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    SEC Women's Basketball Recap: Saturday, December 28

    SATURDAY WOMEN'S HOOPS SCHEDULE
    South Carolina 82, Savannah State 40
    Arkansas 100, Mississippi Valley State 54
    Florida 67, Georgetown 65
    Georgia 82, Illinois 60
    Texas A&M 80, Louisiana Tech 52
    Princeton 79, Alabama 59

     

    Gamecocks Soar Past Lady Tigers 82-40

    COLUMBIA, S.C. -- No. 13/12 South Carolina improved to 12-1 in non-conference action Saturday afternoon with an 82-40 win over Savannah State at Colonial Life Arena. The Gamecocks used a 14-3 run late in the first half to establish a 43-25 halftime lead and never looked back. Sophomore guard Tiffany Mitchell turned in a stellar all-purpose effort with 18 points, seven rebounds, four assists and a career-high five steals to pace the team. Junior Aleighsa Welch, sophomore Asia Dozier and freshman Alaina Coates joined her in double figures with 14, 10 and 17 points, respectively, with Coates wrapping up her third double-double of the season with 12 boards.

    “I’m happy for Tiffany (Mitchell) because she works so hard,” South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley said. “She is always in the gym, and she wasn’t really getting a full return on being in the gym. Now she is, and she is more efficient at everything she does. She plays hard, and she always gets after it.”

    The Lady Tigers kept it close early, but the Gamecock defense locked in midway through the first half, launching a 7-1 run that pushed the lead to double digits at 22-12 with 6:25 left in the period. Mitchell did a bulk of the damage at the free throw line, making six trips there, hitting three, and adding a floater in the lane to Dozier’s transition layup during the spurt.

    Savannah State scored on consecutive possessions to get back within six, but a 14-3 Gamecock surge delivered the knockout punch. Olivia Gaines got things going with a jumper from the free throw line, and Welch added a pair of free throws. The junior forward swiped a steal and led the break down the court, feeding Gaines for a transition layup. Mitchell and Gaines combined to forced a turnover on the Lady Tigers’ next possession with Mitchell hitting a pair of free throws. She swiped another steal the next time up the floor, and Welch hit a transition layup to make it a 32-16 contest with 3:37 on the clock. Kenyata Hendrix hit a three from the left wing to stem the tide, but Coates came back with a bucket on the other end, and Mitchell added two more free throws to make it 36-19 just a minute later.

    The Gamecocks took a 43-25 lead into the locker room behind 20-of-27 free throw shooting, highlighted by career high makes and attempts from Mitchell, who went 10-of-14 on the way to 12 points in the opening 20 minutes.

    The second half started with the Gamecocks pounding the ball inside. Welch hit in the lane to start things off. After Elem Ibiam picked up a steal on the other end, she got the ball inside and through the double team found Tiffany Davis for a 3 from the top of the arc. Dozier picked up the steal on the Lady Tigers’ next trip up the floor and Mitchell led the break, finding Ibiam on the left block for her first field goal of the game. Welch continued the steal theme with a pick then got the ball back underneath, where she kicked out to Dozier for a 3 from the left corner and a 53-25 lead just two minutes into the half.

    Several Gamecocks posted career-high efforts, including Welch with a team-high five assists. Davis netted a career-high eight points, and Gaines added one to her career high with seven points. South Carolina shot 51.1 percent from the field, topping the 50.0 percent mark for the eighth time this season, and made 30-of-48 from the free throw line for season highs in both makes and attempts.

    The Gamecocks open SEC action on Thu., Jan. 2, traveling to Arkansas. South Carolina is back at home to play Vanderbilt on Sun., Jan. 5, at 1 p.m.





    Razorbacks Close Non-Conference, Top MVSU 100-54

    FAYETTEVILLE -- Five Razorbacks reached double digits, as the University of Arkansas women's basketball team (13-0) reached the century mark and closed out non-conference play with a 100-54 win over Mississippi Valley State (1-9) inside Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, Ark., Saturday.

    Arkansas reached triple-digit scoring for the first time since the 2009-10 season, which occurred almost exactly to the day four years ago on Dec. 29 against Sam Houston State in 2009. With the win, the Razorbacks also finished off an undefeated non-conference schedule for the third time in the Tom Collen era.

    “Since it’s the holiday season, I’d sound like Scrooge if I told you that I was unhappy about this, but I was pleased,” head coach Tom Collen said. “We shot the ball well and passed it around nicely. We got everybody out there and knocked the rust off of everybody. We’re going to need all the depth we can get when we get into the SEC.”

    After shooting 51.5 percent in the first half, the Razorbacks improved to 56.8 percent in the second half, including 50 percent shooting from three-point range. Jhasmin Bowen led all scorers with 18 points, while Jessica Jackson had 15 points, Keira Peak had 12 points, McKenzie Adams contributed 11 points and Ana Faussurier added a career-high 10 points. Calli Berna tied her career-best with 13 assists in the win.

