
     
    "This was a good game for us," said Alabama head coach Wendell Hudson. "We played two real good teams in a row in Virginia and Cincinnati. I thought everyone gave great effort and really played together as a team."
     
    Junior Jasmine Robinson and redshirt sophomore Kaneisha Horn scored 12 points apiece to lead all scorers while senior Alicia Mitcham added another 11 points for the Tide. Horn also chipped in a game-high nine rebounds, three assists and two steals.
     
    Cincinnati led by four early on until five straight points by Alabama gave the Tide the one-point edge at the 16:39 mark. The Bearcats would take the lead back on the next possession and remain in front for the next eight minutes. From that point, there were three more lead changes and two ties as neither team led by more than two points until Alabama rattled off four straight for the 22-18 edge. The Tide would head into the locker room up by five with the 27-22 lead.
     
    The Bearcats opened the second half on a 6-2 run to cut the Tide lead down to one, but Alabama responded with six unanswered points over the next 90 seconds to take the 35-28 advantage. Cincinnati cut the Tide lead down to three at the 11:18 mark, however Alabama would come back again, this time with a 7-0 run to take its first double-digit lead of the night. The Bearcats would come no closer than six for the duration of the contest.
     
    For the game, Alabama shot 40.7 percent (22-54) from the floor, including 47.8 percent (11-23) in the second half while Cincinnati was held to 34.0 percent (16-47) of its attempts. The Tide forced 22 Bearcat turnovers and committed just 11 of its own. In addition, Alabama received solid contributions from its bench as the reserves scored 21 of the Tide's 58 points, collected three of its six blocks and three of its eight assists.
     
    Alabama will play its second game of the tournament on Saturday when it takes on LIU Brooklyn. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. CT. The game can be listened to on the Crimson Tide Sports Network on the radio and online at RollTide.com. In addition, fans can follow along on the team's official Twitter page @AlabamaWBB.