|SUNDAY WOMEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
|Georgia 91, Kennesaw State 32
|Vanderbilt 65, Hartford 56
|Kentucky 73, ETSU 56
|LSU 58, Arkansas-Little Rock 51
|Auburn 92, Florida A&M 55
|Penn State 66, Texas A&M 58
Lady Bulldogs Ease Past Owls Behind Hempe’s Career-High
ATHENS, Ga. -- No. 16 Georgia used an early 16-2 burst and suffocating defense to pull clear of Kennesaw State early and never looked back as the Lady Bulldogs cruised to a 91-32 win in front of 2,953 fans at Stegeman Coliseum on Sunday. The victory pushes the Lady Bulldogs’ record to 10-0 on the season.
Merritt Hempe led the Lady Bulldogs with a career-high 18 points, with Shacobia Barbee and Tiaria Griffin contributing 13 points each. Khaalidah Miller and Halle Washington added 12 points apiece. Barbee and Washington grabbed eight rebounds each to pace Georgia, which outrebounded the Owls 45 to 36.
“We shared the ball on a night when anybody could have gotten shots,” said Georgia head coach Andy Landers. “That’s discipline and teamwork and caring about your teammates. I was really pleased with that. We defended from the beginning to the end; there wasn’t any drop in defense as we got closer to the end of the game or at any other point. (It was) an overall good game on a day when we could have lost our discipline and gone in the wrong direction, but we stayed the course and did what we needed to do and did it well.”
Georgia opened the game with a Krista Donald lay-up from a Barbee pass to go up 2-0 and begin a 16-2 run in the first 8:19 of the game. Georgia’s offense was driven by a stifling defense which forced Kennesaw State into several early turnovers, including two steals for Griffin in the first 10 minutes.
The Owls struggled to control Hempe in the low post early on, with the Fredericksburg, Va., native going 3-of-5 and 4-of-4 on free throws to collect 10 points in the first 7:30 of the game. With Hempe on the bench after hitting double digits, freshman Washington quickly added four points and a pair of rebounds. Washington finished the half with six points and four rebounds.
Miller jumped to No. 32 among Georgia’s all-time leading scorers on a lay-up with 6:33 left in the first half.
After struggling to consistently hit shots early in the contest, the Lady Bulldogs became more efficient as the half wore on and finished the period having hit 17-of-38 for a 44.7 shooting percentage.
Hempe led Georgia in scoring at the half with 14 points, while Barbee paced the Lady Bulldogs on the boards with five rebounds. Four players recorded two assists in the first stanza with Donald, Barbee, Washington and Butler doubling up on dishes.
Barbee led the Lady Bulldogs to the half-century mark with 15:30 left in the game as she added four points in the first five minutes of the second half.
After Kennesaw State closed the gap to 29 points early in the second half, the Lady Bulldogs accelerated on the back of five points from Miller. Georgia went on its second dominant run of the game that stretched from the 15:30 mark to 8:17 left in the game and saw them outscore the Owls 25-0 and run the lead to 74-21. Griffin led Georgia in the second half with nine points, while Halle Washington collected four rebounds.
Georgia scored a season-high 91 points. It is the third time this season and second consecutive game the Lady Bulldogs have hung 80-plus points and improves Georgia to 428-6 all-time when scoring 80-plus points during Andy Landers’ 35 seasons in Athens.
Georgia will return to action on Tuesday when the Lady Bulldogs host Lipscomb at Stegeman Coliseum at 7:00 p.m. to wrap-up the Lady Bulldogs pre-Christmas home slate.
Single-game reserved seat tickets for Lady Bulldog games are $5 for adults and $3 for children. UGA students, faculty and staff are admitted to all Lady Bulldog games free of charge with a valid UGA Card. Faculty and staff should pick up tickets at the Coliseum box office. Students are admitted to the arena via the entrance to the left of the box office by showing their UGA Card.
Single-game tickets are on sale via georgiadogs.com, by calling 877-542-1231 or in person at the UGA Ticket Office in the Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall from 8:30-4:30 on weekdays. In addition, single-game tickets go on sale at the Stegeman Coliseum box office (closest to Sanford Drive) beginning 60 minutes before tip-off of every home game.
Vanderbilt pulls away from Hartford to take low-scoring contest
HARTFORD, Conn. -- The combination of a long layoff followed by a long road trip seemed to take a toll on the Vanderbilt women's basketball team on Sunday.
But the Commodores broke out of the funk just when it mattered most.
Finishing the game with an 18-9 run, Vanderbilt earned a hard-fought 65-56 road victory over Hartford at the Chase Arena in Hartford, Conn., to extend their winning streak to five games.
It was Vanderbilt's first game since Dec. 3, and was also the Commodores first game without freshman star Rebekah Dahlman. The sharp-shooting guard, who leads the SEC in 3-point percentage and is a defensive catalyst for Vanderbilt, is out indefinitely after having two procedures to dissolve a blood clot last week.
In her absence, the Commodores (8-2) needed someone to supply an extra dose of energy, and Jasmine Lister took on the assignment.
