|SUNDAY WOMEN'S HOOPS SCHEDULE
|South Carolina 76, Vanderbilt 66
|Arkansas 69, Missouri 66
|Auburn 82, Mississippi State 74
|Texas A&M 73, Alabama 58
|Florida 83, Kentucky 73
|Tennessee 85, Georgia 70
|LSU 63, Tulane 35
Coates Leads Gamecocks Past Vanderbilt 76-66
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- No. 13/12 South Carolina moved to 2-0 in conference play with a 76-66 win over Vanderbilt (12-3, 1-1 SEC) in SEC action Sunday afternoon in Colonial Life Arena. Freshman center Alaina Coates led the Gamecocks, recording her third-straight double-double with a career-high 24 points and 10 rebounds, both game highs. South Carolina (14-1, 2-0 SEC) shot 54.3 percent from the field, hitting 25 of its 47 shots, and the Gamecocks made it count from the free throw line as well, sinking 22 of their 27 chances, including 9-of-10 in the final five minutes to keep the Commodores from rallying.
“Feeding the ball inside to Alaina [Coates] and Elem [Ibiam] was exactly what we wanted to do,” Staley said. “Watching Vanderbilt on film and seeing what they had to offer, we just felt like our bigs would be able to get great looks in the paint. So, we wanted to pound it in there as much as possible and let them do their thing. We haven’t had the luxury of playing big and putting the ball down on the block to make people guard us. Elem and Alaina are only going to get better.”
Both teams played to their strengths in the first half with the Gamecocks going inside and the Commodores lining it up from the 3-point arc and traded the lead six times and were tied three times in the opening 11 minutes. Tied at 17-17 with just under nine minutes left in the half, the Gamecocks solved the Vanderbilt defense with relentless lobs over the top to Elem Ibiam and Coates.
The strategy launched a series of runs that combined for a 24-13 push that delivered an 11-point halftime lead. Ibiam and Coates combined for 19 of those points as the Commodores could not defend well-placed passes that led them right to the block for high-percentage shots. Tiffany Mitchell added a 3-pointer early and a transition layup late to complete the scoring. Defensively, South Carolina was also locked in late in the period, forcing seven turnovers and making the Commodores take contested long-range shots, which led to a 41-30 advantage at the break.
Vanderbilt tried to get something going early in the second half with back-to-back 3s and applying full-court pressure. South Carolina responded with a 9-0 run that started with an easy bucket from Ibiam after Welch and Dozier broke the press. Mitchell led the team in transition off quick outlets on defensive rebounds, hitting a layup on the first and finding Welch for a buck on the second. After another Vanderbilt misfire, Tiffany Davis drove the lane and got a tough shot to fall while getting fouled. Her completion of the traditional three-point play made it a 52-35 Gamecock lead just three minutes into the half.
The Commodores continued to pressure, though, and found some results as the Gamecock offense began to cool with a shorter shot clock once getting across halfcourt. Fouls began to pile up for the Gamecocks as well, leaving key contributors on the bench to deal with the pressure. Vanderbilt cut into the lead slowly but steadily as South Carolina scored just six points over the next eight and a half minutes. Defensively, the Gamecocks held firm, though, allowing the Commodores to just close to 10 at 60-50 with 8:45 to play.
Redshirt sophomore Tina Roy looked to stop the Vanderbilt surge with a 3 from the right corner, but Jasmine Jenkins answered with one from the left wing on the next possession. A pair of free throws from Christina Foggie brought the Commodores within eight with just over seven to play. From there, the Gamecocks rediscovered their bread and butter and began finding Coates again deep in the paint.
With Commodores persisting, the Gamecocks continued to defend against 3-pointers while salting away the game at the free throw line. South Carolina hit a season-high 81.5 percent from the stripe, including Welch and Mitchell combining for 9-of-10 in the final five minutes of the victory.
Every Gamecock who entered the game scored at least two points with Mitchell and Ibiam joining Coates with 19 and 11 points, respectively. Asia Dozier again paced the team with five assists, but three other Gamecocks handed out at least three in the game as South Carolina assisted on 19 of its 25 field goals.
South Carolina is back in action at Colonial Life Arena on Thu., Jan. 9, at 7 p.m. against No. 6/6 Kentucky.
Wolff Leads Razorbacks To SEC Road Win
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Jessica Jackson tied a career-high 22 points and Melissa Wolff added a double-double in her first career start, as the University of Arkansas women's basketball team (14-1, 1-1 SEC) held off Missouri (12-3, 1-1 SEC) for a 69-66 win at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Mo., on Sunday.
