|SUNDAY WOMEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
|South Carolina 70, South Carolina State 26
|Missouri 75, Western Illinois 60
|Minnesota 67, Auburn 54
|Duke 69, Kentucky 61
|St. John's 72, Texas A&M 70
Gamecocks Cruise to 70-26 Victory Over Lady Bulldogs
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- No. 10/10 South Carolina dominated South Carolina State in a 70-26 victory Sunday afternoon at Colonial Life Arena. The Gamecocks (11-1) overpowered the Lady Bulldogs on the glass, and the offense was clicking on all cylinders. Freshman Alaina Coates posted a perfect day, going 7-of-7 from the field and 9-of-9 from the free throw line to score a career-high 23 points.
The Gamecocks were aggressive on offense and took care of the boards on defense, never allowing the Lady Bulldogs to find a rhythm en route to a commanding 37-12 lead at halftime. Points came from all sources for South Carolina with three Gamecocks finishing the period with seven points.
Redshirt freshman Tiffany Davis got the ball rolling with a 3-pointer on South Carolina’s first possession. After the Lady Bulldogs went up 4-3 at the 17:26 mark, the Gamecocks launched a 26-2 run that spanned the next 10 minutes. Aleighsa Welch hit a layup in transition, and a pair of South Carolina State turnovers led to an inside bucket from Elem Ibiam and a 3 from Tiffany Mitchell. Cherisha Floyd briefly stemmed the tide with a long jumper to make it a 10-6 game with 14:24 to play in the half, but the Gamecocks went right back to work.
Ibiam hit a pair of free throws, and Welch put back a miss to go up 13-6. Coates converted another Lady Bulldog turnover from the left block, and Tina Roy followed with a 3-pointer from the right side to make it a double-digit advantage at 18-6. The Gamecock defense forced the first of what would become three shot clock violations in the half, and Olivia Gaines drained a long jumper. In transition off a steal, Roy put a beautiful ball-fake on her defender and converted the layup. As the Lady Bulldogs struggled from the field and the Gamecocks controlled the defensive glass, the points kept pouring in. Coates converted a traditional three-point play and added two more free throws on the next possession. Gaines capped the surge with two free throws for a 29-6 South Carolina lead with 7:27 left in the half.
The second half began just like the first with Davis burying a 3, and the Gamecocks continued to roll behind Coates, who scored 16 of her 23 points in the second half. Her 7-of-7 field goal shooting tied for the fourth-best perfect shooting game at Colonial Life Arena and the best freshman accuracy in school history. Her perfection at the free throw line was also a South Carolina freshman record.
South Carolina out-rebounded the Lady Bulldogs 47-21, including 20 offensive boards. Ibiam and Mitchell led the way on the glass with nine boards apiece. Mitchell added four assists to lead the team, which handed out assists on 19 of 26 made field goals. Welch, Davis and Dozier each handed out three.
The Gamecocks will take a short break for the Christmas holiday, bookending the week with a noon tipoff on Sat., Dec. 28, against Savannah State at Colonial Life Arena.
Tigers Close Non-Conference Slate with 75-60 Victory over WIU
Columbia, Mo. -- Mizzou improves to 11-2 on the season and 8-0 at home after Sunday's 75-60 victory over Western Illinois. Junior Morgan Eye led the Tigers with 22 points overall as she made six three-pointers in the contest. Three Tigers reached double-figures including freshman Jordan Frericks and senior Bri Kulas. Frericks notched her fourth career double-double, tallying 12 rebounds and a career-high 14 points in the game.
Mizzou proved once again to be an unselfish team on the court as the Tigers assisted on over half of their field goals. In addition, the contest marks the eighth time in 13 games Mizzou had at least three players score at least 10 points.
Mizzou played strong in the first half, taking an early lead and maintaining the advantage for the entire half. The Tigers went into the locker room with a 45-27 advantage at the break, led by Morgan Eye who tallied 16 first-half points off of four three-pointers. Three Tigers reached double-figures in the first half, and freshman Jordan Frericks was 4-for-4 by the first media timeout with eight points, more than halfway to her career high. She finished the half with 10 points.
Mizzou maintained its lead through the second half, preserving their home winning streak this season. The Tigers held Western Illinois to season lows in field goal percentage (30.8), field goals made (16) and points (60). Eye's 22 points mark her third 20-plus point outing of the year, while Kulas has put up double-figure scoring numbers in 11 of the last 13 games.
The Tigers will have a holiday break this week before returning for conference play. Mizzou kicks off the conference slate at Ole Miss on Jan. 2 before the SEC home opener against Arkansas on Jan. 5.
