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    SEC Women's Basketball Today: Friday, November 29

    Women's Basketball RESULTS
    LSU 69, Rutgers 65
    Auburn 67, Ball State 51
    Illinois State 68, Florida 64
    Georgia 80, George Washington 60
    St. Mary's 87, Alabama 76
    Arkansas 88, Southeast Missouri State 37
    Missouri 68, Hartford 45
    Vanderbilt 88, Elon 66
    Texas 69, Texas A&M 58
    Tennessee 87, SMU 47
    Mississippi State 71, Grand Canyon 62

     

    Moncrief Leads Lady Tigers Past Rutgers, 69-65

    BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Freshman guard Raigyne Moncrief put on a show in Brooklyn, scoring a season-high 27 points with seven rebounds and seven steals as the 15th-ranked LSU women’s basketball team held off Rutgers by a score of 69-65 in the second game of the Barclays Invitational on Friday afternoon in the Barclays Center.

    “Our game plan was to really try to play off the bounce and Raigyne did just that for us,” said LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell. “Down the stretch, we wanted the ball in her hands. That says a lot about her. She has done a lot for this team in the short period of time she’s been here. I feel like she’s grown since the Louisville game.”

    The Lady Tigers (5-1) claimed their third straight win and will face Michigan in the championship game of the Barclays Invitational at approximately 9 p.m. CT Saturday. The Wolverines (5-2) were an 82-71 winner over Texas Tech in the first game. The Red Raiders will take on the Scarlet Knights (4-2) in the consolation game at 6:30 p.m. CT Saturday.

    LSU-Michigan follows 25 minutes after the completion of that contest and it will be carried on the LSU Sports Radio Network on Talk 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge. Members of the Geaux Zone can listen to it at www.LSUsports.net/live. The game will not be televised.

    The Lady Tigers, down two players, persevered on Friday and did it with exceptional aggressive defense that forced Rutgers into 29 turnovers which led to 31 points. LSU was without two of its top four scorers in sophomore guard Danielle Ballard and junior guard DaShawn Harden. Both were serving one-game suspensions following an ejection at Louisiana Tech. The two will be back for the Michigan game.

    Moncrief was the most athletic player on the floor, going 6-of-16 from the floor and draining 15-of-20 free throws. The 15 free throws finished second in LSU single-game history and the most since Pokey Chatman made a school-record 18 against Georgia on Feb. 10, 1991. Her 20 attempts also finished one shy of Chatman’s school attempts record.

    Meanwhile, Moncrief’s seven steals tied for fifth in LSU single-game history. On at least three occasions, the star freshman had at least three steals with to coast-to-coast layups. She poured in 18 points in the second half and that proved to be the difference.

    Senior forward Theresa Plaisance added 16 points and six boards, while senior center Shanece McKinney came off the bench for 10 points with several key putbacks.

    Despite shooting 34.9 percent to Rutgers’ 48.1 percent, LSU’s defense set the tone and led to a 29-25 halftime advantage. That lead grew to as many as 10 points in the second half. Rutgers was plagued by foul trouble, including three quick ones on center Rachel Hollivay, who finished with only six points and four boards.

    LSU shot 23-of-33 from the line for the game, but the Scarlet Knights were able to draw within a point following Briyona Canty’s layup that made it 50-49 with 6:29 remaining in the game. After an LSU miss, Moncrief made an incredible steal at the top of the key and went the length of the floor for the score. Jeanne Kenney followed with her second three of the game from the left corner. Plaisance then gathered an offensive rebound and converted a three-point play to culminate a 7-1 run.

    “We were tested by their defensive pressure,” said Caldwell. “Jeanne Kenney, Raigyne Moncrief and Rina Hill did a great job of getting us into our action. Once we got the ball into our high post, we had some great looks. I am proud of our team for battling against a very good Rutgers team. We did some good things.”

    Caldwell put the ball in the hands of Moncrief for the remainder of the game with the teams in foul trouble. Her aggressive play led to nine made free throws in the final 2:20. Still Rutgers had a chance as LSU got careless with the basketball.

    Moncrief turned it over and missed a pair of free throws but Canty’s potential game-tying three from the top of the key clanged off the rim with 0:08 left. Moncrief secured the win and made it a two-possession game with a free throw with 0:02 remaining.

    Kahleah Copper led the Scarlet Knights with 16 points.