The team's first conference win of the season, six different Razorbacks scored at least three points in a balanced attack offensively. Calli Berna scored 11 points of her own and dished out eight assists, while Kelsey Brooks added eight points from off the bench.
“We had so many great efforts today,” head coach Tom Collen said. “You’ve got to start with Melissa Wolff and for her to play the way she did rebounding, defending--really started with her. We had a lot of other great contributions today as well, especially from our freshmen. I think we grew up a little from this.”
The Razorbacks combined to knock down 16 straight free throws and close out the win down the stretch. Berna scored all 11 of her points in the second half, including going 8-for-8 from the free-throw line over the closing minutes.
“We found out we’ve got kids that aren’t afraid to go to the free-throw line,” Coach Collen said. “They did a fantastic job closing this one out. Missouri did a nice job making it interesting and giving us all that they had.”
Jackson was aggressive early offensively, scoring nine points in the first half and helping Arkansas to an early 9-4 lead. The freshman had scored 12 points in her first SEC game against South Carolina. Both teams maintained good pace throughout the first half, as each tried to settle in offensively. The Razorbacks did most of their early work in the paint, scoring 18 first-half points down low. UA also outscored MU 9-to-0 on the fast break.
Behind a quick 7-2 run, the Razorbacks extended its lead to 22-13 with just under six minutes to play in the first. The spurt was highlighted by a three-point basket in transition from McKenzie Adams, which was then immediately followed by a steal and score from Peak. Adams and Peak were a combined 2-for-13 in the first half.
In her first career start, Wolff nearly put together a flawless first half with six points (3-4 FG) and five rebounds. Brooks came in off the bench and provided a handful of energy for the Razorbacks, as she added six points, two rebounds, one block and two steals.
Arkansas took a 27-24 lead into the locker room at half after holding MU’s third-best three-point to just 1-for-7 three-point shooting. The Tigers were just 27 percent from the field, led by seven points each fro Morgan Eye and Bri Kulas.
The Tigers came into the game ranked No. 3 in the NCAA for three-point shooting, while the Razorbacks entered as the seventh-best team in the country at defending the three-point shot.
Eye and the Tigers began to find their range from distance early on in the second half, as Missouri took its first lead at 33-31 five minutes in. Jackson reached double digits for the Razorbacks, while Brooks and Wolff had eight points each. As the score evened up, so did the shooting of both teams, as UA dipped to 37 percent from the floor and the Tigers improved to 36 percent.
Back-to-back three-point baskets from Berna and Adams tied the game up at 42 with 8:31 to play. Both teams were 3-for-13 from distance (23%).
Jackson and Wolff came up with big shots late to help push the Razorbacks out in front with a comfortable lead, combining to score 17 of the team’s final 24 points.
Arkansas returns home but quickly takes to the road again, travelling next to Gainesville, Fla., for an SEC road showdown with Florida. Opening tip is scheduled for 6 p.m.
Auburn Rallies For 82-74 Win At Mississippi State In SEC Opener
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Auburn (10-4, 1-0 SEC) rallied from 13 points down in the first half to open up Southeastern Conference play with a win Sunday in Starkville, Miss., 8274 over Mississippi State (13-3, 0-2 SEC). Senior Tyrese Tanner notched an SEC career high 24 points and six rebounds to lead the Tigers in the win.
In a game that featured a pair of defenses that like to pressure the ball and force turnovers, Auburn was able to come out on the better end. The Tigers forced 26 Mississippi State turnovers on 15 steals, turning them into 28 points on the other end. Auburn committed 25 turnovers of its own with MSU converting them into 26 points.
"That first half hurt us with Hasina Muhammad and Tyrese Tanner being in foul trouble," said Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy. "Those are your two best players, your two best wings, Tyrese is your best defender. Then Tra'Cee Tanner got in foul trouble and you have her on the bench. It hurts having your starters out of the game, but I thought our subs did a great job of coming in and holding it down for us."
Auburn finished with five players in double figures, led by Tyrese Tanner's 24. Brandy Montgomery added 13 points while Tra'Cee Tanner, Muhammad and Peyton Davis added 10 each. For Montgomery, her 13 points are the most for an Auburn player in their SEC debut since Tyrese Tanner scored 15 against Alabama in her first SEC game in 2011.
Defensively, Auburn was led by Tra'Cee Tanner with six steals and three blocked shots. Montgomery added three steals for the Tigers. The six steals are tied for 12th all-time at Auburn in single-game steals.
