|SUNDAY WOMEN'S HOOPS SCHEDULE
|Vanderbilt 79, LSU 70
|Georgia 68, Florida 62
|South Carolina 77, Alabama 51
|Kentucky 73, Auburn 71
|Arkansas 68, Ole Miss 65
|Texas A&M 73, Mississippi State 35
No. 24 Vanderbilt rolls past No. 14 LSU, 79-70
NASHVILLE -- The shooting percentages just continue to rise for the Vanderbilt women's team. And chances are, the No. 24/25 Commodores will see their national ranking rise this week, too.
Vanderbilt was effective from all over the floor Sunday -- long range, inside and the foul line -- during an impressive 79-70 victory over No. 14/14 LSU before a large and energetic crowd of 6,020 at Memorial Gym.
Senior Jasmine Lister scored a game-high 25 points and fellow senior Christina Foggie added 19 for the Commodores (16-3, 5-1), who built a 20-point lead in the second half and then fought off an LSU comeback bid down the stretch. The win was the Commodores' fourth straight and their 13th in the past 14 games.
Danielle Ballard finished with 23 points for LSU (14-4, 3-2) and Theresa Plaisance added 16.
Foggie and Lister combined to go 13-of-24 from the floor, including 5-of-9 from 3-point range. Lister, the reigning SEC and espnW Player of the Week, was 10-of-10 from the foul line and also dished out a team-high seven assists.
Morgan Batey added 11 points, four rebounds and three assists for Vanderbilt.
Lister said she and Foggie were simply being opportunistic while leading Vanderbilt to its third win over a ranked opponent this month.
"We just both took what the defense gave us, and what the offense gave us as well," said Lister. "Our team just executed well and set good screens. ... It's a team effort and our team did a great job of finding us shots."
Vanderbilt entered the weekend as the SEC leaders -- and ranked among the Top-5 in the nation -- in field goal percentage and 3-point percentage. And the Commodores showed why against LSU. They shot 52 percent from the floor, including 59 percent in the second half, and finished 7-of-11 from 3-point range (63.6).
Vanderbilt also made 24-of-30 attempts from the foul line to continue a season-long trend. The Commodores entered the weekend ranked second in the SEC and 12th in the nation in free-throw percentage.
Vanderbilt's solid work at the foul line came in handy down the stretch Sunday. After seeing LSU trim Vanderbilt's 20-point lead down to seven with 90 seconds to play, Vanderbilt hit 5-of-6 free throws to close out the win.
"I have two seniors (Lister and Foggie) playing like seniors, very composed, big down the stretch, keeping the team together," said head coach Melanie Balcomb. "Then, (I also have) a lot of players doing their role and doing their job to the best they can at the time. So you're seeing different people step up. I thought we were really a team today."
Freshman Kylee Smith finished with eight points and five rebounds for the Commodores, and made a series of big plays down the stretch. Kady Schrann also had eight points, and Marqu'es Webb had six rebounds.
Early in the game, it appeared that Vanderbilt -- which upset then-No. 8/8 Tennessee last week -- was in for dogfight against LSU. The first half featured seven lead changes and four ties, and the Commodores owned a 29-26 lead at the break.
But Vanderbilt opened the second half with a 15-5 run that included 3-pointers by Foggie and Schrann to extend the lead to 44-31 with 14:37 to go. The advantage eventually swelled to 62-42 after a pull-up jumper by Jasmine Jenkins with 6:58 to play.
At that point, it seemed the Commodores were cruising. But LSU wasn't finished.
The Tigers reeled off a 19-6 run to get back in the game, and twice drew as close as seven points, the final time coming at 70-63 after two free throws by Plaisance with 1:30 left. But Foggie converted a layup on Vanderbilt's next possession and Lister followed with a pair of free throws to push the lead back to 11 points, and Commodores held on from there.
Foggie said that she and Lister are enjoying their duties as senior leaders.
"There's a leadership role that goes along with just playing," she said. "So you can't just go out there and play. You've got to count for other people on your team. It's good to have a partner to do it."
Vanderbilt now has a week to prepare for next Sunday's home game against South Carolina. The Gamecocks beat Vanderbilt, 76-66, on Jan. 5 in South Carolina.
Lady Bulldogs Surge Past Gators
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Erika Ford poured in a career-high 23 points to lead four Lady Bulldogs in double figures as Georgia rallied past Florida, 68-62, at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center on Sunday afternoon.
Khaalidah Miller added 13 points, Shacobia Barbee chipped in 12 and Krista Donald added 10 for Georgia (14-5, 2-4 SEC). Jaterra Bonds paced Florida (13-5, 3-2 SEC) with 16 points.
