|THURSDAY WOMEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
|Alabama 70, Wisconsin 62
|Kentucky 116, Lipscomb 49
|Missouri 62, SE Missouri State 57
|Mississippi State 90, Tennessee Tech 45
|Duke 88, Vanderbilt 69
|Florida State 76, Florida 68
Crimson Tide Beats Wisconsin, 70-62, to Earn First Win of the Curry Era
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The Alabama women’s basketball team outscored Wisconsin by 13 in the second half to earn its first win under head coach Kristy Curry, 70-62, Thursday night at Foster Auditorium. The victory moves the Crimson Tide to 1-3 on the season, while the loss drops the previously unbeaten Badgers to 3-1.
“This is not so much about me,” said Curry. “I am just happy for the kids. They have done everything we have asked from day one. It's great to see them get some confidence. It wasn't the easiest start, schedule wise, but for these kids to be able to get a win against a great Big Ten team, it was really good for their confidence. I'm so excited for them.”
Ashley Williams led Alabama with 18 points, 13 of which were scored in the second half, and eight rebounds.
“We have been practicing so hard these past couple of days,” said Williams. “To get out there and get the win felt really good.”
Four additional Tide players finished with double-figure points including Khadijah Carter (15), Daisha Simmons (11) and Karyla Middlebrook (10). Wisconsin was led by Morgan Paige, who had a game-high 28 points.
The Tide opened up the scoring when Simmons converted a Wisconsin turnover into a layup just seconds into the game, however that would be the only lead Alabama would hold in the first half as Wisconsin made a run to take control of the game. The Badgers led by as many as 13 in the first 20 minutes, but Alabama was able to cut it down to five at the half, 38-33, thanks to an 8-0 run.
The defense sparked an Alabama comeback in the second half, as the Tide forced four early turnovers en route to taking a 39-38 lead with 16:34 to go. Alabama opened on an 18-4 run, reaching a nine-point lead with 8:04 to play. Wisconsin would come within four late, but four made free throws in the last minute, two for Simmons and two for Williams, sealed the victory.
For the game, Wisconsin completed 40.4 percent (21-62) of its attempts compared to 33.8 percent (23-68) for Alabama, however the Tide forced nine steals and 19 total Badger turnovers, while turning the ball over only nine times.
Alabama returns to action on Monday, Nov. 25, when it hosts the Alabama A&M Bulldogs at Foster Auditorium. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. CT.
Get all the latest information on the team by following AlabamaWBB on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and Alabama Athletics on Facebook.
No. 7 Kentucky Routs Lipscomb 116-49
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Eight players scored in double figures on Thursday night as No. 7 Kentucky blasted Lipscomb 116-49.
Bria Goss, who led the Wildcats in scoring, recorded 14 of her game-high 18 points in the second half.
Senior DeNesha Stallworth added 14 points, marking her 31st double-figure scoring game in a Wildcat uniform.
UK improved to 5-0 on the season, marking the Wildcats' first 5-0 start since 2011-12 and the fourth in the Matthew Mitchell era.
Kentucky scored a season-high 57 points in the first half. The 57 first half points are the most since UK scored 57 vs. Miami (Ohio) on Dec. 1, 2009 (57-21).
Next up, UK travels to Murfreesboro, Tenn., Sunday, Nov. 24, to face Middle Tennessee at 5 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on MyTV 30 in Nashville and the CW in Lexington. It also will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Sports Radio Network with Neil Price.
Kulas Scores 27 As Missouri Races Past SEMO, 62-57
Columbia, Mo. -- The Missouri Women's Basketball team opened up the second half with a 17-4 run, and held off a late SEMO rally to earn a 62-57 victory Thursday at Mizzou Arena. Senior Bri Kulas posted a career-high 27 points on 10-19 shooting en route to the Tigers fourth straight win to start the 2013-2014 campaign.
Missouri cruised past Evansville last week with efficient shooting from long range and this week the Tigers showed their versatility by overwhelming SEMO down low. The Redhawks had no answer down the stretch as Mizzou scored 20 points in the paint in the second half to earn the gritty win. Two Redhawks forwards spent most of the night in foul trouble, a byproduct of Kulas and company attacking the basket en route easy buckets.
Kulas, a senior, set the tone early, recording each of Missouri's first eight points. However, SEMO battled back behind hot shooting from Kara Wright. The sophomore guard scored a team-high 26 points. She hit four three-pointers in the first half, allowing the Redhawks to build a 32-23 lead at halftime.
