ATHENS, Ga. – No. 13 Georgia welcomed Arkansas on Thursday night, but the Lady Bulldogs were not gracious hosts in a 66-34 runaway victory over the Razorbacks. UGA (22-4, 10-3 Southeastern Conference) led from start to finish in the win and led by as many as 34 throughout.
Jasmine Hassell paced the Lady Bulldogs offensively, hitting on six of her eight shot attempts on the night en route to a game-high 14 points and three rebounds. Jasmine James was not far behind her teammate, dropping in 12 points for Georgia to go along with five assists and four boards while shooting 66 percent from the floor.
As a team, the Dawgs knocked down 40 percent of their field goals while limiting Arkansas (17-9, 5-8) to just 26.4 percent on the other end of the floor. The Razorbacks were lackluster from behind the 3-point arc, hitting just two of their 16 attempts from long range. UGA forced Arkansas into 21 turnovers on the evening and out-rebounded the Hogs by a wide margin, 47-23.
No Razorbacks managed to break into double figures in the scoring column in Athens, with Dominique Wilson and Erin Gatling coming closest with eight points apiece. No Arkansas player was able to hit more than three shots against Georgia, and the Razorbacks were limited to 18 points or fewer in each half.
Both of these teams will now turn their focus to Sunday afternoon games. Georgia will travel to Ole Miss to cap off the weekend, while Arkansas will try to get back on track against Tennessee at home.
Tennessee Shoots Its Way Past Auburn
KNOXVILLE, Tenn -- Tennessee opened the game on a 19-2 run and never looked back as the Lady Vols cruised to their 10th wire-to-wire win of the year, 83-61, over Auburn. Tennessee (21-5, 12-1 SEC) increased its first-place lead in the conference to a full game over Kentucky (11-2 SEC).
Five Lady Vols scored in double-figures, the seventh time this season that has occurred.
Junior Meighan Simmons led Tennessee with 24 points. She also recorded a career-high five steals.
Sophomore Cierra Burdick posted her fourth career-double and third this season with 15 points and a career-high 13 rebounds.
Senior Taber Spani tallied 16 as she knocked down 4-of-5 from trifecta land.
Freshman Bashaara Graves notched her 23rd game in double-figures with 14, in her 26 collegiate games.
Sophomore Ariel Massengale handed out a season-high 10 assists to go along with 10 points for her first-career double-double. It marked the third time this year the Lady Vols had a pair of players with double-doubles.
3-pointers were a huge story for the Lady Vols as they hit on a season-best nine-of-20.
The win was Tennessee's 15th consecutive at home against the Tigers. The Lady Vols have won every game in Knoxville vs. AU since 1989. All-time the Lady Vols lead the series, 38-10.
Tennessee began the game on fire making nine of its first 12 shots including seven in a row extending its lead to 22-5. The Lady Vols broke the game open hitting five consecutive 3-pointers in a two-minute span. Simmons knocked down three treys on her own to give the Lady Vols that 17-point advantage.
Spani added two 3-pointers in the first half while Massengale also aided the effort with a three of her own.
The Lady Vols offense combined with 14 Auburn miscues in the first half allowed the Lady Vols to scored 15 points off turnovers in the first 20 minutes.
Tennessee's largest lead of the half was 26 on a Burdick layup with 7:29 left in the first half, making it 33-7.
The Lady Vols led 44-21 at halftime -- their eighth 20-point lead at halftime this season. UT's shot of 7-of-10 from beyond the arc in the first half -- its most 3-pointers in a half this season. Tennessee made two 3s in the second half, going 2-of-10.
The onslaught continued in the second half as the lead was never less than 20 points.
Spani's 3-pointer, UT's first in the second half after eight misses to start the period, put the Lady Vols ahead, 76-47 with five minutes left. Simmons 3-pointer with 3:40 left ballooned the lead to 31 at 81-50.
Auburn was led by Tra'Cee Tanner, who had 20. Blanche Alverson tallied 15.
The Tigers, which played Tennessee to a close 75-66 decision at Auburn on Jan. 17, stand at 14-12 overall and 3-10 in the SEC.
Tennessee only has three regular-season games remaining. The Lady Vols travel to Arkansas on Sunday for a 4 p.m., matchup on the SEC Network and the Lady Vol Network.
The SEC regular-season champion will be decided in UT's final two games as Tennessee faces Texas A&M (10-2) at home on Feb. 28 and travels to Kentucky (11-2 SEC) on March 3 in the finale.
Clarke Powers Vandy Past Florida
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Tiffany Clarke scored 20 of her 26 points in the second half to propel Vanderbilt past Florida 68-57 Thursday night at the O'Connell Center.
Clarke dominated down the stretch to turn Vanderbilt's two-point advantage into a double-digit victory. The Commodores, leading 41-39 with under nine minutes remaining, went on a 17-5 run powered by the senior forward's 13-point flurry.
Jasmine Lister also had an impressive night for Vanderbilt, scoring 12 of her 16 points from three-point range to balance the Dores' offensive attack.
"Tiffany and Jasmine showed up for the whole game," head coach Melanie Balcomb said. "When they show up for 40 minutes, we're going to be hard to play. They were fun to watch."
With the win, the Commodores improved to 17-9 and 7-6 in the Southeastern Conference.