The Lady Bulldogs outscored the Gators 15-9 in the game's waning moments.
"We talked about that with about two-three minutes remaining," head coach Andy Landers said. "We've been in that position before. We've been in that position in our first two SEC road games at Vanderbilt and Missouri. Both of those were winnable games but we didn't play well enough down the stretch. Today, hopefully, we grew up some."
Georgia, which ranks last in the SEC in free throw percentage, shot a season-best 88.9 percent from the charity stripe. The Lady Bulldogs connected on 16-of-18 free throws, including 11-of-12 in the final 5:34 after the game was tied 53-53.
"It's about time," Landers quippped. "We're a good free throw shooting team in practice. We just haven't trusted our stroke in games. It was nice to see us step up with confidence and shoot them like we seem to do in practice on a regular basis."
Georgia rallied from a halftime deficit for the fourth time this season to improve to 4-3 in those contests. In fact, the Lady Bulldogs trailed the entire first half on Sunday.
Florida scored the game's first seven points over the opening 1:25 and maintained a comfortable lead for most of the remainder of the period.
"Florida jumped us and we didn't really respond well," Landers said.
The Gators pushed their advantage to double figures for the first time 22-12 on a Bonds layup at the 7:32 mark. A putback by Halle Washington and a 3-pointer by Donald closed the gap to 24-20 at the 2:30 mark, but Florida responded quickly and pushed the lead to 30-20 just 44 seconds later. The Lady Bulldogs scored the final four points of the period and entered the locker room trailing 30-24.
Georgia got within two points four times in the second half before finally knotting the score at 43-43 on a Donald jumper with 10:52 left. Florida regained a 47-43 lead 1:22 later before a Barbee layup and a Miller 3-pointer game the Lady Bulldogs their first lead at 49-48.
The lead changed hands three times, lastly on a Ford layup at the 7:26 mark that put Georgia up 50-49. The Gators tied the score at 53-53 before Merritt Hempe hit two free throws to open the Lady Bulldogs' decisive surge.
The Lady Bulldogs will enjoy an update this Thursday before traveling to Tuscaloosa next Sunday to face Alabama at 3:00 p.m. in a CSS regionally televised match-up.
Georgia's next home date will be on Jan. 30 when the Lady Bulldogs host No. 10 Kentucky at 9:00 p.m. That game will air on SportsSouth and has been dubbed "Stay Up Past Your Bedtime Night." The first 500 fans in attendance will receive Georgia teddy bears, the first 300 kids will receive Georgia pillow cases and the first 300 UGA students will receive "Beat Kentucky" t-shirts.
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.
Gamecocks Bounce Back Against Alabama 77-51
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Inside play and solid ball movement that led to 25 assists on 30 made baskets drove No. 8/8 South Carolina (17-2, 5-1 SEC) past Alabama (8-10, 1-4 SEC) 77-51 in front of the sixth-largest crowd in Colonial Life Arena history Sunday afternoon. Center Elem Ibiam led the Gamecocks with 18 points and seven rebounds, and forward Aleighsa Welch notched her second-straight double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
“I think we had to figure out how to get our bigs the ball, even when a team is playing a zone and they are crowding our bigs down low,” South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley said. “I thought we made a conscious effort to do that. Elem (Ibiam) got us started in the first half, and then Aleighsa (Welch) got going, and Alaina Coates came in and kind of finished it off. For us, it was a great team effort on both sides of the ball, and we need that type of effort every time we step on the floor.”
Looking to exploit their height advantage, the Gamecocks pounded the ball down low early and often. After a Tiffany Mitchell floater put South Carolina on the board, it was a heavy dose of Ibiam. As the Gamecocks established their play in the post, the junior center recorded the team’s next seven points for an early 9-4 lead.
South Carolina scored on 10 of its first 14 possessions, and a 16-3 run pushed the Gamecock advantage to 22-7 at the midway point of the first half. Ibiam, Welch and center Alaina Coates combined for nine of the points in the stretch as Carolina continued to work in the paint.
Alabama climbed back to within 10 at 22-12 with 9:13 remaining in the first half on a pair of free throws from forward Briana Hutchen, but would get no closer.
Over the next two minutes, South Carolina responded with a 3 from forward Wilka Montout and jumpers from Welch and guard Tina Roy to extend the lead back to 17.
With 4:32 to go, Mitchell set Asia Dozier up for her second 3 of the day, increasing the South Carolina lead to 20 points at 36-16.
Calculated ball movement allowed the Gamecocks to record 10 assists on their first 11 made baskets. Overall, South Carolina posted 13 assists on 17 made baskets in the first half. Mitchell was the main distributor, tallying seven in the first 20 minutes of the contest.