    Auburn Defense Sparks 67-51 Win Over Ball State

    LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Auburn’s defense was too much to handle as the Tigers (4-2) downed Ball State (1-4), 67-51 in the first game of the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout in Las Vegas. Freshman Brandy Montgomery led Auburn with 17 points while Tyrese and Tra’Cee Tanner added 14 each.

    With junior Hasina Muhammad in the lineup for the first time this season, she led an Auburn defense that forced 29 Ball State turnovers, turning them into 39 points on the other end. The 39 points off turnovers are the most for the Tigers in the Coach Flo Era.

    “This is one thing I am trying to get this team to understand – turnovers is what gives us our offense,” said Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy. “That’s what they have to understand, we are in our press, we turn people over and that is how we score in transition.”

    Three different Ball State players committed six turnovers while Muhammad picked up six steals for the Tigers. Kiani Parker added four steals while Tra’Cee Tanner and Brandy Montgomery picked up a pair each.

    “Once they figure out that our press is what wins ballgames for us, they will be a much better team,” said Williams-Flournoy. “Hasina and Kiani did a very good job of getting into the passing lanes, they had 10 steals between the two of them.”

    Auburn never trailed in the game as the Tigers scored the first five points of the game to take an early lead. Ball State was able to tie it at 7-7, but it was all Auburn after that.

    The Tigers pulled away, extending the lead to double figures on a Tra’Cee Tanner free throw with a little more than eight minutes left in the half. After leading by 17 points, the Tigers took a 35-19 lead into halftime. The 19 points are the fewest allowed by the Tigers in a half this season.

    The lead was never in single digits again. Ball State made a push and cut it to 11 midway through the second half, but Auburn bounced back and led by as many as 20. The Tigers coasted the rest of the way for the 67-51 win.

    For Montgomery, it was a career-high 17 points and her fourth double-digit scoring effort in her first five games as a Tiger. The Tanner sisters combined for 28 points and 12 rebounds while Muhammad scored 11 points with three rebounds, three blocks and six steals in her season debut.

    Nathalie Fontaine led Ball State with 21 points and six rebounds. Eighteen of her points came in the second half while nine of her 21 came at the free-throw line. Jill Morrison added 15 points for the Cardinals.

    Auburn will return to action in its second game of the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout at 9:30 p.m. CT, Saturday as the Tigers play No. 23/15 Iowa State. Fans can listen live on WGZZ 94.3 FM in Auburn and on AuburnTigers.com/AllAccess.






    Gators Fall to Illinois State in Junkanoo Jam First Round

    FREEPORT, Grand Bahama Island - Senior Jaterra Bonds (Gainesville, Fla.) scored a team-best 25 points and helped Florida erase a late 14-point deficit, but Illinois State remained composed and handed the Gators a 68-64 loss in the Junkanoo Jam first round played at St. Georges High School on Friday afternoon.

    Florida meets Oregon State (4-1) in the consolation game on Saturday at 1:45 p.m. EST. The only coverage of the game will be the radio broadcast that can be heard live in Gainesville on WGGG 1230AM and through the internet at www.GatorZone.com<http://www.GatorZone.com>. The Beavers lost to No. 13/14 Penn State, 61-56, in their first-round game.

    Illinois State used a 17-4 run midway through the first half to build a 24-10 lead. Bonds, who finished with a career-high-tying scoring effort, tallied four points in a mini 6-0 run that had the Gators within seven points with 3:12 remaining in the opening period, but the Redbirds scored the next six points en route to a 35-24 halftime lead.

    The teams exchanged scores for the first seven minutes of the second half until the Gators ripped off an 11-0 spree and tied the game at 44 with 10:41 to play. Bonds scored five points during the run, while freshman Ronni Williams (Daytona Beach, Fla.), who tallied 14 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots, scored four points and Kayla Lewis (Decatur, Ga.), who finished with 10 points and eight rebounds, added an inside bucket.

    Illinois State's Chloe Nelson, who finished with a game-high 26 points, scored the game's next three points to keep the Gators from taking the lead.

    Florida tied the game three more times and even took a two-point lead, 51-49, with 7:49 remaining, but that was the only time the Redbird defense allowed the Gators consecutive scores after knotting the game.

    The Gators managed to tie the score at 54 as late as 6:26 remaining when Williams hit one of two free throws, but Brianna Puni put back an offensive rebound and Nelson drained one of her four three-pointers and gave Illinois State the five-point cushion with 4:02 to go.

