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    SEC Women's Basketball Recap: Sunday, December 8

    SUNDAY WOMEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
    Tennessee 75, Texas 61
    South Carolina 76, Charlotte 61
    Alabama 51, Houston 44
    Missouri 126, Bradley 55

     

    Lady Vols Pull Away from Texas, 75-61

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The third-ranked Tennessee Lady Vols held off Texas' mid-game rallies to pull away for a 75-61 victory Sunday at Thompson-Boling Arena.

    Texas cut Tennessee's lead to one point three times, but the Lady Vols got timely scoring from their veteran players to improve to 8-0 this season.

    Sophomore Isabelle Harrison led the Lady Vols by matching her career high with 18 points to go along with eight rebounds. Junior Arielle Massengale added 15 points, 11 of them coming in the second half. She also dished out a team-leading seven assists.

    Texas (6-3) was led offensively by Chassidy Fussell and Nneka Enemkpali, who both finished with 12 points.

    Tennessee opened the second half with a 5-0 run, but Texas eventually closed the lead to 35-34. Faced with another Longhorn rally, the Lady Vols responded with a 9-0 run.

    Junior Cierra Burdick hit a jumper on the right wing on an assist by Ariel Massengale to give Tennessee a 42-34 lead with 13:19 left. Mercedes Russell added a pair of free throws less than a minute later to stretch the Lady Vols' lead to 10.

    Tennessee led by as many as 15 points in the second half, going up 65-50 on a layup by senior Meighan Simmons with 4:34 left. Simmons finished with 13 points, scoring 11 in the second half.

    Coming off the bench for just the second time this season, Burdick helped Tennessee on both ends of the court. She finished with 10 points and eight bounds.

    With the victory, the Lady Vols opened the season with an 8-0 record for the first time since the 2009-10 season.

    Tennessee out rebounded Texas 45-37, marking the first time a team has had more rebounds in a game against the Longhorns this year.

    The Lady Vols opened the game on an 11-2 run and led the rest of the way, though Texas slowly closed in on Tennessee's lead. The Lady Vols did not score in the final 4:12 of the first half, and a jumper by Krystle Henderson brought the Longhorns within one point, 28-27 at halftime.

    Harrison led Tennessee at halftime with eight points on 3-for-9 shooting from the field and added four rebounds. Eight Lady Vols were in the scoring column in the first half.

    Sunday's game was Tennessee's first contest since winning the Junkanoo Jam in the Bahamas on Nov. 28 and 29 against Virginia and SMU.

    The Lady Vols have four more games on schedule to close out the 2013 calendar year. Tennessee plays the first of those games Saturday with a home contest against Troy at 2 p.m.





    Welch Drives Gamecocks Past Charlotte 76-61

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Junior forward Aleighsa Welch scored all 18 of her points in the second half to push No. 12/10 South Carolina past Charlotte 76-61 Sunday afternoon at Halton Arena. The Gamecocks led by one at the half behind great play from Elem Ibiam and saw Charlotte take a lead three times in the game as Welch was slowed by two early fouls. Welch’s return sparked a 14-2 run in the second half that closed the door on the hard-working 49ers and delivered South Carolina’s ninth win in as many games.

    The first half was played in fits and starts, with the Gamecocks holding on to take a lead into the locker room for the ninth time in as many games. Mitchell was the offense early as she had a 5-0 lead on Charlotte early in the game. Both teams were called for a number of charges early before finally getting on track. After the Gamecocks took a 12-8 lead on a hook shot from Ibiam with 13:37 left in the half, the 49ers enjoyed at 6-0 run to take their first lead of the game thanks to good work on the defensive glass.

    Ibiam hit from the right block to tie the score, and the teams traded the lead before Mitchell hit both ends of a one-and-one opportunity to put the Gamecocks back up 18-16 with 11:11 to go in the period. Wilka Montout stretched out the 9-2 run with a 3 from the left wing, and Mitchell and Asia Dozier added driving layups as the Gamecocks established a 25-18 advantage with 7:23 to go before the break. The 49ers responded, though, with a 8-2 spurt that cut the lead to two at 27-25. Ibiam and Dozier combined to push the lead back to six, but again Charlotte had the answer scoring the final two baskets of the period, including a 3-pointer that made it a 33-32 South Carolina at the break.

    The second half started much like the first with the Gamecocks staking out a 39-35 lead, only to see the 49ers chip away and re-claim the lead, 42-40, with a 3-pointer off great ball movement against the Gamecock zone and a jumper at the shot clock buzzer from Tori Carter. The Gamecocks answered with Ibiam, but Charlotte was keeping pace, going up 46-44 on a Carter runner with 13:24 to play.

    After sitting for most of the first half with two fouls, Welch announced her presence by scoring the Gamecocks’ next eight points while the entire team crashed the defensive boards to establish the first double-digit advantage of the game.

    Dozier swiped one of her two steals in the game to set up a Welch three-point play that put the Gamecocks up 49-48, and the flood gates were opened. Wlech hit another free throw and, after being fouled going up for a putback, Alaina Coates added two more. Dozier cleaned up another 49er miss and took it the length of the floor for a 56-48 lead with 9:31 to play. Both teams misfired on their next possession, and Charlotte stayed alive with a series of offensive rebounds, the last ending in a runner by Lefty Webster. Welch immediately answered with a baseline drive, and Dozier turned the junior forward’s defensive rebound into a quick bucket on the other end to make it a 60-50 game with 5:55 to play.