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).
Auburn Falls At Minnesota 67-54 In Non-Conference Finale
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- Auburn (9-4) forced Minnesota (10-3) into 23 turnovers, but turnovers of its own and a cold night shooting combined to give the Tigers a 67-54 loss in their second game of the Subway Classic in Minneapolis, Minn. Senior Tyrese Tanner led Auburn with 15 points and four steals.
"It is hard to get your team rolling with three of your starters are sitting on the bench in foul trouble early in the first half," said Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy. "Then we did not shoot the ball well at all in the second half. We should have pushed it more in transition, but we just stood out there and took bad shots."
Fouls came early and often for the Tigers in the first half as Tyrese Tanner, Hasina Muhammad and Tra'Cee Tanner did not break double digits in minutes played until the second half.
Auburn's defense picked up its seventh game of the season and fourth in a row with more than 20 opponent turnovers. The Tigers also picked up 11 steals, with Kiani Parker totaling three, just one behind Tanner's four.
Despite the defensive effort, only two Tigers finished the game in double figures while the team finished the game with 22 turnovers of its own.
"We have to have certain people do more for us, if you are going to be in the starting lineup, you have to have starters' numbers," said Williams-Flournoy. "Defensively, we gave up a lot inside and lost the shooters a lot. We can't do that, we have to be a better defensive team."
Auburn held Minnesota without a field goal for the first 5:45 of the game, but fouls and turnovers gave the Tigers problems. Auburn led 9-4 early on, but went scoreless for more than four minutes, allowing the Gophers to take the lead. Minnesota led by as many as six points in the first half, taking a 30-25 lead into the locker room.
Minnesota would never surrender that lead, building it to as many as 15 in the second half. The Gophers shot 53.8 percent from the field in the second half and held the Tigers to 33.9 percent shooting for the game. Minnesota was also 7-of-15 from 3-point range.
Peyton Davis was the only other Tiger in double figures, picking up 11 points with two rebounds. Hasina Muhammad totaled nine points with a team-high seven rebounds. Muhammad and Tyrese Tanner were both named to the Subway Classic All-Tournament Team.
Rachel Banham led Minnesota with a game-high 22 points and five assists. Amanda Zahui added 16 points with six blocked shots.
Auburn will return to the court on Sunday, Jan. 5 in its Southeastern Conference opener at Mississippi State. The Tigers will return to Auburn Arena on Thursday, Jan. 9 in its SEC home-opener against Vanderbilt.
Record Crowd Not Enough as No. 2 Duke Downs UK Hoops
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The University of Kentucky drew the largest women's basketball crowd in the state's history on Sunday, but most of the 23,706 fans at Rupp Arena left disappointed as the 5th-ranked Wildcats fell to No. 2 Duke, 69-61.
Janee Thompson led the Wildcats (11-1) in scoring, with all 12 of her points coming in the second half. Tricia Liston scored a season-high 28 points for the Blue Devils (12-1).
UK shot a season-low 28.6 percent (10-for-35) from the field, while Duke shot 48.3 percent (14-of-29). The Wildcats trailed by 12 points at the half - their biggest halftime deficit of the season.
Kentucky junior Azia Bishop grabbed 10 rebounds, marking her second double-digit rebounding game of the season and fifth of her career.
Up next, UK wraps up the nonconference slate on Sunday, Dec. 29 at 2 p.m. ET vs. Grambling State in Memorial Coliseum.
Aggies Fall In Final Seconds To St. John's
NEW YORK -- Aliyyah Handford made a layup with 2.0 seconds left to give St. John’s a 72-70 victory over Texas A&M in the Maggie Dixon Classic.
The first half featured 12 lead changes, as the Red Storm (6-4) took a 33-30 lead into the break. Texas A&M was led by 11 points from Courtney Williams, including six in a row that helped A&M go on an 8-0 run to take a 28-27 lead.
The Aggies (7-4) trailed for much of the second half, finally tying the game with 43 seconds left off of a Karla Gilbert layup-and-one. Both teams traded free throws to set up Handford’s game-winner, giving her 27 points for the game. The Aggies had a chance to retaliate at the buzzer, but Courtney Walker’s last-second attempt was slightly late & off the mark.
Karla Gilbert led the Aggies with 15 points. Courtney Williams had 13 points, reaching double figures for the fifth straight game.
The Aggies return to action on Dec. 28 at 7 p.m. to host four-time National Champion Louisiana Tech at 7 p.m. inside Reed Arena.