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    SEC Women's Basketball Recap: Thursday, Jan. 23

    THURSDAY WOMEN'S HOOPS SCHEDULE
    Tennessee 89, Florida 69
    Alabama 57, Kentucky 55
    Ole Miss 87, Mississippi State 85 (OT)
    Texas A&M 62, Missouri 57
    LSU 71, Auburn 60

     

    Tennessee Tops Florida, 89-69, On ‘We Back Pat Night'

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- On `We Back Pat' Night, Tennessee took care of business posting a 89-69 victory over Florida.

    Five Lady Vols scored in double-figures as #11/12 Tennessee never trailed in the contest to move to 15-4 overall and 4-2 in the SEC. Meighan Simmons knocked down five 3-pointers on the way to a game-high 21 points.

    Bashaara Graves netted 17 to equal her most points since the fourth game of the campaign. Jasmine Jones tallied 13, one shy of her career high. Andraya Carter tied her season-best with 14 and Isabelle Harrison added 12.

    Tennessee had a remarkable 27 assists on 33 baskets led by Carter, who had a career-high eight. Cierra Burdick, handed out seven. The accomplishment is even noteworthy as starting point guard Ariel Massengale suffered a facial injury in the first half when she was accident hit in the face while going for a ball. Massengale had four helpers in 14 minutes.

    The Lady Vols assisted their first 18 baskets of the game spanning the game's first 25 minutes.

    Florida was led by Kayla Lewis, who scored 14 for the Gators (13-6, 3-3 SEC). Ronni Williams scored 12 while Jaterra Bonds and Antoinette Bannister each had 10.

    Up by 13 at halftime, Tennessee continued to hold a lead of at least eight points in the second half.

    Florida cut their deficit to eight (56-48) on seven consecutive points with 11:20 left in the game. But Tennessee retaliated with some long-range shooting as Carter and Jasmine Jones connected on 3-pointers to regain the lead of a baker's dozen at 66-53 with nine minutes to go.

    Jones' second 3-pointer of the game, put UT ahead by 20 for the first time with 4:50 left in the game as Tennessee sealed the victory.

    The Lady Vols led 40-27 at halftime with 36 of the points coming from Graves (11), Harrison (9), Simmons (8) and Carter (8).

    Tennessee jumped out to a double-figure lead less than six minutes into the game as the Lady Vols showed off their passing skills. UT assisted each of its first nine field goals in taking a 22-10 lead on a Harrison layup with 12 minutes left in the first half.

    The Lady Vols took their largest lead of the first half at 15 on a Harrison layup with 2:40 left, as UT led, 40-25.

    `We Back Pat" Week an SEC initiative focused on bringing awareness and recognition to the Pat Summitt Foundation, a fund of East Tennessee Foundation, and its fight against Alzheimer's disease.

    Prior to the game, $30,000 was donated to the Pat Summitt Foundation by three separate entities.

    Tennessee returns to action on Sunday, as the Lady Vols travel to College Station, Texas for the first time in history. The game tips off at 4 p.m. ET/3 p.m. CT and airs on ESPN2 and can be heard on the Lady Vol Network.





    Daisha Simmons Hits Game-Winning Shot to Lift Alabama over No. 9/8 Kentucky, 57-55

    LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Junior Daisha Simmons made several key second-half shots, but none more important than the last, hitting a layup with three second left on the clock to give Alabama women’s basketball a 57-55 win over No. 9/8 Kentucky at Memorial Coliseum on Thursday. The victory was the first in Lexington since 2002 and the first win on the road against a top-10 team for the Crimson Tide since it beat eighth-ranked Old Dominion, 79-68, on Dec. 5, 1998.

    Alabama (9-10, 2-4 SEC) was led offensively by Simmons, who had a game-high 21 points. Sophomore Nikki Hegstetter recorded a game-best nine rebounds, while junior Bri Hutchen provided 10 points and seven rebounds off the bench. Kentucky (15-4, 3-3 SEC) was led by senior Samarie Walker and junior Bria Goss, who combined for 32 points.

    For the game, the Tide shot 39.2 percent (20-51), while the Wildcats were 37.9 percent (22-58) from the floor. Alabama also out-rebounded the taller Kentucky squad, 39-37.

    Freshman Ashley Williams connected on a layup one minute in to put the Tide on the board first, but Kentucky would respond on the ensuing possession to even the score. The game remained tied or in the Wildcats’ favor until Alabama scored four unanswered points to lead 10-9 at the 11:54 mark. The Tide led for just over six minutes until a 7-0 run for Kentucky, all coming from Goss, gave the Wildcats the lead back with 5:32 to go in the first. Kentucky led by as many as three late in the half, but a three-pointer from junior Brittany Jack tied the game up at 27-27 heading into the break.

    The Wildcats opened the second half on a 12-4 run, 10 of which were scored by Walker, to take an eight-point advantage at the 14:33 mark. Alabama wouldn’t back down, however, and used a 16-2 run to lead 47-41 minutes later. Kentucky gradually chipped away at its deficit and eventually tied the game with 12.9 seconds remaining, following a pair of free throws from junior Jennifer O’Neill. From there, Simmons dribbled the ball around the perimeter, waiting for the perfect time to make her move. With six seconds left, she drove to the left side of the hoop, used the glass and connected on the final shot.