    The surge and Welch’s energy seemed to break the 49ers’ spirit, and the Gamecocks pushed on for their ninth double-digit victory of the season. South Carolina shot 63.6 percent in the second half after struggling in the first. Ibiam led four Gamecocks in double figures, tying her career high with 19 points. Welch’s 18 joined Mitchell’s 15 and Dozier’s 10 off the bench. Ibiam narrowly missed a double-double with nine boards and added three blocks to the defensive effort. Dozier and Mitchell tied for team-high honors with four assists each.

    South Carolina takes a 10-day break for exams, returning to action in the Carolina’s Challenge in Myrtle Beach, S.C., taking on No. 18/16 North Carolina on Wed., Dec. 18, at 7 p.m.





    Upperclassmen Lead Alabama Women’s Basketball to a 51-44 Victory over Houston

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -– The Alabama women's basketball team posted a 51-44 victory over the Houston Cougars on Sunday in Foster Auditorium. The win puts the Crimson Tide at 4-5 on the season, while the loss drops Houston to 3-6 overall.

    “I’m proud of our kids for finding a way to win today,” said Alabama head coach Kristy Curry. “I thought we had to look at our leadership in our back court. We really did a good job coming out and taking better shots and reversing the basketball and doing the little things that make a big difference.”

    Alabama got off to a slow start in the first half, scoring four points in the first six minutes of play before engaging in a back-and-forth battle with the Cougars resulting in the lead changing eight times in the first.

    After consecutive shots from Daisha Simmons, the Tide pulled ahead with 11:30 left in the game. Alabama remained in front for the rest of the game with key threes from Shafontaye Myers and Khadijah Carter.

    Myers led the Tide offensively with 14 points, 12 of which came from three-point range. Simmons contributed 13 points, and Briana Hutchen added a career-best 12 of her own off the bench.

    “My teammates and coaches have been instilling a lot of confidence in me lately and relying on me,” said Hutchen. “Coach [Curry] always says how we need to bring energy off the bench, and so I took that to heart today and brought it to the game.”

    Nikki Hegstetter owned the boards for Alabama with a career-high 13 rebounds.

    For the game, the Tide shot 33.3 percent (20-60) from the field and 35.3 percent (6-17) from the three point line. Alabama connected on 71.4 percent (5-7) of its free throws and out-rebounded Houston 47-33.

    The Tide returns to the court on Tuesday, Dec. 17, when it hosts Jacksonville in Foster Auditorium at 11 a.m. CT. The game will serve as the Alabama’s annual 5th Grade Fastbreak contest, welcoming thousands of Tuscaloosa city and county fifth graders.

    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.





    Tigers Reset School Points Record in 126-55 Win Over Bradley

    COLUMBIA, Mo. -- The Mizzou Women's basketball team scored the most points in a game in school history as the Tigers (9-1) defeated Bradley, 126-55, on Sunday afternoon (Dec. 8) at Mizzou Arena. Mizzou made 16 of its first 18 shots from the field and built a 41-9 lead less than 10 minutes into the game. The Tigers were paced by seven players who scored in double-figures while senior Bri Kulas led Mizzou with 27 points, matching her career-high. The 126 points are the most ever by a Tiger team, topping the previous mark of 121, set in 1978 against Missouri-St. Louis.

    The Tigers shot 63.5-percent from the floor while playing stifling defense, limiting Bradley to 29.3-percent shooting while forcing 19 turnovers. Mizzou played great team basketball, assisting on 28 of 47 field goals while turning the ball over just 10 times. Aside from Kulas, sophomore Morgan Stock added a career-high 21 points, connecting on 7-of-10 3-pointers. Her sister Maddie Stock added 15 points as she buried four 3-pointers of her own. Also worth noting was freshman Lindsey Cunningham coming off the bench to run the point, dishing a career-high nine assists while committing just one turnover in 21 minutes of action.

    Lianna Doty and Kulas provided the early spark for Mizzou. Doty pestered the Braves defensively, converting two quick steals into easy layups in transition. The sophomore point guard also dished out four first-half assists, setting up Kulas and others for open shots. Doty finished with 14 points, five assists and five steals, the latter of which was just one off of a career-high.

    Bradley had no answer for Kulas. The senior forward scored 26 of her game-high 27 points in the opening half. After burying two three-pointers in the first five minutes, Kulas powered her way inside for an offensive rebound and put back. Later in the half, she put together a 6-0 run by herself and pushed the Mizzou lead to 53-14 with just over six minutes remaining. She needed just 17 minutes to score her 27 points as she rested much of the second half.

    The Tigers controlled a 42-point advantage at the break and the team's 65 first-half points were the most in a half in school history. Mizzou shot better than 68-percent during that span in addition to an 8-for-8 effort from the free throw line.

    Morgan Eye sunk three-pointers on back-to-back possessions to open up the second half and the Tigers kept pouring it on. Another Doty steal and layup gave them a 50-point cushion with 17:40 to play.

    The Missouri bench capitalized on quality minutes, outscoring the Bradley reserves 60-14. Morgan Stock's fourth trey of the game gave the team its 100th point of the afternoon. Stock posted a career-high 21 points behind seven makes from distance. Mizzou made 18 total shots from beyond the arc, matching a school-record, but the Tigers dealt most of their damage in the paint, holding a 54-16 edge down low.

    Missouri is now 9-1 on the season and 6-0 at Mizzou Arena. The Tigers will look to continue their hot shooting when they host Belmont after finals. The game tips off at 7 p.m. Dec. 16.