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    SEC Women's Hoops Central

    WOMen's Basketball RESULTS
    Ole Miss 88,  Florida 81
    South Carolina 55,  Kentucky 50
    Texas A&M 81,  Mississippi State 33
    Arkansas 58,  Missouri 50
    Alabama 61,  Auburn 51
    Tennessee 83,  Vanderbilt 75


    Ole Miss Picks Up First Conference Win

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Ole Miss women’s basketball team posted a high-energy, complete team effort in the team’s road SEC win Thursday night, downing Florida, 88-81, for acting head coach Brett Frank’s first career SEC win.

    With the win, Ole Miss improves to 8-11 overall (1-5 SEC) while Florida fell to 13-7 (2-4 SEC).

    Valencia McFarland led one of five Ole Miss players in double figures with a season-high 24 points. She added 10 assists and has recorded at least five assists in nine of the last 10 games and 37 times in her career. Tonight was her second career double-double.
    Diara Moore added 13 points, followed by Gracie Frizzell (12), Danielle McCray (12) and Tia Faleru (12).

    Monique Jackson ended the game with a career-high 13 rebounds. As a team, Ole Miss recorded a season-high 11 threes in the game.
    Gracie Frizzell’s third three early in the game gave Ole Miss an 18-14 lead with 12:17 left in the first half. Another three from Frizzell extended the Rebels’ lead to 37-38 with 5:33 remaining in the half.

    A three from Diara Moore stretched Ole Miss’ lead to 50-32 with 1:39 left in the half. The Gators cut the lead to 50-38 at the half. The 50 points marks the most points Ole Miss has scored in the first half this year.

    At the half, Frizzell led the Rebels with 12 points, followed by Moore with 11 and McFarland with 10. Monique Jackson recorded a team-high seven rebounds in the first half. Ole Miss shot 51.5 percent (17-33) from the floor and 90 percent (9-10) from three-point range. Florida shot 34.1 percent (15-44) from the floor.

    In the second half, the Gators cut the Rebels’ lead to single digits, 58-49, with 16:30 left to play but Danielle McCray hit a three for Ole Miss to push the Rebels’ lead to, 61-49.

    Florida used a 12-3 run to cut Ole Miss’ lead to five, 68-63, with 8:35 remaining in the game. The Gators cut the lead to three with 3:36 to play, but Moore recorded a steal on the next possession and found McFarland to put Ole Miss back up five, 78-73, with 2:54 left.

    Gatling Leads Arkansas To Victory

    COLUMBIA, Mo. – Senior Erin Gatling scored a career-best 23 points leading the University of Arkansas women’s basketball team to a 58-50 win at Missouri in SEC action Thursday.

    The Razorbacks move to 14-5 overall and 2-4 in the SEC behind Gatling’s three-point shooting clinic.  Gatling hit a career-best six threes.  The victory is the first for Arkansas over the Tigers since they joined the SEC this season.

    “There is a time and place for everyone and everything and Erin’s been waiting a long time,” Arkansas head coach Tom Collen said.  “She got out to a good start and we just rode her into the second half.  I thought our game plan defensively was really good.  We knew we had to guard them on the perimeter but we also had to guard the baseline and we switch well and did a good job defensively and then Erin was the difference.”

    The first 10 minutes belonged to the Razorbacks as they held Missouri to just two points on 1-for-13 shooting.  Arkansas forced turnovers early and rebounded well while not allowing the Tigers to get a good look from three-point range as they opened a 12-2 lead.

    The Tigers made some substitutions and adjustments and clawed back into the game coming within four points of Arkansas but the Razorbacks hung on taking a 24-19 lead into the locker room at the break.  It is the third time in six SEC games that Arkansas has held opponents to 19 first-have points.

    Gatling came in off the bench and scored a game-leading nine first-half points hitting three three-pointers allowing the Razorbacks to lead from the tip.

    After a quick 5-0 run to start the second half, Arkansas stumbled allowing the Tigers a pair of threes as they closed within two, 29-27, with 15:37 left to play.

    The game would remain close for the duration with Arkansas maintaining the lead but never able to pull away.  The Razorbacks’ defense was like a gnat that kept Missouri off-balance as Arkansas forced 18 turnovers and converted that to 25 points.

    Gatling and Calli Berna had hands in the passing lanes all game long and Missouri committed three shot clock violations and rushed many more after struggling to get the ball up the floor.

    Missouri had momentum late in the game but Arkansas maintained possession with three offensive rebounds, followed by a pair of Tiger fouls as the energy swung to the Razorbacks’ side of the floor.  The Tigers’ top three pointer shooter hit a bucket to bring Missouri within four.

    Berna followed up with a drive and a layup and Arkansas got a steal and Gatling hit her sixth three of the night as the Razorbacks played the final 3:30 of  the game as well as you can.