    The teams traded scores until ISU converted back-to-back possessions, capped by Stekara Hall's driving layup that put the Redbirds on top, 65-58, with 1:34 and that seemed to be the backbreaker.

    The Gators, however, refused to fold and had one final push when senior Lily Svete (Granger, Ind.) canned one of her two three-pointers and had the Gators within four points with 1:18 to play. But Florida missed a couple clutch free throw attempts in the final minute that would have put them closer.






    Lady Bulldogs Roll Past George Washington

    ATLANTA, Ga. - Tiaria Griffin scored a game-high 19 points to lead five Georgia Lady Bulldogs in double figures en route to a decisive 80-60 victory over George Washington (3-2) at the GSU Sports Arena on Friday. No. 22-ranked Georgia (7-0) will now face host Georgia State in the championship game of GSU's Thanksgiving Invitational on Sunday afternoon at 2:30 p.m.

    Griffin's point production was aided by her 4-of-8 shooting from 3-point range. In addition, Khaalidah Miller scored 14 points, Halle Washington added a career-high 12, Shacobia Barbee chipped in 11 and Erika Ford notched a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

    "I thought we did a lot of good things offensively," head coach Andy Landers said. "I thought we executed to the end of the shot clock two or three times, showed great discipline and patience in doing that. But we also got early looks and knocked those down and showed good decision making. We vacated the offense several times and made individual decisions and capitalized on those. We scored in about every way you could score, both in the halfcourt and in the fullcourt. We did a nice job from the '3' and a nice job on the offensive boards."

    The teams traded buckets in the opening moments of the game before a Griffin 3-pointer at the 12:45 mark ignited an 18-2 run covering 6:59 that put Georgia 33-15.

    "I thought the first two or three minutes were lackluster and we were lacking some effort," Landers said. "Once we got started, we played pretty well. It looks like to me that our defense inspires us. Whether we turn the other team over or not, we play better offensively when we we're playing hard defensively."

    At the under 8:00 media timeout with 7:39 left in the first half, the Lady Bulldogs were 13-of-16 from the field, a blistering 81.3 percent. Georgia was a perfect 10-of-10 on 2-point field goal attempts at that point.

    The Lady Bulldogs opened the second half quickly as well, outscoring the Colonials 7-2 over the first 1:31 and forcing a quick George Washington timeout.

    The lead eventually topped out at 31 points on a Griffin 3-point play with 5:58 left on the clock that made it 75-44.

    Georgia's 80 points represented a season-high effort and improved the Lady Bulldogs to 426-6 when scoring 80 or more points during Landers' 35 seasons at Georgia.






    Crimson Tide Struggles at the Free Throw Line; Drops 86-76 Decision at Saint Mary’s

    MORAGA, Calif. – The Alabama women’s basketball team fell at Saint Mary’s, 86-76, Friday afternoon at McKeon Pavilion in the second game of the day at the Hilton Concord Thanksgiving Classic. With the loss, the Crimson Tide dips to 2-4 on the season, while the win lifts the Gaels to 6-0 overall.

    Alabama and Saint Mary’s were nearly even in all categories with the exception of free throw percentage where the Tide hit 46.4 percent (13-28) compared to the Gaels’ 75.0 percent (15-20).

    Shafontaye Myers led Alabama in scoring with 20 points off the bench, while Daisha Simmons added another 15 points, in addition to seven assists, three steals and one block for the Tide. Nikki Hegstetter finished as the team’s leader in rebounds with nine. Saint Mary’s had four players finish in double figures, led by Lauren Nicholson’s 28-point performance.

    The teams traded baskets over the first seven minutes of the game where there were five ties and three lead changes before the Gaels scored 11 unanswered points to pull in front 27-16 with 11:42 to go in the half. Alabama cut it to two at the 1:49 mark after Hegstetter connected on a pair of free throws, but the Gaels would head into the break with a 49-44 advantage.

    The Tide got within one point on four occasions, but it was unable to take the lead back at any point in the second half. Saint Mary’s closed out the game on an 8-1 run for the 86-76 win.

    Alabama shot 41.9 percent (26-62) overall and 40.7 percent (11-27) from three three-point line, while Saint Mary’s went 49.2 percent (31-63) in the game and 47.4 percent (9-19) from beyond the arc. The Gaels had a slight edge on the boards, outrebounding the Tide 42-39 and had 20 assists compared to Alabama’s 16.