Out of the break, the South Carolina momentum continued. Ibiam asserted herself once again, scoring three of the first five South Carolina field goals.
Despite a handful of early second-half turnovers, the Gamecocks steadily increased their lead with the advantage climbing to 29 points at 60-31 seven minutes into the second half on a pair of free throws from Coates.
In the waning minutes of the game, Staley looked to her bench. Guard LeAnna Morrison and forward India Farmer logged playing time, and Farmer sank a 3 to make the score 77-49 with 30 seconds remaining as the Gamecocks cruised to the 77-51 victory.
South Carolina held a decided 43-24 advantage on the glass and turned 12 offensive rebounds into eight points.
Stingy Gamecock defense held the Crimson Tide to 27.3 percent from the field in the second half and just 32.8 percent for the game. South Carolina shot 51.7 percent from the floor, hitting 30 of its 58 shots. Ibiam’s 4-of-4 effort from the free throw line was a part of the Gamecocks’ stellar 10-of-11 overall performance with the 90.9 percent a season high.
After earning her first start for the Garnet and Black, guard Olivia Gaines’ scrappy play injected energy into the lineup, especially on the defensive end. She added three assists, four points and a steal.
After a week off, the Gamecocks continue conference play at Vanderbilt on Sun., Jan. 26, at 2 p.m. Coverage of the contest is set for ESPN2. South Carolina returns to Colonial Life Arena on Thurs., Jan. 30, to face Mississippi at 7 p.m.
UK Hoops Holds Off Auburn for 73-71 Win
AUBURN, Ala. - Hounded by foul problems, Auburn's women's basketball team came charging down the stretch Sunday. But in the end, the Tigers couldn't get off the shot they needed most and No. 10 Kentucky escaped from Auburn Arena with a 73-71 victory.
For the Tigers, it was a bitter defeat.
For much of the first half, Kentucky had no answer on either end for Auburn's inside game, led by senior Peyton Davis and sophomore Tra'Cee Tanner. Tanner scored 15 points and had five rebounds, but she played just 17 minutes. Davis played 20 minutes and had nine points and seven rebounds.
Kentucky took full advantage, getting out to a 62-53 lead with 10:06 left. But Auburn fought back and had its chance to win. In the hectic final minute, Kentucky missed twice and got both rebounds. Finally, after two missed Kentucky free throws with 6.1 seconds left, Auburn had its chance.
Tyrese Tanner sprinted downcourt, saw Katie Frerking open in the corner but threw too high. Auburn players and coaches were convinced a foul should have been called, but none was called and a shot never got up.
"She got bumped," Auburn coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. "Should have been called. She couldn't make the clean pass she needed to make."
But, Flournoy said, the real problem came seconds earlier.
After Auburn point guard Meagan Tucker drove to the basket to pull Auburn within 73-71 with 1:07 left, Kentucky misfired on two 3-point shots but got both rebounds. Samantha Walker missed two free throws but Auburn couldn't cash in.
"We blew it," Williams-Flournoy said. "The opportunity was there. We played hard. At times we just didn't do what we needed to do. You've got to box out and get that defensive rebound to give yourself a chance."
Tyrese Tanner almost single-handedly kept Auburn in the game. She scored 28 points, 17 in the second half, to pass Blanche Alverson to No. 18 on Auburn's all-time scoring list. She had five rebounds and assist and two blocked shots.
"She put it on her shoulders," Williams-Flournoy said. "She didn't stop when she was tired. That's tough, to play 39 minutes. We just needed one more player to help her a little bit."
With senior Hasina Muhammad, Auburn's second-leading scorer out with an injury, Williams-Flournoy went big by putting Davis and Tra'Cee Tanner in the starting lineup.
Against Kentucky's man-to-man defense, the Tigers quickly took command and led 25-12 with 9:28 left.
"Their posts can't guard us," Davis said. "We did our job, but we weren't able to stay in the game because of the foul situation. Sometimes you have those games when you can't do anything with picking up a foul."
Kentucky switched to a zone and, by halftime, Auburn led just 37-36.
"It's very frustrating," Tyrese Tanner said. "We had it, and I think we relaxed toward the end of the first half. We just didn't do a good job keeping that lead. I think we did pretty well making our run. We just kept making silly turnovers and not taking care of the ball. I think that really hurt us in the long run."
Kentucky romped to a 96-53 victory over Auburn last season in Lexington.
"They did not demolish us this year," Tyrese Tanner said. "It was frustrating because this is not the Kentucky team they've had. This one is beatable."