    It was a slow scoring start to the game for the Razorbacks, despite early 50 percent shooting from the floor. Holding just a 6-4 lead at the 15:16 mark of the first half, Arkansas was held scoreless from three-point range (0-for-2) and was also forced into two early turnovers.

    Peak led all scorers with six points going a perfect 3-for-3 to spark a 6-0 run by the Razorbacks and build a 12-4 lead midway through the first half. MVSU turned the ball over seven times, which translated into eight points off turnovers for the Razorbacks.

    A 27-3 run helped the Razorback lead balloon to 33-7 with five minutes to play in the first half. Over a stretch that spanned 9:14, MVSU was held without a field goal for 10 minutes (0-for-11) and was forced into 10 turnovers.

    MVSU ended first half shooting just 20 percent (5-25 FG), while UA was 52 percent (17-33 FG). The Devilettes finished the first half just 1-for-9 (11 percent) from beyond the arc, while the Razorbacks were 3-for-8 (38 percent).

    Arkansas took a 46-15 lead into the locker room at halftime, as Peak led all scorers with 11 points (4-for-4 FG) and Bowen added 10 points (4-for-4 FG) in the first 20 minutes.

    Behind nine offensive rebounds, the Razorbacks produced 12 second-chance points to the Devilettes’ three in the first half. UA’s bench also outscored the reserves of MVSU 13-to-3, led by four points each from Faussurier and Melissa Wolff.

    Scoreless in the first half, Adams hit back-to-back three-pointers out of the break to quickly bump Arkansas to 50 percent shooting from distance and a 57-16 lead with 17:52 left to play. With Adams on the board, nine different Razorbacks had recorded points.

    The Razorbacks heated up as a group from beyond the arc in the second half, shooting 50 percent (7-for14) from three-point range after going 3-for-8 (37.5 percent) in the first frame. Four different Razorbacks registered at least two three-point baskets, in large part extending UA’s lead to 88-36 with 7:24 to play.

    Eleven different Razorbacks saw minutes over the course of the game, as UA’s bench combined for 38 points and played a large role in helping UA coast to the big win and reach triple figures.

    Having wrapped up its non-conference schedule, Arkansas prepares next to open up SEC play by welcoming South Carolina to Bud Walton Arena on Jan. 2. Opening tip is scheduled for 7 p.m.

    For more information on Arkansas women’s basketball, follow @RazorbackWBB on Twitter.





    Gators Rally from Down 16 to Top Georgetown in Overtime Thriller

    Senior Jaterra Bonds (Gainesville, Fla.) scored a career-high 26 points and gave Florida its first lead of the game three seconds into overtime as the Gators overcame a 16-point halftime deficit and completed the fourth-largest comeback win in program history with a 67-65 victory against Georgetown on Saturday in the O’Connell Center.

    The game was the final non-conference contest for both teams.

    The Gators won the overtime tip and it took Bonds three seconds to drive to the basket, where she converted the layin and completed the three-point-play that gave Florida a 61-58 lead, its first of the game.

    Georgetown center Natalie Butler, who led the visitors with 16 points and 18 rebounds, closed the gap with a layup, but the Gators kept the lead at three on the next possession when Kayla Lewis (Decatur, Ga.) knocked down two free throws with 2:43 to play in the bonus period and Florida held a 63-60 edge with 2:43 on the clock.

    January Miller (Orlando, Fla.), who had just been re-inserted into the game, came up with a defensive steal and the Gators took advantage, as sophomore Cassie Peoples (San Antonio, Texas) drilled a 25-footer as the shot clock was expiring that lifted the Gators to a 66-60 edge with 1:57 on the clock.

    GU’s Faifth Woodward answered with a trey on the other end 15 seconds later and kept the difference between the two teams at three.

    The Gators committed their 18th turnover of the game on their next possession and Woodard made it count for GU, as her off-balance two-point jumper banked in off the glass with 25.1 to play, and the Gator lead was down to one, 66-65.

    Florida nearly turned the ball over again, but called a timeout with 17 seconds to go to set up its next series. Bonds drove hard and was fouled. She made the first free throw that was her career-high 26th point and more importantly gave Florida a 67-65 lead, but missed the second with 15 seconds remaining.

    Martin missed her three-point try with nine seconds left and Bonds corralled the defensive board to close out Florida’s comeback.

    Florida was woeful in the first half when it committed 12 of its 18 turnovers and dug itself a 34-18 halftime hole.