    The Tide plays its second and final game of the tournament on Saturday when it takes on Cal State Fullerton at 2 p.m. CT. The Titans were edged out in their first game, 59-58, by Toledo.

    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.






    Razorbacks Shoot Way To 88-37 Win Over SEMO

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Calli Berna flirted with a triple-double at 12 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds, while Jhasmin Bowen had a career-high 20 points, as the University of Arkansas women's basketball team (7-0) rolled to an 88-37 win over Southeast Missouri (2-5) inside The Pit on Friday night.

    Four Razorbacks reached double-digit scoring for the fourth time this season, as Arkansas shot 57 percent from the floor collectively and nine players scored in the opening game of the New Mexico Tournament in Albuquerque, N.M.

    “I think it started at the defensive end and we were awfully good there taking away what they did,” head coach Tom Collen said. “That allowed us to get in transition. I think when you allow Calli to get out in transition. She’s pretty good there and is going to pick you apart.”

    Berna was able to get plenty of teammates involved in the big win, as freshman Jessica Jackson and senior Keira Peak each added 15 points to join Berna and Bowen in double figures. Peak also surpassed the 500 career-rebound mark in the win.

    “The thing that I was most proud of was the way they executed,” Collen added. “They did a good job of getting Jhas involved down low. We’ve been trying to do more and more of that lately. She responded and had a great game.”

    Arkansas asserted itself early, forcing a number of early baskets in the paint to open up a 17-4 lead just over midway through the first half. Jackson led the way with five points in the paint, while Bowen added four points of her own down low.

    The Razorback defense also came out strong, locking down SEMO and helping Arkansas piece together a 17-0 run to extend its lead to 23-4 at the 7:54 mark. The Redhawks were held over 10 minutes without a single point, closing the first half shooting just 21 percent to the Razorbacks’ 52 percent. The Razorbacks also forced SEMO into nine turnovers during the first half, leading to 15 points off of turnover and a 38-14 lead at the break.

    Berna highlighted the first half for the Razorbacks and headed into the locker room with nine points on 4-of-5 shooting, adding in five assists and four rebounds to round out her stat sheet. Jackson and Peak added eight points each, as

    Berna, Jackson and Peak combined to score 25 points and accounted for over 65 percent of the team’s first-half offense.

    The Razorbacks kept their blistering offensive performance rolling out of the break, as the Razorbacks ran off a 10-2 run and extended its lead to 48-16 with 16:46 to play. Freshman McKenzie Adams paced the way with a quick six points on perfect shooting, as Arkansas shot 57.1 percent collectively and 50 percent from three-point range over the first three minutes of the second half.

    The game would never draw any closer for the Redhawks, as the Razorbacks continued to frustrate SEMO offensively.

    Entering the game ranked second in the SEC in three-point defense, Arkansas held SEMO to 1-of-15 shooting from beyond the arc. The Razorbacks also out-rebounded the Redhawks by a 49-to-32 margin.

    With the win over Southeast Missouri, Arkansas advances to play in the New Mexico Tournament championship tomorrow and will face either Binghamton or host team New Mexico at either 6 or 8 p.m.
     



    Tigers Top Hawks in Thanksgiving Tournament

    Coral Gables, Fla. - The Mizzou Tigers earned their seventh win of the season (7-0 overall) on Friday, topping the Hartford Hawks, 68-45 in the first game of the University of Miami Thanksgiving Tournament. Senior Bri Kulas led the Tigers with 24 points on the night, followed by freshman Jordan Frericks who recorded a career-high 13 points on the night.

    The Tigers shot 40-percent from the field on the night and held the Hawks to just 19-percent from beyond the arc.

    The Tigers started off the first half trading buckets with the Hawks, but with 8:44 left in the half Mizzou went on a 13-0 run and never looked back. The Tigers held the Hawks to just 22 first-half points, none from the charity stripe. The Tigers also outscored the Hawks 18-2 in the paint through the first half. Kulas' leadership skills were evident in the half as she led the team with 17 points before the break.

    Hartford picked up steam coming out of the locker room reducing the Tigers lead to just six points, but Frericks was sent to the free throw line to help turn the Tigers around. Frericks finished the game with a career high 13 points overall. Her eight rebounds on the night contributed to Missouri's domination on the glass as well. The Tigers outrebounded the Hawks, 49-30.

