GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Florida trailed 1-0 to open up its Sunday afternoon showdown with Alabama at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center, but that was the only time the Gators would find themselves trailing on their way to a 87-54 win over the Crimson Tide.
The Gators (14-9, 3-6 Southeastern Conference) blew the doors off early on Super Bowl Sunday, racing out of the gate to a 20-point advantage at the half. That lead would only expand in the second half of play, swelling to as many as 34 points on the way to the finish line and a comfortable home win for Florida.
Florida’s big day was ignited by hot shooting, as the Gators knocked down 58 percent of their field goal attempts on the afternoon. That high shooting percentage combined with a stingy defensive effort that allowed Alabama (12-10, 2-7) to hit only 25 percent of its shot attempts, including a lowly 3-of-23 effort from beyond the 3-point arc.
Christin Mercer powered the strong offensive effort for UF with a game-high 18 points. Mercer didn’t limit her efforts to the scoring column, as she also hauled in a game-high 11 rebounds to complete the double-double performance. Jaterra Bonds connected on 66 percent of her shots for Florida en route to 16 points and a pair of assists, while Sydney Moss (14 points) and Lily Svete (12 points) also had solid offensive outings for the home team.
Kaneisha Horn did her best for the Crimson Tide by dropping in 14 points on the day, but it wasn’t enough to keep pace with the red-hot shooting of the Gators. Meghan Perkins added 10 points for the Tide in the loss to go along with six boards, but Bama was never able to recover from the 20-point halftime deficit.
Alabama will now regroup before hosting South Carolina on Thursday night, while Florida will take a week to rest before travelling to Auburn next Sunday.
Mizzou Knocks Off No. 9 Tennessee Thanks to Big Second Half
COLUMBIA, Mo. – Missouri hosted No. 9 Tennessee on Sunday afternoon and knocked off the Lady Volunteers, 80-53. The Tigers (15-8, 4-5 Southeastern Conference) used a 46-point second half to pull away from Tennessee and secure the big home win.
After 26 minutes of back-and-forth, closely contested basketball, Mizzou took control of the game and began to pull away. With the game tied at 45 with 14 minutes to play, the Tigers ignited for a 35-18 run down the final stretch that distanced them from the Vols (17-5, 8-1) and secured the win. Mizzou shot over 50 percent as a team in the win, its fourth SEC victory of the season and Tennessee’s first conference loss.
Bri Kulas spearheaded the effort for Mizzou with 20 points, five rebounds and five assists. Morgan Eye provided a massive boost off the bench, playing 31 minutes in relief duty and dropping a game-high 26 points for the Tigers to go along with five boards. Eye knocked down 8-of-14 shot attempts on the day, including six of her 12 attempts from 3-point range. As a unit, the Tigers connected on 45.8 percent of their 3-point shots for the game.
Tennessee suffered the loss despite a very balanced effort from its starting lineup. All five Lady Vol starters scored in double figures, with Kamiko Williams’ 14 point-effort leading the way. Taber Spani scored 12, Bashaara Graves scored 11, Meighan Simmons dropped 13 and Ariel Messengale added 10 for the Lady Vols, but it was not enough to keep pace with a hot Missouri squad down the stretch of the second half.
Mizzou forced Tennessee into 18 turnovers on the day while allowing only six assists. Comparatively, the Tigers turned the ball over 17 times but managed 23 assists on the offensive end.
Tennessee will look to get back on track this Thursday against LSU, while the Tigers will take a week to recuperate before facing off with Mississippi State.
Georgia Takes Down Kentucky in Lexington
LEXINGTON. Ky. – Khaalidah Miller scored 25 points for Georgia on Sunday and the 13th-ranked Bulldogs knocked off No. 8 Kentucky 75-71 at Memorial Coliseum. The win marked the seventh conference win of the season for Georgia (19-3, 7-2 Southeastern Conference) and only the second conference defeat of the year for the Wildcats.
The Bulldogs made clutch free throws down the stretch to hold off Kentucky for the win, handing the Wildcats their second loss in the last three games. Miller’s big effort was the product of a 7-for-12 shooting performance that included five 3-pointers out of UGA’s six total. Her strong shooting day helped the Bulldogs finish the day with a 45.6 percent mark from the field compared to Kentucky’s 38.7 percent mark.
Jasmine James and Anne Marie Armstrong chipped in in a big way for the Dawgs, dropping 12 points apiece in the win while combining for eight rebounds and seven assists. J Hassell scored four points while grabbing a team-high eight rebounds against the Wildcats, and UGA ended the game with a significant advantage on the boards (36 to 27, including 13 offensive rebounds).