"I thought this was the best defensive game Tra'Cee has had in our press," said Williams-Flournoy. "Most of the time she is standing back there, scared to come out, but she did a great job in our press today."
Mississippi State's defense gave Auburn fits in the first half, forcing the Tigers into 15 turnovers. After cutting MSU's lead to four midway through the half, the Bulldogs rattled off a 9-0 run for a 33-18 lead. The Tigers finished the period out-scoring Mississippi State 14-3 to cut the lead to three, 36-33.
Coming out of the break, Auburn's defense jumped on the Bulldogs early, forcing four turnovers to take a 39-38 lead - the Tigers' first of the game. MSU would take a lead again at 42-39, but it was all Auburn after that.
The Tigers pulled away and led by as many as 12 points midway through the half. Mississippi State made a run at Auburn, cutting the lead to two with 4:54 remaining, but the Tigers never surrendered the lead, hitting their free throws down the stretch to hold on for the 82-74 win.
Cabriana Capers led Auburn on the boards with seven while freshman Allina Starr totaled a career high eight assists. The Tigers made a big impact on the offensive boards, pulling down 16 offensive rebounds that turned into 21 second-chance points for Auburn.
Martha Alwal led the Bulldogs with 18 points and six rebounds while Kendra Grant came off the bench for 14.
Auburn will return to the court at 6 p.m. CT, Thursday as the Tigers host Vanderbilt (12-3, 1-1 SEC) in their SEC home-opener at Auburn Arena. The game will be broadcast live on 98.7 WANI in Auburn.
A&M Opens SEC Play with 73-58 Win over Tide
COLLEGE STATION- Courtney Williams scored 23 points to lead Texas A&M to a 73-58 win over Alabama Sunday afternoon at Reed Arena in the Aggies' SEC opener.
Williams' 23 points gives her 20+ points in four straight games, which makes her the first Aggie to have four straight 20+ point games since 2011 Final Four MOP Danielle Adams had five straight 20+ point games from Dec. 9, 2010 to Jan. 5, 2011.
The Aggies are now 2-0 in SEC openers, with both wins coming against Alabama at Reed Arena.
Achiri Ade had her first career 20+ point game, scoring 21 points and grabbing 12 rebounds--both of which were career-highs. She shot 8-of-8 from the field, becoming the first SEC player to go at least 8-for-8 this season. Ade's game marked her third career double-double.
Texas A&M (11-4, 1-0 SEC) shot 62.1 percent in the first half, to take a 41-31 lead into the break. Williams had 15 points in the first half, and has scored double digits in every first half since Dec. 22.
Alabama (7-8, 0-2 SEC) was able to cut Texas A&M’s lead to three points in the second half, but Curtyce Knox and Achiri Ade answered by combining for all the points in an 11-0 run that gave A&M a 61-47 lead with 8:08 left in the game.
Karla Gilbert reached 10 rebounds for the fifth time this season, and scored eight points, giving her 8-or-more points in six straight games.
The Aggies return to action on Thursday, January 9 at No. 16 LSU, in a game that is televised on CST, starting at 6 p.m. Texas A&M returns to Reed Arena on January 16 to host No. 13 South Carolina in a game televised on FSSW, starting at 7 p.m.
Gators Upset No. 6 Kentucky in Lexington
Lexington, KY -- Senior Jaterra Bonds scored a game-high 23 points, freshman Ronni Williams posted her third double-double and Florida knocked off No. 6 Kentucky, 83-73, at Memorial Coliseum Sunday afternoon.
The Gators won their eighth consecutive game overall and snapped a couple streaks in the process. Florida halted its six-game skid against Kentucky, as well as earned its first victory against a ranked team in 10 tries. The Gator’s last win against a nationally-ranked team was on March 17, 2012, when the squad topped No. 16 Ohio State, 70-65, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
In addition to Bonds’ sixth 20-point game of the season and Williams’ career-high 19 point, 10 rebound performance, Christin Mercer and January Miller both added 10 points, as all eight Gators who suited up, scored in the game.
With the game tied at 53 and 14:57 remaining, Kentucky went on a 9-0 run and took a 62-53 lead with exactly 12 minutes remaining that whipped the crowd of 7,039 into a frenzy.
The Gators fought back and used a 16-6 run over the next 7:18 to take a 69-68 lead with 4:31 remaining.
Bonds started the spree with a pair of free throws, as Williams scored six points during the run, Mercer six points and Miller capped the march with a pair of one-and-one free throws after she was fouled on a break-away.