After being hampered by foul trouble in the first half, Lister scored 14 points and made a series of pivotal plays in the final 20 minutes to help Vanderbilt escape with the win. Lister, who had a team-high seven rebounds and three assists, finished 4-of-6 from the floor and 5-of-5 at the foul line.
The Commodores trailed by as many as nine points early in the first half, and found themselves locked in a 47-47 late in the second half before putting together the game-ending run to finally pull away.
"Give credit to Hartford; they outworked us today," said Vanderbilt head coach Melanie Balcomb. "We didn't play with a sense of urgency until the final four minutes of the game. ... But it was good for us to get out of here with a win."
Heather Bowe also had a huge game, scoring 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting. She also had six rebounds, two steals and two assists.
Christina Foggie, the SEC's leading scorer, was held to a season-low eight points but scored two huge buckets in the second half. Marqu'es Webb also finished with eight points.
Perhaps showing the effects of not having played a game in nearly two weeks, the Commodores got off to a slow start. After Bowe scored the game's first basket, Vanderbilt surrendered eight straight points and eventually saw the deficit grow to as many as nine points, 13-4.
Then Vanderbilt came to life.
Back-to-back baskets by Webb got the Commodores rolling, and they outscored Hartford 27-12 in the final 13 minutes of the half to take a 31-25 lead into the locker room. During that surge, Bowe scored in the paint to give Vanderbilt a 20-19 advantage, marking the Commodores' first lead since the opening minute.
Schrann and Webb came off the bench to give Vanderbilt a big spark. Webb scored eight first-half points and Schrann added six.
Vanderbilt will return to the court Wednesday when the Commodores travel to James Madison.
UK Hoops Defeats ETSU, Matches School-Best Start
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Samarie Walker and Janee Thompson pitched in 12 points each to lead No. 5 Kentucky past East Tennessee State on Sunday, 73-56.
Maria Bond led the Buccaneers with 14 points.
The Wildcats (11-0) improve to 11-0 on the season, tying the school record for the best start to a season.
With the victory, UK also extended their winning streak to 11 games, tying the second-longest streak in school history.
UK was 20-for-38 (52.6 percent) from the field, while ETSU (2-6) shot just 37.9 percent (11-of-29).
The Wildcats, who led by as many as 22 points, outscored the Buccaneers in the paint (34-14), points off turnovers (16-3) and bench scoring (24-4).
Up next, UK returns to the court next Sunday, Dec. 22 for the Wildcats’ “Pack the House” game vs. No. 2 Duke in Rupp Arena at 3 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on the UK IMG TV Network and FSN.
DOMINANT SECOND HALF LIFTS NO. 13 LSU WOMEN’S BASKETBALL TO SIXTH STRAIGHT WIN, 58-51, AT UALR
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Senior forward Theresa Plaisance erupted for a game-high 19 points and 15 rebounds and LSU’s true freshmen ignited a comeback as the 13th-ranked Lady Tigers shook off a sluggish first half to defeat Arkansas-Little Rock, 58-51, on Sunday afternoon in the Jack Stephens Center.
LSU (8-1) won its sixth straight contest and had to do it while recovering from a nine-point first-half deficit and a 30-24 halftime margin. The Lady Tigers had not played in 12 days while focusing on a concentrated study period and academic finals.
“They did a phenomenal job against us in the first half of pushing tempo and scoring in transition,” said LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell. “In the second half we finally started controlling the tempo of the game. We are glad to come out of here with a win in a tough place to play.”
UALR (4-4) was outscored 34-21 in the second half in what was the first ever meeting between the two teams. The Trojans, the defending Sun Belt Western Division champions, saw a nine-game home winning streak come to an end. They were previously 103-20 in the building since it opened during the 2005-06 season.
Plaisance registered her second double-double of the season and 10th of her career. She took over the game with aggressive play, scoring 15 points in the second half. Her 15 boards for the game tied a career high, which she previously set against Wichita State last season on Nov. 11, 2012.
Freshman Raigyne Moncrief started the game 0-of-5 from the floor but finished with 11 points. Senior guard Jeanne Kenney added 10 points and buried two threes. She moved into ninth place in LSU career threes with now 80.
After being held to a season-low 24 points in the first half, Caldwell started the second half with the lineup of Kenney, McKinney and the freshmen trio of Moncrief, Rina Hill and Jasmine Rhodes. The freshmen ignited a spark with athletic play and tremendous defense.
“That has been an area that has challenged us, the start of the second half,” said Caldwell. “We found a nice combination. We did a nice job changing up our defense, playing hard and making hustle plays. I give credit to our team for pulling through there.”
Moncrief scored six in a row to pull LSU within a point, 33-32 in the first three minutes of the second stanza. McKinney then put LSU ahead on an offensive rebound and follow. UALR, meanwhile, went cold from the floor for over six minutes.
Plaisance entered the game at the 12:35 mark with the Lady Tigers up 40-35. That’s when LSU took over the game on both ends of the floor. Hill found her for a layup and Plaisance took advantage of the Trojans’ foul trouble by getting to the line. She made six straight free throws during a 7-0 run.
