OXFORD, Miss. – Behind 20 first-half points from Valencia McFarland, and a double-double off the bench from rookie Bretta Hart, the Ole Miss women’s basketball team extended its home win streak to six straight with a 99-69 win over Austin Peay in its final non-conference game on Monday (Dec. 30).
“I’m very pleased with today’s game,” said head coach Matt Insell. “When we locked in defensively at the 12-minute mark in the first half we played really well. We had a lot of kids that contributed big time for us, and I’m proud of them. We were a man down with Tia (Faleru) being out. Bretta Hart and Monique Jackson came in and battled. You can’t beat the effort they brought. Since we got back from the holiday, they have worked hard preparing themselves to help our team win basketball games.”
Ole Miss (9-5) had an outstanding second half, shooting 57.6 percent (19-of-33) from the floor and scoring 49 points, while holding the visitors to just 29 points in the second stanza. The home team also capitalized in the paint and in transition, scoring 46 points in the paint and adding 22 points on fast breaks.
McFarland led the Rebels with a game-best 22 points and was an assist short of her second consecutive double-double with nine assists. Classmate Diara Moore joined her in the 20-point column with 20 points, her second 20-point game of the season. Today’s game marked the first time this season Ole Miss has had two players score 20 points in a game.
The Ole Miss bench was also quite impressive as rookie Hart posted her first career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, becoming the first Rebel freshman to have a double-double this season. Kenyotta Jenkins was also in double figures with a season-best 13 points and five rebounds in just 14 minutes, while reserve Monique Jackson added a season-best 10 rebounds. In total, the Ole Miss bench scored a season-best 35 points.
The Rebels, who are 7-2, when leading at halftime, extended their 10-point halftime lead to 17 points by opening the second half with a 12-5 run through the first four minutes of action. Austin Peay (3-10) was able to get the lead to eight with a jumper from Tiasha Gray and a layup by Kristen Stainback, but that was as close as the visitors would get as Ole Miss’ lead swelled to 35 points en route to the Rebels ninth win of the season.
Austin Peay took early advantage of the Rebels size in the middle early, with Tearra Banks scoring six of the visitors first 13 points before Ole Miss settled in on the defensive end.
Out of the first media timeout, Gracie Frizzell, who started today’s game, nailed a triple from the top of the key to tie the game at 13-13. The visitors went on a 10-3 run to take a seven-point lead before Ole Miss started to cut into it with a three-point play from McFarland coupled with several big rebounds from Hart and a triple from Moore.
With the game tied at 27-27, the Rebels went on a 6-1 run to take a 33-28 lead at the 7:35 mark. The run was sparked by a steal and an old-fashioned three-point play from Moore, but the visitors tied it up at 33-33 with 6:45 left before the Rebels closed the half on a 17-7 run to take a 50-40 halftime lead.
The Rebels open the 2014 SEC slate on Thursday (Jan.2) when they welcome Missouri to the Tad Smith Coliseum. For ticket information, go to OleMissTix.com or call the Ole Miss Ticket Office at 1-888-REB-TKTS (732-8587).
Vanderbilt Dispatches UAB In Final Non-Conference Tilt
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Vanderbilt senior Christina Foggie might soon request that the Commodores wear their road jerseys all the time -- home or away.
Foggie continued her trend of big performances on the road Monday night, scoring a team-high 29 points to help Vanderbilt extend its winning streak to eight games by downing UAB, 87-76.
Foggie finished 5-of-12 from 3-point range as the Commodores (11-2) closed out their non-conference schedule by handing the Blazers (8-5) their first home loss of the season.
Heather Bowe added 15 points in the win and Jasmine Lister had 14 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Freshman Marqu'es Webb had 10 points while playing in front of a large number of friends and family in her home state.
But Foggie was the central figure of the win, as she scored 18 of her 29 points in the second half. It was her second straight 29-point road outing -- she also reached that mark at James Madison on Dec. 18 -- and she's averaging 21 points per game in Vanderbilt's four road contests this year. Foggie entered the night averaging 18 points per game overall.
"She's playing really smart basketball," said head coach Melanie Balcomb about Foggie. "She is preparing herself in practice like a senior does, and she is making great decisions."
Vanderbilt, which opens SEC play against Georgia at home on Thursday, raced out to an early 26-13 lead against UAB. But the Blazers battled back, eventually cutting the lead to 44-41 at the half.
Vanderbilt then opened the second half with a 12-0 run, and this time, the Commodores stayed in control, with the lead never dipping below double figures the rest of the way. It was Vanderbilt's 12th straight December win, dating back to the 2011-12 season.
"I felt like this was a big game for us," said Balcomb. "We wanted to have momentum going into SEC play."
Vanderbilt was buoyed by strong free throw shooting, finishing 18 of 22 at the line. The Commodores also went 7 of 16 from 3 point range.
For UAB (8-5), three players did the bulk of the scoring. Chelsee Black finished with 29 points, Karisma Chapman added 27 and Ashley Grimes had 16.