Mizzou flipped the script in the second half. The Tigers pulled within one after a Kulas layup with just under 15 minutes to go. On the ensuing possession, Missouri's pressure defense forced a turnover. Kulas capitalized, netting a jumper on the offensive end to hand the Tigers the lead. Freshmen forwards Kayla McDowell and Jordan Frericks followed with back-to-back buckets and SEMO never led again. McDowell and Frericks combined for 15 points and 11 rebounds to complement Kulas' big night and after hitting four treys in the first half, Wright would not get off another attempt from deep in the second half.
With two minutes left, the Redhawks closed the gap, clipping Missouri's lead to 60-57. But Maddie Stock and Bree Fowler iced the game with clutch free throws to help the Tigers improve to 4-0 on the season.
Missouri will put its perfect record on the line Saturday when the team hits the road to face Tennessee-Martin. The game tips off at 7:00 p.m.
Carter, Alwal Lead MSU Women Past Tennessee Tech, 90-45
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi State moved to 4-0 for the first time since the 2009-10 season with a 90-45 win over Tennessee Tech in a women’s basketball game played Thursday night at Humphrey Coliseum.
“I am proud of the kids for playing hard from the jump,” MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. “I like our energy and effort. On the press right now, we are picking up full-court and that is setting the tempo.
“Even when we don’t score baskets off the turnovers, we are setting an atmosphere for the entire team. Overall, I am proud of a lot of the little things that we are doing really well right now.”
Martha Alwal posted her first double-double of the season and 20th of her career with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
“I just wanted to come out to today and play as hard as I could,” Alwal said. “I feel like the last few games I’ve been slacking. I should’ve been getting double-doubles in the last few games. I wanted to make up for that tonight.”
Savannah Carter led the way with a career-high 21 points. Kendra Grant added 18 points, while Breanna Richardson added 12 points.
“That’s shocking because I’m not a scorer. I think I played okay as usual,” Carter said of her performance. “Defensively, I didn’t think I got as many rebounds as I should have had, but I think I played okay.”
The Bulldogs shot 53.3 percent from the floor in the game’s opening half and forced a total of 34 turnovers for the contests. In the last two games, the Bulldogs defense has forced 79 turnovers.
MSU scored the game’s first seven points and never trailed in the contest. A 3-point play by Alwal ran the advantage to 17-4 with 14:48 left in the half. Tech closed within nine on a layup by T’Keyah Williams at 21-12 with 11:54 left in the half.
The Bulldogs took advantage of their full-court pressure to build a 10-0 lead midway through the half. A jumper by Katia May, who had a career-high and MSU second-most 13 assists, ran the advantage to 37-16 with 6:55 left before halftime.
The Bulldogs forced 20 turnovers and hit 16-of-30 shots from the field to build a 52-27 advantage at halftime.
“We have a lot of holes to plug but I love the energy and effort in which we are trying to make things happen,” Schaefer said. “I like my team and I like their focus. We have some kids who can make a difference night in and night out. That is the biggest difference this year. I am pleased at how hard the kids are playing, because it is a reflection of their upbringing and their coaching to this point. It is also a reflection of the things that we are trying to accomplish.”
In the second half, the Bulldogs led by as many as 49 in the closing minutes.
For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 30 of 68 shots from the field (44.1 percent), 2 of 15 shots from 3-point range (13.3 percent) and 28 of 39 shots from the foul line (71.8 percent). The Golden Eagles hit 15 of 42 shots from the field (35.7 percent), 2 of 7 shots from 3-point range (28.6 percent) and 13 of 16 shots from the foul line (81.3 percent).
MSU held a 45-26 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 19 assists and 12 turnovers, while the Golden Eagles had seven assists and 34 turnovers.
Tennessee Tech (1-2) received a game-high eight points from Williams.
MSU will host Savannah State at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Strong second half carries No. 2/2 Duke past Vanderbilt
DURHAM, N.C. -- For more than 30 minutes, Vanderbilt hung tight with the No. 2/2 Duke Blue Devils on their home floor.
But down the stretch, the Blue Devils -- and Tricia Liston, in particular -- proved to be too much.
Liston went 5-of-6 from 3-point range while scoring 15 of her team-high 18 points in the second half, and Duke pulled away for an 88-69 victory over the Commodores on Thursday night. The Blue Devils improved to 4-0; Vanderbilt fell to 3-2.