The Lady Tigers held UALR to 34.8 percent shooting in the second half, while the Trojans’ 51 points were the fewest by an opponent against LSU this season. The Lady Tigers dominated the boards, 42-28, despite shooting 31.9 percent for the game.
LSU faces a quick turnaround in preparation for Tuesday’s home game against Florida Gulf Coast. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Maravich Center. The game will be televised by CST.
Auburn women bury Florida A&M with a 30-0 blitz
AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn’s women’s basketball team was sputtering Sunday night at Auburn Arena. Florida A&M was hanging uncomfortably close. But as the second half unfolded, Auburn’s press stymied Florida A&M’s offense and eventually broke its spirit.
With 17:04 left in the game, Hassina Muhammad hit a routine layup to extend Auburn's lead to 45-37. For the next 10:08, the Rattlers didn’t score. They had trouble even getting the ball across halfcourt and were called for two backcourt violations.
The Tigers were off on a blistering 30-0 run that left the Rattlers stunned and beaten. After trailing early in the game and leading just 37-30 at halftime, Auburn romped to a 92-55 victory, shooting 70.6 percent from the field in the second half, and ran its record to 7-3. Florida A&M fell to 6-5.
It was the defense, head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said, that fueled the Tigers second-half romp. Florida A&M wilted in the face of Auburn’s full-court pressure.
Forward Tyrese Tanner said that’s what Williams-Flournoy’s pressing defense is designed to do.
“We can tell we are wearing teams down, especially their point guards,” Williams said. “They get more careless when they are tired.”
Florida A&M had six 3-pointers in the first half, but the Tigers had 16 steals, including four apiece by Tanner and Hasina Muhammad, and forced 26 turnovers. They gave up just one 3-point basket in the second half.
“It’s a good night when we are turning people over and scoring off the turnovers,” Williams-Flournoy said. Defensively, I thought Tyrese did a great job in the second half. We really upped the pressure.”
Center Peyton Davis, who scored 19 points and had four rebounds off the bench, said the layoff had an impact on the Tigers early.
“I kind of expected us to come out a little slow,” Davis said. “We’ve been practicing, but it’s a whole lot different to get on the court. It took a while to get the rust off. The 3-pointers were killing us. Most of the points were coming from 3’s. We had to start running them off the line, and it really helped.”
Davis and Tanner led four players in double figures with 19 points apiece. Muhammad, who sat out the first five games for a violation of team rules, had 18 and freshman Brandy Montgomery 10.
Auburn won its third straight and fourth in five games. Presbyterian visits Auburn Arena on Wednesday night at 6.
Jasmine Grice led Florida A&M with a game-high 21 points, going 7-of-24 from the field.
For the game, the Tigers hit 39-of-71 from the field for 54.9 percent and 14-of-23 from the free throw line for 60.9 percent. They did not make a 3-pointer, going 0-for-8.
Florida A&M shot 32.3 percent from the field on 20-of-62 and 25.9 percent from the 3-point line on 7-of-27. They were 8-of-9 at the free throw line.
No. 24 Texas A&M Drops 66-58 Game At No. 12 Penn State
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- No. 24 Texas A&M battled with No. 12 Penn State, but could not quite come away with a win, falling 66-58 to the Lady Lions. Courtney Walker led the Aggies with 20 points.
The Lady Lion victory snaps a three game winning streak for the Aggies against ranked teams away from home, in what was the only matchup of ranked teams in the entire nation on Sunday.
Penn State’s Maggie Lucas led all scorers with 26 points. Lucas was honored prior to the game for reaching 2,000 career points.
Penn State (7-3) started the game on a 12-0 run, taking an early lead as the Aggies missed their first 14 shots. However, the Aggies then responded with a 27-7 run, highlighted by a Courtney Walker three to give the Aggies their first lead of the game with 5:43 left in the half. After the Aggies expanded their lead to eight points, Penn State closed the period on an 11-1 run to take a 30-28 lead into the break.
Texas A&M (6-3) stayed within striking distance of the Lady Lions for much of the second half, never trailing by more than six, until Maggie Lucas drained a 3-pointer to put Penn State up 55-48 with 4:32 left in the game. The Aggies cut an ensuing 11-point Penn State lead to just five points with 1:07 left in the game, and but could not hit a layup on the next possesion that would have cut the deficit to four points.
Courtney Walker had her sixth career 20+ point game, pouring her first 10 in just a span of five minutes in the first half. Walker has also reached double figures for eight straight games.
Tori Scott came off the bench to contribute 14 points to the Aggie cause, including two 3-pointers for her second career double-digit scoring game. Scott is averaging 9.5 points per game since Nov. 28.
Courtney Williams had 11 points and nine rebounds to reach double digits for the second straight game.
Karla Gilbert pulled down 10 rebounds, her third consecutive 10+ rebounding game and fourth of the season.
Rachel Mitchell came off the bench to provide 11 valuable minutes from the post, scoring five points and grabbing three rebounds, both career-highs.
The Aggies return to action on Tuesday, December 17 at a special tip time of 11 a.m., as they host Nicholls State for Elementary School Day at Reed Arena.