    The Gators, however, never quit and found a way to tie the game at 46 with 6:23 remaining in regulation, at 55 with 2:23 on the clock, and after Woodard converted a pair of free throws with 27 seconds left that gave the Hoyas a 58-55 lead, Bonds found Peoples for an open three, and the sophomore, who had missed nine of her first 10 shots from the field, including all four from deep, delivered from beyond the arc and brought the O’Connell Center crowd to its feet with 20.9 to play in regulation and tied the score at 58.

    Martin’s three-pointer at the buzzer missed the mark for the Hoyas and the game headed into overtime.

    The Gators outscored Georgetown 40-24 in the second half, when they shot 46.9 percent after a 20.8 percent mark in the first 20 minutes. The Hoyas, who won the rebounding battle 52-34, hit 50 percent of their shots in the first half, but just 28 percent in the second.

    The opening five minutes of the game witnessed back and forth action, with each team struggling to find a groove. Miller and Bonds tallied a pair of baskets as the Gators trailed 7-4 at the under-16 timeout. Florida struggled from the field as Georgetown went on a 10-1 run to increase its lead to 17-5, forcing Florida to take a timeout at 10:36.

    Bonds ended Florida’s 9:40 field goal drought with 6:36 left in the half. The senior followed the basket up with a fast break layup to cut the deficit to 21-12, forcing the Hoyas to take a timeout at the 6:01 mark. After cutting the lead to seven, Georgetown proceeded to go on a 13-4 run to take a 34-18 lead into the locker room. Florida shot a mere 20.8 percent from the field and did not make a shot from outside in opening half.

    Bonds was Florida’s first half leader with 11 points with three field goals and five made free throws. Georgetown’s size was evident early as the Hoyas scored 24 of 34 points inside the paint compared to Florida’s six. However, the second half produced opposite results. Florida’s defense tightened up inside, allowing eight points inside the rest of the way.

    Florida opened up the second half on a 11-0 run, cutting the Hoyas lead to 34-29, with baskets from Bonds, Ronni Williams (Daytona Beach, Fla.), Lily Svete (Granger, Ind.) and Carlie Needles (Highlands Ranch, Col.). The Gators cut the lead down to two and were down five after Georgetown’s Jade Martin connected on a three-point shot. Bonds responded with a jump shot with 7:26 left in the second half, moving the Gators within three, down 46-43. Coming out of the timeout, Bonds completed a three-point play when she was fouled on a layup in transition.

    After the Gators tied the game for the first time since the opening tip, Georgetown rattled off four consecutive points and began shooting in the double bonus after Christin Mercer (Douglasville, Ga.), who was 27-33 from the field in the Gators previous three wins, fouled out. A Hoya foul at the 5:16 mark put Miller at the line as the Gators began shooting in the double-bonus down 51-47.

    After a Georgetown basket, Peoples ended a 0-9 shooting start with a layup of her own. At the under four-minute timeout, Georgetown led 55-53. Miller snuck behind a screen and Bonds found her teammate for an open layup to tie the game at 55-55 with 2:23 left. Faith Woodward made the first free throw to push the Hoyas ahead 56-55, and the Gators ensuing offensive possession resulted in a turnover. Woodward was fouled and made both free throws to set up the final scene in regulation.

    Florida will head into conference play with a 10-3 record after capping off a perfect 6-0 December.





    Five Double-Digit Lady Dogs Lead Georgia Past Illinois

    ATHENS, Ga. -- The No.19 Georgia Lady Bulldogs used five players scoring double-digits to put away the Illinois Fighting Illini 82-60 on Saturday afternoon at Stegeman Coliseum.

    The Lady Bulldogs were led by sophomores Tiaria Griffin and Shacobia Barbee, who scored 17 points each. Erika Ford (14 points), Khaalidah Miller (12 points) and Krista Donald (10 points) completed the Georgia plays hitting double digits in the scoring column. Donald completed a double-double with a game-high 15 rebounds, 10 of those coming in the first-half. The Lake, Miss., native also notched a career-high seven assists and four steals.

    Georgia head coach Andy Landers reserved special praise post game for the performance of Barbee.

    “I thought Barbee was outstanding today on the defensive end. She had a good day, a very good day. The assists...she’s just got a really nice knack for seeing the open man and then she gives them the kind of pass that the play deserves,” Landers said. “She has a knack for being able to put a touch on the ball that allows that person that’s open to catch it.”

    Georgia dominated the Illini on the boards early with Donald’s 10 rebounds coming up just three shy of Illinois’ 13 total first-period grabs. The Lady Bulldogs would go on to outrebound the visitors 51-30.

    Georgia jumped out to an early 5-0 lead thanks to baskets by Erika Ford and Krista Donald. The Lady Bulldogs dominance of the early portion of the game was highlighted by them hitting 6-of-10 shots in the first six minutes while forcing five steals in the first 10 minutes.