A’dia Mathies led the way offensively for Kentucky once again on Sunday, scoring 18 points while grabbing five rebounds and dishing out four assists. Jennifer O’Neill also added 18 points for the Cats, hitting on five of her 13 shots with three assists and three steals. Kentucky was hurt by 20 turnovers on the day and Georgia slammed the door late by converting free throws in the final minute of play.
Both teams will take the court again on Thursday night, Georgia against Auburn and Kentucky against Arkansas.
Vanderbilt Powers Past Ole Miss at Memorial Gym
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vanderbilt welcomed Ole Miss to Memorial Gym on Sunday afternoon, but the Commodores were hardly accommodating in a 79-53 win over the Rebels. Christina Foggie led the effort for the ’Dores (15-7, 5-4 Southeastern Conference) with a game-high 22 points, and Vandy picked up its fifth SEC victory of the season.
Vanderbilt took control right out of the gate, running its way to a 38-17 lead at the break and cruising to the finish line with a 41-point effort in the second half. Ole Miss (8-14, 1-8) was suffocated in the opening 20 minutes, only managing 17 points against the Vanderbilt defense while being throttled on the other end of the floor.
Foggie knocked down six of her 14 field goal attempts and hit on all seven of her free throws in the big-time performance. She added four rebounds and four assists to her stat line also in what turned out to be a well-rounded day. Tiffany Clarke chipped in for Vandy with 14 points and eight boards, while Jasmine Lister and Heather Bowe added 11 apiece for good measure.
Tia Faleru led the scoring effort for Ole Miss off the bench, with Courtney Mabra and Diara Moore pouring in 11 points piece in a starting role. The Rebels managed a more respectable 36-point effort in the second half, but it was not enough to recover from their slow start in the first and Vanderbilt’s effectiveness on the offensive end.
Both teams will take a week break before getting back in action, with Miss facing Tennessee next Sunday and Vanderbilt going head-to-head with Kentucky.
South Carolina Takes Care of Business Against Auburn
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina continued to roll on Sunday afternoon by taking down the Auburn Tigers in Columbia, 59-51. The Gamecocks (19-3, 7-2 Southeastern Conference) overcame 12 turnovers and a five-rebound deficit to pick up their seventh SEC win of the season.
South Carolina found itself in a 30-30 deadlock early on in the second half, but the Gamecocks would take the lead and not look back from there, leading the final 15 minutes of the game. Khadijah Sessions came off the bench for USC to contribute in a large way, dropping 19 points on 5-of-9 shooting to pace the offensive effort.
Tiffany Mitchell and Aleighsa Welch added 10 points apiece while combining for seven rebounds, and South Carolina shot 41 percent from the field as a team. USC led by as many as nine points throughout the game, and never trailed by more than three to the Tigers (13-9, 2-7).
Auburn was led offensively by Tyrese Tanner, who scored 10 points to go along with four boards and three assists. Hasina Muhammad and Najat Ouardad chipped in with seven points apiece in the loss, while Chadarryl Clay added seven points in relief duty as well. Auburn shot below 40 percent on the day, including a 25-percent mark from long distance. The Tigers’ 14 turnovers did not help their cause.
South Carolina and Auburn will return to the court on Thursday, with the Gamecocks taking on Alabama and the Tigers facing Georgia.
Mississippi State Downs Arkansas in Defensive Struggle
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Sunday’s game between Mississippi State and Arkansas in Starkville turned into a defensive battle, and the Bulldogs eventually came out on the winning end of a 47-44 decision. Both teams shot under 35 percent on the afternoon, but the Bulldogs (10-12, 2-7 Southeastern Conference) made enough plays to overcome 19 turnovers and secure their second conference win of the year.
Mississippi State led by as many as 13 points in the first half before the Razorbacks (15-7, 3-6) rallied after the break to even things up. The final 10 minutes of the game proved to be a tug-of-war that MSU eventually coming out on the winning end thanks to Dominque Wilson’s missed 3-pointer in the closing seconds.
Martha Alwal scored 14 points to pace the Bulldogs while also hauling in a team-high 12 rebounds. She connected on five of her 13 shots on the day and hit five of her six free throw attempts as well. Kendra Grant added 11 points for MSU to go along with five boards, and the Bulldogs finished the afternoon with a 34 percent mark from the field.
Arkansas fared even worse from the field, hitting only 32 percent of its shots and misfiring on all 10 of its 3-point attempts. Quistelle Williams led all scorers on the afternoon with 16 points and 14 boards. Sarah Watkins chipped in 15 points off the bench for the Hogs, but it ultimately proved to be too little as Arkansas could not overcome a 10-point halftime deficit that was a product of only 14 first half points.
Arkansas will try to regroup before its next game against Kentucky on Thursday night, while Mississippi State will have a week to prepare for Mizzou next Sunday.