    Arkansas shot 36 percent for the game hitting 21-for-59 including eight three pointers in the win.  The Razorbacks were paced by Gatling with 23.  Berna finished with 12 pints and Quistelle Williams had nine points for the Razorbacks.  Keira Peak and Sarah Watkins had eight rebounds each in the balanced defensive effort.

    South Carolina Pushes Past Kentucky, 55-50

    COLUMBIA, S.C. - No. 18/14 South Carolina outlasted No. 5/4 Kentucky 55-50 in a hard-fought, physical battle at the Colonial Life Arena. Gamecock senior guard Ieasia Walker played every second of the contest and carried her team to the program’s highest ranked victory since 1998, finishing with 16 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals and a blocked shot. Sophomore center Elem Ibiam also reeled in eight boards, largely during a second-half surge that pushed the Gamecocks (17-3, 5-2 SEC) into the driver’s seat in the game.

    “The crowd was a huge lift for us when we weren’t scoring as much as we’d like, but we were still getting good looks,” South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley said. “Sometimes it’s exhausting to play as hard as we play defensively, and it takes the wind out of you. I really think the crowd put the life back in us, and we made some big plays down the stretch. We just fed off the energy that was in the building.”

    The Gamecock defense, highlighted by strong rebounding on the defensive glass held Kentucky under control early in the game until the offense found a rhythm midway through the first half. Ibiam got a 9-0 run started with her basket that was followed by back-to-back buckets from Walker, starting with a transition layup and ending with a pull-up jumper that tied the score at 12-12 with 5:58 left in the period.  Aleighsa Welch added a free throw and Khadijah Sessions turned a steal into an easy layup to put the Gamecocks up 15-12 with four minutes to go.  Kentucky looked to rally behind a pair of buckets from Jennifer O’Neill, but the teams went to the locker room tied 19-19.

    Coming out at the half the teams continued to keep the score tight. The Wildcats opened with a 6-0 run that the Gamecocks answered with a 7-0 spurt that included a Tiffany Mitchell 3-pionter, a Welch basket and a transition layup from Walker that put South Carolina back on top 26-25 less than four minutes into the final period.

    The teams traded the lead seven times over the next four minutes until the Wildcats took advantage of consecutive turnovers to stretch their advantage to 40-34 with 11:37 on the clock. Once again, South Carolina had the answer. A Walker steal turned into an Ashley Bruner transition layup, and a Welch steal yielded a pair of free throws from Walker to pull within two at 40-38. A DeNesha Stallworth drive only briefly interrupted what would turn out to be a 10-2 Gamecock surge. Ibiam’s putback kicked off the last of the run, and it was followed by one from Welch. A pair of missed opportunities at the free throw line kept the Wildcats scoreless, and Sessions hit a baseline floater to make it a 44-42 South Carolina advantage with 6:01 to play.

    A pair of A’dia Mathies free throws tied the game for the sixth time, 44-44, with 5:53 on the clock, but the Gamecocks were running again as their aggressive defense wore down and frustrated the visiting Wildcats. Ibiam took a lob underneath and made a strong move to the bucket to open up an 8-0 run. Her powerful defensive rebound on the next possession set the tone down the stretch. After missing the front end of a 1-and-1, Bruner hit a free throw on the next trip up the floor. Sessions converted another transition layup to stretch the lead to five, and after a defensive rebound by Walker, Welch converted a traditional three-point play for an eight-point edge, 52-44 with 3:32 to go.

    The Wildcats kept after it, forcing back-to-back turnovers, but the Gamecocks continued to force them into just one shot per possession, making it difficult to make up ground quickly. Mathies tried to carry her team to the win, scoring Kentucky’s last six points, but it was not enough as the Gamecocks sealed the game at the free throw line in the final 22 seconds.

    “All the credit needs to go to South Carolina tonight,” Kentucky head coach Matthew Mitchell said. “…South Carolina came out extremely physical, and we just didn’t respond in a manner that would allow us to win this game. They made all the hustle plays and were really tough tonight. …They just played really good D and were committed to stopped [A’dia Matheis] and really just all-around fantastic defense. I don’t know that that is extraordinary for a team like South Carolina who is so good on defense.”

    Walker’s 16 points led the way, and Welch added 11, including eight in the second half. The Gamecocks out-scored the Wildcats 30-18 in the paint and forced 18 turnovers to help hold Kentucky just short of 30 points below its season average. South Carolina shot 50.0 percent from the field in the second half and hit 10 free throws to deliver the victory.

    Lady Vols Pick Up Win In Nashville

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Meighan Simmons and Taber Spani combined for 47 points, Tennessee's guards went 10-for-10 at the line in the final minute and the Lady Vols withstood Vanderbilt's second-half surge to take an 83-75 win Thursday night at Memorial Gymnasium.

    Spani scored 24 points and Simmons added 23 points a day before her birthday as Tennessee (15-3, 6-0 SEC) remained undefeated in conference play. Spani was big in the first half with 15 points and Simmons' intensity helped squash Vandy's second-half runs.