UK came right back with a pair of free throws, but Kayla Lewis took a great feed from Mercer in the paint and finished to spark a 6-0 run that gave Florida a 75-70 lead with 3:40 to go.
Florida converted 12-of-16 free throws in the final 3:40 of the game to help seal the win.
Kentucky featured the nation’s third-most potent offense, entering the game averaging 93.8 points per game, but managed just one field goal in the final 13 minutes of the contest.
Jennifer O’Neill led UK with 15 points, hitting 6-of-10 free throws.
Massengale, Lady Vols Hold Off UGA, 85-70
ATHENS, Ga. -- No. 5/5 Tennessee had dominating performances by Ariel Massengale and Isabelle Harrison and withstood a late surge by No. 19/18 Georgia to defeat the Lady Bulldogs, 85-70, for its first SEC victory of the season.
In the 61st meeting between the two teams, the Lady Vols (12-2, 1-1 SEC) played a strong inside game in the first half and built a 27-point lead in the second half before the Lady Bulldogs (12-3, 0-2 SEC) came storming back to make things interesting in the final two minutes.
Massengale, Andraya Carter and Meighan Simmons combined to go 9-of-10 from the free-throw-line in the final 1:10 to close out the game and halt Georgia's comeback attempt.
With 7:20 remaining, a layup by Krista Donald sparked a 21-0 Georgia run that pulled the Lady Bulldogs to within six points. Georgia had pulled back from being down by as much as 27 points to trail by just six points, 76-70, with under two minutes left in the game. The run covered a span of 6:08 with Georgia attacking the paint and knocking down shots from all over.
Massengale set a new career high with 28 points on 8-of-14 shooting and a 10-of-10 effort from the stripe. Her previous career best was 20 points against North Carolina on Nov. 11. Harrison finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds for her sixth-consecutive double-double and seventh on the season. She scored all 18 of her points in the first half. Simmons added 11 points and five rebounds.
The Lady Vols led by as much as 27 at both the 9:28 mark and the 7:39 mark.
A corner trey by Meighan Simmons with 12:52 left gave Tennessee a 25-point lead at 64-39. A layup and free throw a minute later gave Massengale her new career high in points.
Tennessee enjoyed a strong start in second half thanks to aggressive play by Massengale. She scored 14 points on 6-of-6 shooting during a 21-9 UT run in the first seven minutes out of the break that pushed the Lady Vols' lead to 61-37.
Harrison was an offensive force in the first half, scoring 18 points on 5-of-7 shooting with an 8-of-8 effort from the line. Her putback with 20 seconds left in the half gave Tennessee a 40-28 advantage going into the break.
In the first half, the Lady Vols shot 52 percent (11-of-21) from the field and 94 percent (16-of-17) from the free-throw line. Georgia shot just 35 percent (12-of-34) from the field and 60 percent (3-of-5) from the stripe.
After Tennessee held a small lead for most of the first 10 minutes of the game, Georgia's Tiara Griffin knocked down a pair of free throws to tie the game at 14-14. Massengale and UGA's Erika Ford traded 3-pointers before Tennessee used an 8-0 run to build a 25-17 lead with 6:29 remaining in the first half.
Both teams opened with a bit of a rocky start as UT committed four turnovers and Georgia had three in the first three minutes of play. The Lady Vols attacked the paint early, going inside to Harrison and Mercedes Russell. A pair of free throws by Harrison just after the first media timeout gave UT a three-point advantage at 11-8.
Tennessee returns to Thompson-Boling Arena on Thursday, Jan. 9, to host Ole Miss at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on CSS.
Defense Propels No. 16 Women’s Hoops Past Tulane, 67-35
NEW ORLEANS -- The trio of DaShawn Harden, Jeanne Kenney and Theresa Plaisance combined for 43 points, and the No. 16 LSU women’s basketball team also used suffocating defense en route to a 63-35 victory over Tulane Sunday at Devlin Fieldhouse.
The win enabled LSU (12-2) to end a three-game losing streak to the Green Wave (9-4) which dated back to the 2009-10 season. On the defensive end, the Lady Tigers held the Tulane to 11 field goals and forced the Green Wave into 25 turnovers. LSU scored 29 of the game’s 36 points off turnovers.
The 35 points allowed were tied for the second-fewest in the Nikki Caldwell era at LSU. The last time was a 77-35 Lady Tigers victory over Lamar on Dec. 18, 2011. For Tulane, the 35 points matched the third-lowest scoring output in program history, and the Green Wave’s lowest scoring total dating back to a 73-35 loss to Southern Miss on Jan. 13, 1990.