    Alabama returns home this weekend when it hosts Georgia on Sunday, Jan. 26, at 2 p.m. CT in Foster Auditorium. The game will be broadcast by CSS with Matt Stewart and Joe Ciampi calling the action.

    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.





    Ole Miss Defeats Mississippi State

    OXFORD, Miss. -- A tip-in from Kenyotta Jenkins with a second left on the clock lifted Ole Miss women's basketball over Mississippi State 87-85 in overtime on Thursday (Jan. 23) night. Tia Faleru led the team with 29 points and 15 rebounds as Ole Miss clinched its first SEC win of the season and the Matt Insell Era.

    Playing its first overtime contest of the season and the second in the last four meetings between the teams, Ole Miss (10-10, 1-5 SEC) put the ball in the hands of its upperclassmen. Trailing 85-83 after a Mississippi State (14-6, 1-5 SEC) layup, Faleru scored setting up a Kenyotta Jenkins steal.

    Jenkins dished to McFarland who attacked the rim, but had her shot fall right into the hands of Jenkins for the game-winning tip-in, sealing the victory for the Rebels.

    “It’s an unbelievable feeling to get this “W” said Insell. “Valencia McFarland fought for 45 minutes. Tia Faleru played 44 minutes. They gave everything they had. Tia told me, “Coach, I’m not tired. If we have to go five more, we’ll go five more. We’re going to win this game.” She looked at all her teammates in the huddle, “We’re not giving this game away. Just an unbelievable game.”

    Joining Faleru in double figures was McFarland with 27 points and Shequila Joseph with 15 points.

    In a game that featured 15 ties and six lead changes, the second half was a chess match. Out of the break, the visitors opened with a 12-5 run to take an 11-point lead at the 12:13 mark – the largest lead for either team, but the Rebels battled back.

    With Mississippi State holding a 63-52 lead with 9:22 remaining in regulation, Ole Miss used a 9-2 burst with six points from Faleru and a huge triple from Shequila Joseph to cut the lead down to one possession, 66-63.

    The squads went back-and-forth down the stretch, but a triple from McFarland at the top of the key gave Ole Miss its first lead since the opening minute of play at 76-75 with 2:40 on the game clock. A free throw from State’s Savannah Carter tied the game but neither team could get anything late, forcing the extra period.

    In the extra session there were five ties and two lead changes, but the Rebels capitalized on second chances by scoring three points on additional opportunities including Jenkins game-winning tip-in.

    Statistically speaking the game was evenly played as the home team shot 44.8 percent (30-of-67) to 47.6 percent (30-of-63) for Mississippi State. Despite trailing in the rebounding category in the first half, Ole Miss out-rebounded the Bulldogs, 44-39 and reached double-figures steals with 11.

    Mississippi State took an early seven point lead in the first half, but the Rebels utilized the three-point shooting of Shequila Joseph to get themselves going. Joseph nailed a season-high four first-half triples and led the Rebels with 12 points in the first half.

    Trailing 14-21, Ole Miss went on a 7-0 run sparked by a Joseph triple to tie the game at 21-21 at the 9:09 mark. From that point, the teams battled back and forth with neither team taking more than a five point lead the remainder of the half.

    With the visitors leading 37-33, Ole Miss used four points from Valencia McFarland to tie the game at 37 – the sixth tie of the half- before a bucket from Dominique Dillingham gave the Bulldogs a 41-39 lead at the break.

    The Rebels will stay at home this weekend as they welcome No. 14/15 LSU to the Tad Pad for a televised contest on SEC TV on Sunday (Jan. 26). Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. For ticket information, go to OleMissTix.com or call the Ole Miss Ticket Office at 1-888-REB-TKTS (732-8587).





    Walker Leads No. 15 Aggies to Ninth Straight Win

    COLUMBIA, Mo.--Courtney Walker scored 21 points and grabbed 9 rebounds to lead No. 17 Texas A&M to its ninth straight win, 62-57 over Missouri Thursday night at Mizzou Arena.

    The Aggies remain undefeated in SEC play, and have not lost since Dec. 22.

    The Aggies (16-4, 6-0 SEC) trailed by seven midway through the first half and by two at the break, but outscored the Tigers (13-6, 2-4) in the final frame to nail down the victory.

    Missouri, who ranked second in the nation in 3-pointers made entering the game, hit seven 3-pointers in the first half, closing the period on a 10-2 run to take a 33-31 lead into the break.

    Texas A&M responded quick to their first halftime deficit since Dec. 22, starting the half on a 16-6 run to take a 47-39 lead. The Aggies, showing off their second-ranked 3-point field goal defense, held the Tigers without a 3-pointer for the entire second half.

    Courtney Walker, the reigning SEC Player of the Week, had her third 20+ point outing of the season and scored double figures for the fifth straight game. Walker also had nine rebounds, four of which came on the offensive end.