    Missouri went on a 15-0 run from 10:28 to 1:29 in the second half, holding off the Hawks for about 10 minutes. The Hawks scored with 10:56 on the clock and did not record any points until just before the final minute of the game.

    The Tigers will face Miami in the tournament championship game tomorrow, Nov. 30, at 2 p.m. CT. Live scoring for the tournament can be found at Miami.statbroadcast.com.

    For more news and updates on Mizzou Women's Basketball, check in to MUTigers.com. Fans can also follow the team on Twitter (@MizzouWBB), Instagram (@MizzouWBB) and Facebook (facebook.com/MizzouWBB).
     




    Big first half leads Vanderbilt past Elon, 88-66

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Vanderbilt women's basketball team delivered a golden performance on Black Friday.

    And it proved to be a great bargain for Commodores' fans.

    With free admission for all fans at Memorial Gym, a crowd of 4,446 saw the Commodores storm out to a 24-point halftime lead and sail to an 88-66 win over Elon in the opening game of the Vanderbilt Thanksgiving Tournament.

    Jasmine Lister scored a team-high 22 points and Christina Foggie had 18 for the Commodores, who improved to 5-2 on the season and 27-0 in the history of the Thanksgiving tourney.

    NR/RV Vanderbilt will face Wisconsin, which beat Mercer, 77-72, on Friday night, in the tournament's championship game on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. The consolation game (between Mercer and Elon) will begin at 4 p.m., and admission is again free for both games.

    Vanderbilt earned its spot in the championship game after putting together a red-hot start from long range against Elon (2-3).

    The Commodores went 9-of-14 (64.3) from 3-point territory in the opening 20 minutes, with Foggie going 5-of-6. Vanderbilt shot 58 percent (20-of-34) from the floor overall while building a 55-31 lead.

    Vanderbilt cooled off considerably in the second half, shooting just 40 percent from the floor (and going 2-of-7 from 3-point range) but still managed to maintain a comfortable cushion throughout the final 20 minutes.

    Vanderbilt won the rebounding war, 41-28, and outscored Elon 38-26 in the paint.

    "I was pleased with our effort on both ends of the floor tonight," said head coach Melanie Balcomb, "especially with our rebounding."

    While Vanderbilt's seniors, Foggie and Lister, combined for 40 points, a pair of freshmen, Kylee Smith and Marqu'es Webb, also made big offensive contributions, scoring 10 points each. Morgan Batey and Jasmine Jenkins scored eight apiece.

    Lister finished 9-of-17 from the floor and was aggressive going to the basket throughout much of the night. She also flashed her range, hitting 4-of-9 shots from 3-point range.

    Smith finished 5-of-6 from the floor and also pulled down a team-high seven rebounds for the Commodores Webb scored her 10 points in just 14 minutes of action.

    Balcomb said she was pleased with her team's energy early in the game.

    "The big thing was that we came out ready to play," she said. "We shot the ball extremely well in the first half. In the second half, we continued to get great shots, but we didn't convert."

    Vanderbilt exploded for 55 points in the first 20 minutes, representing the Commodores' highest scoring half of the season.

    Foggie, who was named the Naismith Trophy Watch List earlier this week, scored 17 first-half points, going 6-of-7 from the floor, including 5-of-6 from 3-point range.

    Foggie needed less than seven minutes to reach double figures. After hitting three early 3-pointers, she added an offensive putback at the 14:47 mark. That basket gave Foggie 11 points and gave Vanderbilt an 11-point lead, 19-8.

    Vanderbilt continued to extend the lead from there, pushing the advantage to 35-14 after a layup by Lister and a jumper by Schrann. Lister then addd a pair of 3s in the final six minutes of the half, helping the Commodores carry a 55-31 lead into the locker room.






    No. 12 Aggies Upset By Texas In Paradise Jam

    ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands- No. 12 Texas A&M was upset 69-58 by Texas in the Paradise Jam, as the Longhorns used a cold shooting night from the Aggies to manage its fourth win in the last 17 meetings with the Aggies.

    The Aggies took more shots, made more free throws, and committed fewer turnovers than the Longhorns (4-2), but Texas shot 45.3% from the field compared to the Aggies season-low 31.7%, which accounted for the difference in the game.