Vanderbilt controlled the first half and held an 11-point lead heading into halftime. The Commodores' defense limited the Gators to just 15 points in the opening period, VU's best effort of the season. Florida got back into the game with a 12-0 run at the start of the second half to move ahead of Vanderbilt, 27-26.
"We calmed down, and we recovered really well after Florida made that big run," Balcomb added. "Jasmine hit big shots to keep us in it. Then she got the ball to Tiffany and we just played through it."
Vanderbilt will next host Texas A&M Sunday at 4 p.m. at Memorial Gym.
Texas A&M Cruises Past Ole Miss
COLLEGE STATION-Texas A&M got back on the winning track with an impressive 82-53 win over the Ole Miss Rebels at Reed Arena in front 5,804 fans on Thursday night.
Junior Kelsey Bone's career night on the boards highlighted the A&M win, Bone collected a career high 17 rebounds to go along with her 24 points, her 13th double-double on the season. Bone's 17 rebounds ties for the most in an SEC game this season. The last time an A&M player had 17 or more rebounds was Yolanda Brown against SMU on Feb. 24, 1993 with 18 boards.
"Bone didn't have a lot of size against her tonight, but she was really going to the boards hard particularly in the second half and getting some easy looks," Head Coach Gary Blair said after the game. "Being strong enough to just take the ball away from them a couple of times got her some easy baskets."
The A&M (21-6, 11-2 SEC) win over Ole Miss (9-17, 2-11) moves them into a tie for second place in the SEC standings, with the idle Kentucky Wildcats (23-3, 11-2).
The maroon and white opened the game scoring 12 of the first 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting with four assists, before the first media timeout. A&M's defense forced four early turnovers by the Rebels leading to four points for the Aggies. Bone scored six of A&M's points before the first media timeout.
Freshman Courtney Walker and Bone had a connection early in the game with Walker assisting on the each of Bone's first four field goals. The team play was contagious with the Aggies assisting on 13 of their 19 field goals in the first half.
"You look at Walker in the ball game and say that we really didn't notice her," Blair added after the game. "But eight points, five assists, no turnovers, and four out of nine shooting thats not a bad night at all."
Following the first media timeout, the Aggies used a 17-5 run over 5:20 to put some distance between the two teams. Seven Aggies registered scored in the run that helped the Aggies build an 18 point lead.
The Aggies went into the break leading 40-28 behind 22-for-42 shooting from the field. The Aggie defense was stifling at times forcing 12 Rebel turnovers leading to 12 Aggie points.
After the break, the Rebels outscored the Aggies 8-3 during a two minute stretch, but the home team responded with 14-2 run over five minutes of action to take a then game-high 22 point lead.
Late in the second half the Aggies used a 18-7 run to take a game-high 33 point lead before the Rebels scored the final four points of the game to finish the scoring at 82-53 in the maroon and white's favor.
On the night the Aggies dominated the paint with a 50-28 points in the paint advantage over the shorter Ole Miss squad and out-rebounding the Rebels by 12 on the night. The Aggies scored their fifth most points in a game this season off a season-high 37 made field goals, assisting on 22 of them.
Joining Bone in double figures was senior Adrienne Pratcher with 13 points along with a career high six rebounds. Freshman Courtney Williams scored 11 and senior Kristi Bellock finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
Junior Kristen Grant played a season high nine minutes, setting a career high with four assists and tying her career high with four rebounds.
Ole Miss was paced by Valencia McFarland's 11 points and four assists. McFarland was the only Rebel in double figure scoring.
The Aggies will take to the road for the next two contests; beginning at Vanderbilt on Sunday afternoon, televised on ESPN2 at 4:00 pm. Then A&M will travel once again to the state of Tennessee for a match-up with the Lady Vols next Thursday on CSS at 6:00 p.m.
Mississippi State Routs Alabama
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Shooting woes continued to hamper Alabama as it went 26.2 percent from the floor in a 75-51 loss at Mississippi State on Thursday. The Crimson Tide now stands at 12-14 overall and 2-11 in the Southeastern Conference while the win brings the Bulldogs to 12-14 on the season and 4-9 against league opponents.
"Mississippi State did what they had to do to win the game," said Alabama head coach Wendell Hudson. "We didn't shoot the ball well at all, which allowed them to get a big lead on us. We've got to get better. It's a matter of stepping up and making shots."
Redshirt sophomore Kaneisha Horn led Alabama in scoring with 16 points, in addition to eight rebounds, two blocks and one steal while senior Meghan Perkins collected a team-high 10 rebounds and four blocks. Mississippi State got big games from sophomores Martha Alwal and Carnecia Williams, who combined for 43 points, 23 rebounds, nine blocks and five steals.
The Bulldogs struck first as Alwal connected on Mississippi State's first possession of the game less than 30 seconds in. Alabama stayed within four until the Bulldogs scored eight unanswered points to pull in front by 10 at the 11:17 mark. The Tide would cut it to five minutes later; however Mississippi State would build its lead back up to 10 at the half, 38-28.
The Bulldogs came out and dominated the second half, outscoring Alabama 17-2 over the first eight minutes. Horn ended the Tide's scoring drought with five straight free throws to bring the score to 55-35 with 10:46 to play. The Bulldogs would go on to lead by as many as 27 in the contest.
Mississippi State outscored Alabama, 38-18, in the paint and had 28 second-chance points compared to the Tide's 13. The Bulldogs collected 15 more rebounds and forced 21 Alabama turnovers.