Auburn fell to 11-7 overall and 2-3 in the SEC. All three losses have come at home to nationally ranked teams. Kentucky improved to 15-3 and 3-2.
Auburn plays at LSU on Thursday night.
Jackson Scores Career-High 31 In Razorback Home Win
FAYETTEVILLE -- Jessica Jackson scored a career-high 31 points hitting a key three-pointer late in the game lifting the University of Arkansas women’s basketball team to a 68-65 win over Ole Miss in Bud Walton Arena Sunday. The win moves Arkansas to 15-4 overall and 2-4 in the SEC while Ole Miss falls to 9-10 overall and 0-5 in league play.
Jackson opened the game with 18 points in the first half and continued her hot shooting early in the second frame as the Razorbacks ran out to a 16-point lead and seemed to have the game in hand.
Ole Miss rallied however, going on a 20-1 run as the Razorbacks went ice cold from the floor with an 0-for-12 stretch over eight minutes in the game. The Lady Rebels had a seven-point lead with 7:10 to play in the game and Arkansas seemed to be in some trouble.
Arkansas kept chipping away at the Ole Miss advantage until Jackson hit a step-back three with 4:34 to go that tied the game at 57 and shifted the momentum back to the Razorback side of the floor.
A back-and-four battle down the stretch, Arkansas was down one when Ole Miss committed a reach in foul that sent Jackson to the line. She calmly hit both bonus shots giving Arkansas the 66-65 advantage with 37 seconds left in regulation.
Ole Miss missed a long attempt and sophomore Melissa Wolff grabbed a big defensive rebound and was fouled on the play. She hit both of her free throws sealing the win for the Razorbacks.
Wolff finished with 14 points and eight rounds behind Jackson’s double-double with 31 points and 10 boards. Sophomore Jhasmin Bowen was solid with 11 points and four boards while junior point guard Calli Berna had 12 assists and second rounds for the Razorbacks in the win.
Ole Miss rallied in the second half with a 20-1 run as the Razorbacks went cold going 0-12 early in the frame. Arkansas surrendered the lead and Ole Miss took advantage of an eight-plus minute scoring drought by the Razorbacks. The Razorbacks were just 3-for-19 through the first 12 minutes of the second half. Ole Miss erased a 16-point Arkansas lead and took a seven-point advantage but Arkansas wouldn’t surrender. The Razorbacks tied the game at 57-all at the 4:34 and outscored Ole Miss 11-8 down the stretch for the win.
Jessica Jackson scored a career-high 31 points and had 10 rebounds leading Arkansas to the win. Jackson was 11-for-22 from the floor including 5-for-7 from three-point range and 4-for-6 from the line. She had three assists and two steals for the Razorbacks.
Melissa Wolff tied her career best with 14 points and had eight rebounds in 24 minutes. Her timely rebound and clutch free throws late in the game were key in the Razorback win.
A&M Wins Eighth Straight, Rolls Past Mississippi State
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- No. 25 Texas A&M won its eighth straight game, downing Mississippi State 73-35 in a women's basketball game at Reed Arena.
The win also extended A&M’s home-winning streak to 10 straight games, and kept A&M in sole possession of first place in the SEC standings.
The game marked the return of long-time A&M assistant coach, Vic Schaefer, who now is the head coach of Mississippi State. Dating back to Schaefer’s days as head coach at Sam Houston State, Texas A&M Head Coach Gary Blair is now 9-0 against his long-time friend, and 2-0 against him while at Mississippi State.
Texas A&M (15-4, 5-0 SEC) continued its run of strong first halves defensively, holding Mississippi State to 20 points and just one field goal the last 11:40 of the half, as the Aggies took a 33-20 lead into the break. The Aggies have held four straight opponents to 20 or fewer points in the first half.
Mississippi State (14-5, 1-4 SEC) had its offensive rhythm disrupted by the stifling Aggie defense, shooting just 20.3% over the course of the game and were held without a 3-pointer.
Courtney Walker led A&M with 16 points, and was joined in double figures by Courtney Williams (15) and Achiri Ade (14).
"We were well prepared," said Walker. "We had some really long practices the past few days based on the fact that they know all of our plays. We executed more and got to the hole by being aggressive."
Karla Gilbert led the Aggies with 10 rebounds, followed by Ade’s nine. Jordan Jones led the Aggies with nine assists, coming one away from her fourth 10+ assist game of the season.
The Aggies next hit the road to face Missouri on Thursday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. Texas A&M returns to Reed Arena on Jan. 26 to host No. 12 Tennessee at 3 p.m. in a game televised by ESPN2. The game marks the first visit to College Station for the Lady Vols.