    "We struggled for the whole night in the little things it takes to win a basketball game," said Blair. "The effort was there, but the execution was not. When the execution is not there, you put it on the coach."

    "We got to go back to the drawing board and play a team, Syracuse, who beat Texas last night," added Blair. "We've got to play well, and let the winning and losing take care of itself."

    "We'll be alright; I've gotten my butt kicked before and it won't be the last time," said Blair. "It's about time that we got back to being an Aggie Basketball team."

    Texas A&M took its first loss of the young season, and dropped only its third game in its last 30 against teams that are not in the AP Top 25 (Texas is receiving votes).

    Courtney Walker led A&M with 15 points, good for her fourth straight double-digit scoring game. Courtney Williams was the other Aggie in double figures, scoring a season-high 11 points.

    Karla Gilbert recorded two blocks to move up to 93 for her career, putting her in sole possession of sixth place on Texas A&M’s career blocks list. She added in a team-leading seven rebounds and eight points.

    With the Aggies trailing 25-21 late in the first half, Texas pulled off an 8-0 run into the break that capped off with a Krystle Henderson 3-pointer as time expired in the first half and took a 33-21 lead into the break, the Aggies first halftime deficit this year.

    Texas A&M (4-1) responded immediately after the break as the Aggies came out on a 5-0 run over the first 3:18 of the second half to draw the score to 33-26. However, Texas (4-2) responded with a 7-0 run of their own to take a 14-point lead, and led until the finish.

    The Aggies conclude the Paradise Jam with Syracuse at 7:15 p.m. CT on November 30th. The Aggies return home to face San Diego State at Reed Arena on Dec. 3.






    Lady Vols Crush SMU, Win Junkanoo Jam, 87-47

    FREEPORT, Bahamas -- Ariel Massengale paced No. 3/4 Tennessee with 16 points and the Lady Vols used a big second half to crush SMU, 87-47, on Friday and win the Lucaya Division championship of the 11th-annual Junkanoo Jam.

    The win marked UT's first holiday tournament title since winning the 2005 Paradise Jam during Thanksgiving break in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Lady Vols (7-0) advanced to Friday's title game after defeating Virginia, 76-67, on Thursday afternoon. The Mustangs (7-1) topped Kansas State, 68-57, on Thursday.

    Bashaara Graves posted her second double-double of the year with 10 points and 10 assists. Isabelle Harrison had 10 points, most coming off a big surge early in the second half, and played just seven minutes because of foul trouble. Jasmine Jones was strong off the bench, scoring 13 points off 5-of-8 shooting and corralling four rebounds.

    Tennessee shot 46.6 percent for the game, including 55.9 percent in the second half (19-of-34). UT outscored the Mustangs, 48-20, after halftime. The Lady Vols enjoyed a 54-31 rebounding advantage for the game.

    With under seven minutes remaining, Cierra Burdick stole the ball and pushed it ahead to set up a Nia Moore tip-in. Jones split a pair of defenders on UT's next possession to push the Lady Vols' lead to 35 points at 76-41 with 6:06 remaining. A 3-pointer by Jones at the top of the arc with 4:30 left extended the UT lead to 40 points (81-41).

    Sophomore center Moore entered the game after a big UT run early in the second half and helped maintain UT's dominance in the post with a pair of blocks down low. With under 12 minutes left in the game, Burdick hit a mid-range jumper from her right elbow to stretch Tennessee's lead to 30 points at 63-33.

    Tennessee opened the second half with an 8-2 burst to create some separation. Storming out of the game, UT surged with a quick score by Harrison, a drive and a bucket by Massengale and another layup by Harrison. Harrison would score again on an assist by Andraya Carter before a third foul returned her to the UT bench. The Lady Vol surge continued with a Massengale 3-ball and a nice dish by Mercedes Russell inside to Graves, giving Tennessee a 21-point edge at 52-31 with 17:11 remaining.

    UT led 39-27 at the half. Massengale paced the team with 11 points and four assists heading in to the break and Graves had a team-best nine boards at that point.

    SMU pulled to within 24-17 midway through the first half, but Meighan Simmons nailed back-to-back treys to re-claim momentum for Tennessee. With four minutes left before the break, Mustangs guard Keena Mays scored quickly off a UT miss to bring SMU to within nine points at 32-23. Big free throws and hard drives into the lane by Massengale helped re-establish a double-digit Tennessee lead and neutralize SMU runs.