    The Lady Vols enjoyed a 46-43 rebounding edge and had good production from their bigs. Bashaara Graves had 16 points and eight boards and Isabelle Harrison chipped in with eight points and nine rebounds.

    Christina Foggie led Vanderbilt (13-6, 3-3 SEC) with 22 points but fouled out with 41.3 seconds left in the game. Tiffany Clarke had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Commodores.

    In the final five minutes, Tennessee committed to working the paint to match the Commodores' continued drives inside. Graves and Harrison combined for eight straight points before Spani, Simmons and Ariel Massengale made 10 straight free throws to ice the game. The Lady Vols would not let Vanderbilt draw any closer than five points the rest of the way.

    Midway through the second half, UT and Vanderbilt played up-tempo basketball, exchanging mini scoring runs. One moment, Tennessee would have a 10-point lead; the next, Vandy would claw to within five points. With the Lady Vols up 61-56 at 8:24, Meighan Simmons drained two free throws and hit a mid-range jumper to answer a persistent Vandy attack.

    Graves came up big early in the second half to help Tennessee shake off a cold streak of shooting. She corralled a high entry pass and made a layup to reestablish UT's lead at 43-41 with 15:07 on the clock. Her positioning for a defensive rebound on Vandy's next possession allowed UT to push the ball forward. Simmons made two free throws after getting fouled on a drive and swished home a trey two possessions later to push Tennessee's lead to 48-41.

    Vanderbilt stormed out of halftime with a 12-0 run. A pair of layups by Christina Foggie and a free throw and fastbreak score by Clarke pulled the Commodores to within 41-36 and a Tennessee timeout at 17:40. After the timeout, Clarke made another layup and Jasmine Lister hit a 3-pointer to knot the game at 41-41 with 16:09 left.

    With 8:15 remaining in the first half, a 9-2 Vanderbilt run brought the Commodores to within six points at 27-21. A layup by Harrison launched a 14-8 Tennessee run to close out the half ahead, 41-29. Taber Spani scored nine of her 15-first half points in the final eight minutes, including a trey with 1:50 remaining to give UT a 15-point advantage.

    UT's defense stymied Vanderbilt to just 26.3 percent shooting before halftime (10-of-38). The Lady Vols shot 45.9 percent from the floor (17-of-37) and owned a 29-21 edge on the boards before the break. Spani led the team with 15 first-half points and was 3-of-4 from downtown. Simmons had 10 points, four boards and three assists and Graves and Harrison combined for 11 rebounds.

    Tennessee never trailed in the game, but Vanderbilt remained close through the first four minutes of play. The Lady Vols led the Commodores, 7-6, at the 16:32 mark, but a 3-pointer by Simmons sparked an 18-8 run that gave UT a 25-14 advantage by the second media timeout.

    Alabama Defeats Auburn, 61-51

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Junior Shafontaye Myers recorded a career high of 23 points, 21 points coming from three-point range, to lead the Crimson Tide to a 61-51 victory over Auburn on Thursday night in Foster Auditorium. With the win, Alabama improves to 12-7 overall and 2-4 in Southeastern Conference action while the loss drops the Tigers to 13-7 on the season and 2-5 in league play.

    “Shafontaye was a huge factor for us tonight, but she’s also the one that her teammates are looking for,” said Alabama head coach Wendell Hudson. “They are making that extra pass and giving up shots to get it to her because that three-point shot, especially when she is hot regardless of how much defense you play, if you get that shot then that is kind of like a defensive stopper for the opponent.”

    Joining Myers in doubles figures was junior Jasmine Robinson, scoring 13 points. Senior Alicia Mitcham contributed a game-high 12 rebounds followed by senior Meghan Perkins, who finished with nine rebounds and 11 points. Auburn sophomore Hasina Muhammad led the Tigers with 13 points followed by junior Peyton Davis with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

    Auburn led by as many as five in the first half, but lost its edge after a three-pointer from Myers put the Tide in front, 20-18, with 4:16 remaining in the half. Myers and sophomore Daisha Simmons would connect on three-pointers on each of Alabama’s next two possessions to give the Tide an eight-point advantage, which eventually rose to 10 at the half.

    The Tigers began the second outscoring the Tide, 11-2, but soon lost its momentum as Alabama used a 15-6 run midway through the half to jump back on top by 10. The Tide would lead by as many as 19 and did not allow Auburn to get any closer than 10 for the duration of the contest.

    For the game, Alabama shot 29.7 percent (19-64) while the Tigers were 30.6 percent (19-62) from the floor. The biggest difference was in three-point field goals as the Tide hit nine while Auburn went scoreless from long range. Alabama led in rebounds, 51-48, and forced 20 Tiger turnovers.

    “Playing in this league, every game is a fight,” added Hudson. “The Auburn-Alabama rivalry is an exciting rivalry. It was played the way it should be, and the players played with the passion they need to play with.”