    The Lady Bulldogs used the early momentum to pull out to a 14-5 lead before turnovers helped the visitors chip away at the Georgia lead before turning it into a 14-15 deficit at the 11:05 mark. The Lady Bulldogs would go on an 11-0 charge in two minutes between 9:57 and 08:00 left in the first period to regain a 25-15 edge. Griffin led the charge with five points and two assists.

    Griffin and Barbee led Georgia at the half with eight points apiece while Donald’s 10 boards led the team as the Lady Bulldogs stretched the lead to 38-25.

    The Lady Bulldogs came out hot in the second stanza stretching the lead to 51-34 before five minutes had elapsed on the clock.

    Georgia turned the screw mid-way through the half as points from Barbee, Griffin, Ford and Miller stretched the lead to 25 points at 40-65. Four times in the final eight minutes the Lady Bulldogs were able to push the lead to 27 points with Griffin at the 7:55 mark, Griffin again with a 3-pointer at the 6:01 mark, a Barbee jumper at 2:19 and finally Marjorie Butler with 1:28 left preserved Georgia’s dominant lead which would eventually finish at 22 points after a late Illinois flourish.

    Georgia extended one of the most impressive stats of the Andy Landers-era as the Lady Bulldogs stretched their record when scoring 80-points to 430-6. Georgia hit 80 points on a Barbee jump shot with 2:19 left in the game.

    Georgia will return to action in the new year as the Lady Bulldogs travel to Nashville, Tenn., to open SEC play against Vanderbilt on January 2. The game will tip-off at 9:00 PM ET and will be televised by CSS. The Lady Bulldogs return home on January 5 to face Tennessee at Stegeman Coliseum with tip-off set for 4:00 PM ET and will be televised live by SportSouth.

    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.





    Jones' 13 Assists Help Aggies To 80-52 Victory

    COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M women’s basketball team improved its home record to 5-0 as they defeated three-time national champion Louisiana Tech 80-52 on Saturday night.

    Jordan Jones had a career-high 13 assists, the ninth-most by an A&M player in a single-game all time. Jones added in a season-high 11 points for her first career-double double.

    The Aggies (8-4) started the game on a 12-0 run and did not look back for the remainder of the game. The Lady Techsters (5-8) missed their first eight shots, while the Aggies went 8-8 from the field and 3-3 from the line to start the game, building up a 19-5 lead. A&M ended up shooting 64.5% in the first half to take a 51-25 lead into the break.

    Courtney Williams continued her prolific scoring run, dropping in career-high 22 points for her first 20+ point scoring game. She reached double figures for the sixth straight game and seventh time in eight game.

    In all, four Aggies reached double figures in scoring, with Courtney Walker and Karla Gilbert joining Williams and Jones with 10 points apiece. Walker’s 10 marked her 10th double digit scoring game this season, while Gilbert reached double figures for the second straight game.

    The Aggies improved to 24-1 against unranked opponents at home since 2011-12, and won their 64th straight game against an unranked non-conference opponent at home.

    The Aggies return to the court Monday, December 30 to take on Arkansas State at Reed Arena, with tip set for 7 p.m.





    Crimson Tide Falls to Princeton, 79-59, at Cavalier Classic

    CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The Alabama women’s basketball team struggled on both sides of the ball in game one of the Cavalier Classic, resulting in a 79-59 loss to Princeton on Saturday at the John Paul Jones Arena. With the loss, the Crimson Tide stands at 6-6 on the season, while the win lifts the Tigers to 8-4.

    Freshman Ashley Williams had a game-high tying 21 points to lead Alabama’s offense, in addition to a team-best six rebounds. Junior Daisha Simmons followed with 13 points. Princeton was led by senior Kristen Helmstetter, who had a double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds, in addition to seven assists.

    The first half went back and forth with neither team leading by more than five points. Princeton got on the scoreboard first with a pair of free throws from Helmstetter at the 19:17 mark before Alabama answered with two free throws from sophomore Nikki Hegstetter seconds later. From there, the half saw three more ties and six lead changes with the final change coming with 1:42 to play. The Tigers closed out the frame on a 9-0 run to lead 35-30 at the break.

    Princeton picked up where it left off, outscoring the Tide 16-2 over the first seven minutes of the second half. The Tigers would go on to lead by as many as 26 in the contest.

    For the game, Alabama shot 33.3 percent (19-57) and only 7.7 percent (1-13) from three-point range, while Princeton hit 45.3 percent (29-64) of its attempts overall and 33.3 percent (6-18) from beyond the arc. The Tigers out-rebounded the Tide, 54-35, and had 22 assists compared to Alabama’s four.

    The Tide will now face the loser of the game between Virginia and Coppin State at either 11 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. CT on Sunday.

    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.