Vanderbilt was down only 36-34 at the half and was still within striking distance at the midway mark of the second half, trailing 61-54.
But the Commodores then endured a cold snap, missing seven straight shots from the floor, and Duke begin to extend its advantage.
A basket by Duke's Alexis Jones, followed by a 3-pointer by Liston, pushed the lead to 66-54, and the Blue Devils maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way.
Jasmine Lister scored a game-high 23 points for Vanderbilt, including going 4-of-7 from 3-point range, but that wasn't enough to offset the Commodores' 28 turnovers in the loss.
Christina Foggie added 18 for Vanderbilt, and freshman Kylee Smith pulled down a team-high seven rebounds in the first road game of her college career.
The Commodores showed plenty of fight in the opening half, when they essentially traded baskets with Duke and also won the rebounding battle, 18-16. But the Devils flipped the game around in the second half, outscoring Vanderbilt 52-35 and out-rebounding the Commodores, 16-11.
Vanderbilt head coach Melanie Balcomb said her team got a little impatient in the second half when the tempo picked up.
"I think we shot ourselves in the foot a little bit by taking really quick shots," she said. "Once they got hot, and hit shots, I felt like we hit the panic button. And instead of executing and getting the ball inside and out ... we took quick shots to try to stay with them."
For Duke, Liston finished 6-of-8 shots from 3-point range to account for all 18 of her points, and was one of six Duke players in double figures. Chelsea Gray also had a huge game, scoring 14 points with 12 assists and eight rebounds. Alexis Jones had 17 points, and Elizabeth Williams had 13. Haley Peters, who left the game with an apparent knee injury in the first half but returned to the floor in the second half, finished with 11 points, as did Chloe Wells.
The Blue Devils, who went 11-of-19 from 3-point range, have now won 125 straight games against unranked opponents on their home floor.
For Vanderbilt, Lister provided a series of key baskets in the first half to help keep Vanderbilt close. She led all scorers in the first 20 minutes with 11 points, including a pair of 3-pointers.
"I think (Lister) was great," said Balcomb. "I think she played very calm, never lost control. When it got crazy, she didn't get crazy, so I really just liked how her demeanor never changed, and we've been working on that and I was just really proud of how she handled herself." The Commodores were scrappy on the boards in the first half, out-rebounding Duke, 18-16. Bowe led the way with four rebounds, and Smith added three.
Freshman Marqu'es Webb scored two quick baskets to give Vanderbilt an early 4-0 lead, but Duke quickly reeled off seven straight to move ahead, 7-4. The Commodores and Devils then traded baskets for much of the half, with five lead changes and three ties in the opening 20 minutes.
Vanderbilt returns home on Sunday to play Dayton.
Florida Rally Falls Short Against Florida State
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- University of Florida sophomore January Miller (Orlando, Fla.) scored a career-high 19 points and freshman Ronni Williams (Daytona Beach, Fla.) recorded her second double-double but it was Florida State that came away with the 76-68 decision against the Gators on Thursday night at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center.
The Seminoles led by as many as 16 in the second stanza when the Gators went on an 18-8 run that lasted 5:34 and cut the FSU lead to 66-60, with 4:29 remaining. Miller had seven points, Carlie Needles (Highlands Ranch, Col.) converted a four-point play, Williams added four points and Christin Mercer (Douglasville, Ga.) hit one free throw during the spree.
The teams traded baskets for the next three minutes, with Florida coming within five with 1:34 left in the game.
The Gators immediately forced a turnover after Jaterra Bonds' pair of free throws and Florida found its way to the free throw line, but missed both tries. Florida was forced to foul after that and the Seminoles converted 5-of-6 in free throws in the final 48 seconds to seal the win.
There were three tied scores and five lead changes in the first half and with the Gators holding a 14-12 lead after a pair of free throws from Cassie Peoples (San Antonio, Texas) with 9:48 on the clock, Florida State embarked on a 14-2 run over the next 4:56 and took a 26-16 lead, one it was able to maintain for the rest of the game.
Williams netted the second double-double of her young career, finishing with 14 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, while senior Jaterra Bonds (Gainesville, Fla.) added 12 points, six assists and three steals, while sinking all 10 of her free throw attempts.
The loss snapped Florida's 17-game home win streak against non-conference opponents. Florida State was the last time to post a win in the O'Dome, doing so on Nov. 17, 2009.