    Burdick hit a long jumper with 11:20 left in first half to stretch UT's lead to 21-5 but picked up her second foul shortly after, sending her to the bench. Even with two of its starting post players on the bench, the Lady Vols continued to dominate the boards. SMU re-focused its offense to the inside game as Akil Simpson hit a two-point jumper and drove the paint for a layup to pull to Mustangs to within 23-15 with 7:15 remaining before the half.

    Harrison picked up her second foul before the first media timeout and Tennessee subbed in Russell. Russell scored on an entry pass from Jordan Reynolds and Carter had a reverse layup to push UT's lead to 19-5 heading into the second media timeout. Through the first eight minutes of the game, SMU shot just 10 percent from the floor.

    The Lady Vols jumped out to a 10-3 lead when Carter tipped in a missed shot just over three minutes into the game. After a pair of SMU free throws, Harrison responded with a quick score at the opposite end of the court and Massengale hit a 3-pointer to give UT a double-digit lead at 15-5.

    Tennessee will next host Texas on Dec. 8 at Thompson-Boling Arena. The game is set for a 1 p.m. ET tip-off and it will be televised on FOX Sports South/FOX Sports Tennessee.
     




    Alwal Leads Bulldogs To 71-62 Win Against Grand Canyon

    ESTERO, Fla. – An 11-2 run to the end the first half provided the necessary separation as Mississippi State beat Grand Canyon 71-62 Friday night in the opening round of the Gulf Coast Showcase women’s basketball tournament.

    With the win, MSU improved to 6-0 and will face James Madison, a 77-67 winner against UCLA, at 7:30 p.m. CT in Saturday’s semifinal round.

    Martha Alwal led the Bulldogs with a career-high 25 points. Her offensive performance was key as she picked up the slack left by Kendra Grant and Savannah Carter, who were plagued with heavy foul trouble in the contest.

    “I am proud of our kids,” MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. “Grand Canyon is well coached. They have eight seniors. That is a veteran team. They expose you in a lot of areas. They made us better and we learned a little bit about ourselves.

    “I am proud of our kids for preserving through a really bad first half. Martha was sensational offensively, and Dominique Dillingham bailed us out again in 34 minutes.”

    After a tight first couple of minutes, the Bulldogs were able to build a 14-8 lead on a Brianna Richardson layup. MSU still led 18-12 before Grand Canyon responded with six straight points to tie the contest.

    The Antelopes built their largest lead at 29-22 with 3:39 left before halftime. MSU responded with an 11-2 run to take a 33-31 lead at the intermission.

    In the opening half, the Bulldogs got 17 points from bench players.

    “Our point guards were awfully good tonight,” Schaefer said. “We were 2-of-3 from one of them (Jerica James) and 7-of-9 with the other one (Katia May). They did a tremendous job. We were 9-for-12 there and 2-of-2 from 3.

    “Martha was a warrior. She went 37 minutes.”

    Grand Canyon (5-1) built two early three-point second-half leads before MSU took over for good. Four straight free throws by Alwal placed the Maroon and White on top 42-41 with 16:05 left. The Bulldogs would eventually score 12 straight points and take a 50-41 lead on a layup by May with 13:47 left.

    Grand Canyon whittled the lead down to five only to see MSU build it back out to as many as 13 at 66-53 with 4:56 left.

    “The girls were a little tight, and they admitted as much postgame. That’s part of having a relatively inexperienced team,” Schaefer said. “You don’t like minus-13 on the boards, because that is simply an energy stat. I’m proud of our perseverance and how we found a way to win.”   

    For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 29 of 57 shots from the field (50.9 percent), 2 of 6 shots from 3-point range (33.3 percent) and 11 of 14 shots from the foul line (78.6 percent). The Antelopes hit 20 of 53 shots from the field (37.7 percent), 4 of 11 shots from 3-point range (36.4 percent) and 18 of 23 shots from the foul line (78.3 percent).

    Grand Canyon held a 40-27 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had five assists and 10 turnovers, while the Antelopes had six assists and 21 turnovers.

    May finished with 15 points, while Ketara Chapel and Dominique Dillingham each added 11 points for MSU.

    Grand Canyon received 18 points from Judy Jones, 14 points from Kaitlyn Petersen and 13 points from Deanna Daniels.