The contest held some extra meaning for Vanderbilt's Webb, the freshman from Hoover, Ala. She was playing against one of her former high school teammates, Kayla Anderson, and was also playing in the same building where Hoover High held its graduation ceremony last spring.
Vanderbilt shot 58 percent from the floor in the first half and took a 44-41 lead into the locker room. Foggie had the hot hand early, connecting on three of her first four attempts from 3-point range to help Vanderbilt build a 19-9 lead.
The Commodores led by as many as 13 points, 26-13, after a 3-point play by Webb roughly midway through the half, and owned a 31-21 advantage after a 3-pointer by Lister.
But UAB kept chipping away, eventually trimming Vanderbilt's lead to 44-41 after a late 3-pointer by Grimes.
Vanderbilt, however, opened the second half with the 12-0 run, and the tone was set.
Williams' 27 Points Leads Aggies To 80-62 Victory
COLLEGE STATION, Texas- Courtney Williams had a career-high 27 points as Texas A&M increased its home record to 6-0 with a 80-62 victory over Arkansas State in a women’s basketball game at Reed Arena.
Williams had 20+ points and set a career-high for the second straight game. She has posted the four highest scoring totals of her season in the past four games, which include the only 20+ point games of her career. She has reached double figures in seven straight and eight of her last nine games.
The Aggies (9-4) opened the game on an 11-2 run, and did not let Arkansas State any closer than seven points in the first half. Courtney Williams had 10+ points in the first half for the second straight game, scoring 14 as the Aggies took a 44-30 lead into the break.
Arkansas State (6-6) had a 9-2 run early in the second half, but only cut the lead to six points once. When the Red Wolves cut the Aggies deficit to 64-58 with 5:08 remaining, the Aggies went on a 19-2 run that extended into the game’s final minute that built up a 77-60 lead.
Achiri Ade had her second career double-double, with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Jordan Jones led the Aggies with eight assists, one game after a 13-assist outing that ranked ninth on A&M’s single-game assists list.
Bulldogs Wrap Non-Conference With 98-58 Win Against MVSU
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State played its final non-conference game of the season Monday night, rolling past Mississippi Valley State 98-58 in in front of a season-high crowd of 2,764 at the Humphrey Coliseum.
“We have to be ready for Southeastern Conference play because it is here,” MSU junior guard Kendra Grant said. “We still have some things to work on and we showed that in the first half. Coach told us we didn’t play with heart (in the first half).
“We played a lot harder in the second half. Our defensive pressure was a lot better because coach was not happy with it at halftime.”
With the victory, the Bulldogs matched last season’s overall win total and claimed the best start in school history with a 13-1 record. MSU hits the road to Florida (10-3) to open Southeastern Conference play Thursday night.
After a nip-and-tuck first half, MSU eased into halftime with a 40-34 advantage. In the second half, the Bulldogs shot 54.1 percent from the floor and held the Delta Devilettes to seven second-half field goals and 24 total points.
MSU placed six players in double figures, which included Breanna Richardson’s first double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds). Martha Alwal led the scoring with 22 points, her third-straight game with 20-plus points. Kendra Grant added 16 points, while Dominique Dillingham and Sherise Williams each added 15 points. Savannah Carter added 11 points.
In 28 minutes, Williams added four blocks, four steals, two assists and barely missed a double-double with nine rebounds.
“Disappointed in our first half,” MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. “Give credit to Mississippi Valley State. They came in, executed their game plan and took it to us. In the second half, we played a little better. With a young and inexperienced team, this is what you get a lot of times.
“We are fixing to get into the monster the next couple of months. If you have a first half like this in those games, you can’t come back.”
In the first half, the Bulldogs finally got separation with four straight points to build a 21-15 lead. A layup by Katia May later extended the lead to 26-19. MVSU closed back within three at 31-28, before MSU ended the half with a 9-6 run to build the six-point lead.
The Bulldogs scored the first 12 points of the final half to quickly build a 50-34 lead on a layup by Carter with 16:36 left. A follow-up 10-0 run later stretched the lead to 30 at 82-50 with 7:01 left in the contest.
“We aren’t ready (for SEC play), but the good news is we have two days to get ready,” Schaefer said. “Our energy level was low on the press. In the second half, our effort was better. The press kicked in and we got 26 extra shots.
“We got the ball inside. We are 13-1 but there are so many things to be concerned about.”
For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 32 of 68 shots from the field (47.1 percent), 2 of 7 shots from 3-point range (28.6 percent) and 32 of 46 shots from the foul line (69.6 percent). The Delta Devilettes hit 16 of 42 shots from the field (38.1 percent), 5 of 12 shots from 3-point range (41.7 percent) and 21 of 31 shots from the foul line (67.7 percent).
MSU held a 47-27 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 21 assists and 13 turnovers, while the Delta Devilettes had nine assists and 33 turnovers.
MVSU (1-10) received 18 points from Joncyee Sanders and 12 points from Olivia Kennedy.
The Bulldogs and Gators are set for a 6 p.m. CT start Thursday from the O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Fla. MSU will play its first conference home game against Auburn at 2 p.m. Sunday.