    Courtney Williams was the only other Aggie in double figures, scoring 14 points.

    The Aggies return home on Sunday, January 26 to host No. 11 Tennessee in a game nationally televised by ESPN2 at 3 p.m.





    Second Half Run Lefts Lady Tigers Past Auburn

    BATON ROUGE – Theresa Plaisance tied a season-high with 19 points and provided a game-leading 11 rebounds to claim her fourth double-double of the season as the No. 15 LSU women’s basketball team used a strong second half effort to collect a 71-60 victory over Auburn Thursday at the Maravich Center. 
     
    In the process, LSU (15-4, 4-2 SEC) picked up its fifth straight victory over Auburn (11-8, 2-4 SEC) and has won 14 of its last 18 decisions in the series dating back to the 2001-02 season. The win also enabled the Lady Tigers to remain in a fourth place tie in the SEC standings. 
     
    “We looked at the fact that we were missing too many paint points (at halftime),” head coach Nikki Caldwell said. “We have to be able to make those shots. That takes a little of the pressure off our guard play. In the second half, it was about us playing defense. We talked about that is the way that you win ball games. You have to eliminate your opponent’s execution on the offensive end, and that’s what we did in the second half.”
     
    For Plaisance, she registered 10 of her 19 points during the second half. The 11 rebounds enabled the New Orleans native to become the 18th player in program history to amass 1,000 points and 500 rebounds during her career. It was Plaisance’s ninth straight game with 10-plus points. 
     
    “To be completely honest, I never thought I would reach this moment,” Plaisance said. “My first year was non-existent. I never saw the court. At that point, my only wish was to see the court, and I had to work to get on the court. I made it through. Luckily, I have great teammates who gave me the ball and had confidence in me to score. Rebounding is all about the will. I have great teammates who box out, and sometimes I just get to clean up the boards. I am shocked to be a part of such a small category of people who came through here. It is quite an honor, and I am blown away. I could not have done it without my teammates and coaches.”
     
    Raigyne Moncrief tallied a SEC season’s best 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting. She ended a stretch of six consecutive games without double figures, and it was her highest scoring output since a 22-point performance against Indiana State on December 3. Moncrief also tacked one four rebounds, two assists and matched a career-high with two blocks. 
     
    Jeanne Kenney tacked on 12 points and six assists, while Shanece McKinney garnered a solid all-around effort with 11 points, five rebounds and equaled a career-best with three blocks. Even though Danielle Ballard didn’t score, she contributed five rebounds and three assists. 
     
    From the bench, Rina Hill added six points on a perfect 3-fof-3 from the floor over her 12 minutes of action. DaShawn Harden came away with three points and three assists whereas Sheila Boykin chipped in two points, three rebounds and a steal. 
     
    “I thought Rina did a nice job of allowing us to play (Jeanne) Kenney and (Danielle) Ballard off the ball,” Caldwell said. “She also did a nice job of knocking down shots for us at critical times. She was very solid on the defensive end. You like to see your bench produce, and Rina did just that tonight.”
    Auburn was fueled by Brandy Montgomery’s 22 points. Their leading scorer, Tyrese Tanner averaging 17.1 points per game, was held to a season’s low eight points. She misfired on 10 of her 13 shot attempts and committed five turnovers. 
     
    As a team, LSU compiled a 26-for-66 shooting clip and hit 13 field goals during each half. The Lady Tigers were 3-for-13 from three-point territory and made 16-of-23 at the foul line. 
     
    Auburn turned in a 24-for-57 effort from the floor but was limited to nine baskets in the second half. The Tigers made 5-of-19 from beyond the three-point line and struggled to a 7-for-19 performance from the charity stripe.    
     
    “It definitely is a game of adjustments, and I thought that our team did a nice job in the second half of adjusting and being more aware – especially of (Brandy) Montgomery,” Caldwell said. “She’s an exceptional player who did a nice job for her team, but I was very proud of the overall defensive effort of our team in the second half.”
     
    After trailing by as many as four points during the first half, LSU took a 37-36 advantage on its first possession of the second half. Ballard found Moncrief for a transition layup. 
     
    With the score knotted at 41-41 at the 15:37 mark, LSU pieced together a 19-4 spurt over the next 8:11. The Lady Tigers turned up the defensive intensity by forcing Auburn into seven turnovers and only one bucket during the run.  
     
    Moncrief ignited a LSU flurry of nine straight points with a jumper which was capped by a Harden triple to make it 50-41 with 10:35 remaining. The Lady Tigers took their largest lead at 60-45 after a Boykin layup off a nice feed from Kenney with 7:03 to go. 
     
    Auburn got as close as 62-56 with 3:46 left on the clock, but LSU responded with another nine-point outburst to get the lead back to 71-56 after a Plaisance jumper with under a minute on the clock.  
     
    LSU travels to Ole Miss for a Sunday matinee. Tip time is scheduled for 1 p.m. from Tad Smith Coliseum. The game will be televised by SEC TV along with www.WatchESPN.com.
     
    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.