“We wanted to carry the momentum that we had coming off the Tennessee game into today’s game especially on the defensive end,” head coach Nikki Caldwell said. “Our efforts were to try and disrupt Tulane’s guard play and keep them off the offensive glass. We talked about setting the tone during the first four minutes off the game especially on the road, and we did that well tonight.”
Kenney poured in the contest’s first 12 points on a quartet of triples and scored 15 of her game-leading 17 points during the opening stanza. She also handed out five assists against one turnover over her 30 minutes of action.
Plaisance filled the box score with 15 points, 14 rebounds, three blocks and three steals. The 14 rebounds were her second-highest effort on the season, while her three blocks and three steals equaled season’s best. It also was Plaisance’s third double-double of 2013-14 and her 11th career double dip.
Harden pumped in 11 of LSU’s 21 bench points on 4-of-6 shooting to secure her second consecutive double digit scoring performance. She tacked on four rebounds, three assists and two steals.
LSU received points and a rebound from nine of its 11 players. Danielle Ballard, Rina Hill, Raigyne Moncrief and Anne Pedersen chipped in four points apiece for the Lady Tigers. Ballard secured five rebounds and tied a season-high with four steals whereas Moncrief contributed four assists, three rebounds and three steals.
“The great thing about our team is that we have a lot of versatility,” Caldwell said. “The other night at Tennessee it was the Danielle Ballard show. I like the fact that we have a balanced attack. Our players are understanding and buying into the fact that it may not always be their night to score and take a lot of shots. It may be their night to be a great screener or a great defender. Being selfless and making that sacrifice for our team, that’s been a huge positive for us. We’re going to continue to talk to our team about it because it’s the difference between good teams and great teams.”
As a team, LSU connected for a 23-of-52 shooting performance sparked by a 9-for-18 effort from triple territory. The Lady Tigers have been over 40.0 percent in 11 of its 14 outings for the season, while the nine three-pointers were a season-high. LSU also was a perfect 8-for-8 at the foul line.
Tulane was 11-of-53 from the floor, 4-of-19 from the three-point arc and 9-of-14 at the free throw. The 11 field goals were tied for the third-fewest total in the Caldwell era. LSU’s defense stymied Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Nov. 21) and Alabama (Jan. 8) to 10 field goals during the 2011-12 campaign.
Kenney vaulted LSU to a 12-0 advantage in the game’s first 3:10 on four triples. The Lady Tigers hit on six of their first 12 shots and built a 17-4 advantage on a Harden three-ball at the 12:52 mark.
Tulane got back to single digits at 19-10 with 11:00 remaining, but the Lady Tigers ripped off the next 11 points over the next 6:59. Ballard buried consecutive jumpers to ignite the flurry followed by Kenney’s fifth trifecta of the half and four straight Plaisance points to make it 30-10 with 4:01 to go.
LSU would take a 33-13 edge into the locker room. The Lady Tigers picked up eight assists on their 12 first half baskets, and Tulane finished with a paltry 4-for-25 shooting performance.
“Jeanne was feeling it, and she was on a mission,” Caldwell said. “Her and her teammates were focused in on getting us off to a great start on the road. Credit to them because they were finding her early, and she felt very comfortable in letting it rip. She really set the tone for us for the offensive end.”
The Green Wave tallied the opening seven points of the second stanza to draw back to 33-20 capped by a Bragg three-pointer at the 17:30 mark.
Midway through the second half, LSU seized the momentum back and put the game away with a 20-3 run. The spurt lasted from 13:19 to 3:03 on the clock, and the Lady Tigers secured their largest lead of the contest at 57-26.
The Green Wave was led by Jamie Kaplan’s 10 points and Danielle Blagg’s nine points. However, the duo was bottled up for a combined 6-of-28 from the floor and misfired on 13 of its 16 three-point attempts.
LSU returns to SEC play with a Thursday home tilt against Texas A&M. It the program’s annual “Gold Game” and tip time is slated for 6 p.m. from the Maravich Center. The game will be carried live by Cox Sports Television.
The LSU Sports Radio Network will broadcast the game on Talk 107.3 FM in the Baton Rouge and inside the Geaux Zone at LSUsports.net/live. Patrick Wright, the voice of the Lady Tigers, will call the action.
For all of the latest news and information on Lady Tiger basketball, visit www.lsusports.net/womensbasketball. Fans can also follow the program on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsuwbkb along with @lsuwbkb and @nikkicaldwell on Twitter.