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    SEC Women's Basketball Recap: Thursday, Jan. 30

    THURSDAY WOMEN'S HOOPS SCHEDULE
    Texas A&M 71, Auburn 54
    Tennessee 70, Arkansas 60
    South Carolina 99, Ole Miss 70
    Florida 75, Alabama 67
    LSU 65, Mississippi State 56
    Missouri 59, Vanderbilt 54
    Georgia 58, Kentucky 56

     

    Aggies Pick Up Road Win Over Auburn

    AUBURN, Ala. -- Texas A&M won for the seventh time in eight SEC games, defeating Auburn 71-54 at Auburn Arena.

    After allowing the first basket, Texas A&M (17-5, 7-1 SEC) scored the game’s next 14 points to take a 14-3 lead over the Tigers. The Aggies would lead 32-16 at halftime, marking the fifth time in eight SEC games the Aggies held their opponent to 20 or fewer points in the first half.

    The Aggies received only a brief scare in the second half, as Auburn (11-10, 2-6 SEC) pulled within seven points with 13:43 remaining. However, A&M then went on an inspired 17-6 run to put the game out of reach of the Tigers.

    Four Aggies reached double figures in scoring, led by Courtney Williams who had 17 points, to reach double figures in scoring for the fifth straight game.

    Karla Gilbert scored 16 points with eight rebounds and three blocks. Her 3 blocks, gives her 42 on the season, which ranks seventh on Texas A&M’s single-season blocks list.

    Tori Scott had 15 points, the second-highest total of her career, and the fourth time she has reached double figures this season.

    Courtney Walker reached double figures for the seventh straight game, scoring 13 points.

    Achiri Ade had 10 rebounds, reaching double figures in rebounds for the fifth time this year.

    Jordan Jones had a career-high six steals and added six assists.

    The Aggies head to Nashville, Tenn., to take on Vanderbilt at 1 p.m. on Sunday, February 2 in a game televised by FSN. A&M returns home to face LSU and BTHO Breast Cancer on Feb. 9 at 1:30 p.m.





    Burdick Paces Lady Vols Past Arkansas 70-60

    KNOXVILLE -- Behind a career-high-tying 16 points by Cierra Burdick, the No. 10 Tennessee women's basketball team used a first half rally to defeat Arkansas 70-60 Thursday at Thompson Boling Arena.

    The Lady Vols rallied from an eight-point deficit with just under six minutes remaining in the first half to enter the break with a two-point lead thanks to a 9-2 run and some hustle play by Burdick.

    Burdick, in addition to her 16 points, took down a team-high seven rebounds and dished out a team-best four assists. The Charlotte, N.C., native finished the night with 7-of-9 shooting, including a perfect 2-of-2 from behind the arc.

    Burdick entered the game with just one three-pointer made on nine attempts this season. She also added two blocked shots, her second multi-block game of the year.

    Tennessee improves to 17-4 and 6-2 in conference play while Arkansas fell to 15-6 and 2-6 in the SEC.

    Also with 16 points on the night, senior Meighan Simmons moved up into eighth place on the UT all-time scoring chart past Sheila Frost (1,790 - 1986-89). Simmons now has 1,799 points in her career.

    After a back-and-forth beginning to the first half, the Lady Vols fell behind by eight points with six minutes remaining, the largest lead of the game for the Razorbacks.

    The Lady Vols did not stop fighting and finished the half on a 9-2 run in the final 4:47 to take a 38-36 lead heading to the locker rooms.

    Burdick was instrumental in the Lady Vols' rally as she blocked a shot, gathered the rebound and threw it in to Andraya Carter while falling out of bounds. Carter pushed the ball up the court, dishing it to Simmons who tallied her seventh and eighth points of the night on a jumper that moved her into eighth place all-time on the UT scoring chart.

    One play later Carter reeled in a rebound and dished it out to Jordan Reynolds who hit a three from the top right corner of the arc sending it through the net to give the Lady Vols their first lead with four seconds remaining in the half since the 14:22 mark.

    The Lady Vols continued to add to their lead in the second half behind 4-of-5 shooting from Burdick and Isabelle Harrison. Harrison finished the night with 12 points, the 19th time this season she has hit the double-digit mark.

    The Lady Vols were once again without Ariel Massengale who suffered an injury vs. Florida (Jan. 23).

    Tennessee returns to action on Sunday, Feb. 2, when they begin a two-game road swing starting at Alabama at 4:30 p.m. on ESPNU.





    No. 7/8 South Carolina Routes Ole Miss 99-70

    COLUMBIA, S.C. -- No. 7/8 South Carolina extended its program-best SEC start to 7-1 with a 99-70 victory over Ole Miss (10-12, 1-7 SEC) Thursday night at Colonial Life Arena. The Gamecocks (19-2) put the contest out of reach with a 19-1 run to end the first half and cruised in the second period with six players scoring in double figures. Freshman center Alaina Coates tied her career high with 24 points and also pulled down 12 rebounds for her seventh double-double of the season.

    "This game is made of runs," South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley said. "Ole Miss has been in almost all its games, so we knew what we were faced with. We knew we were going to be challenged. I think that over 40 minutes, we were able to impose our will on them by getting the ball down low and being efficient on the offensive end."

    With the game tied 4-4, South Carolina looked to take control. After a Tiffany Mitchell drive and bucket, the Gamecocks turned to hustle plays and defense to get going. Steals on two consecutive Rebel possessions, thanks to Mitchell and Aleighsa Welch, turned into Gamecock baskets on the other end. Eight unanswered points in under two minutes drove South Carolina to an early 12-4 lead just five minutes into the game.

    Ole Miss would not go away that quickly and fought back to nearly pull even with a 12-4 run. Kenyotta Jenkinsa and Valencia McFarland keyed the effort, posting four points apiece. A pair of free throws from Amber Singletary cut the lead to one at 25-24 with seven minutes remaining before the break.

    An Elem Ibiam score and a traditional three-point play from Coates got the Gamecocks back on track, igniting the deciding 19-1 run to end the period. During the spurt, South Carolina focused on taking the ball to the basket. The strategy proved effective as the team found points inside and from the free throw line where the Gamecocks made Ole Miss pay, hitting 9-of-9 from the free throw line. Mitchell hit all four of her opportunities during the run.

    During the pivotal stretch, the Gamecocks' stingy defense held Ole Miss to just three points, all from the free throw line, in the last 7:49 of the first half. At the break, South Carolina held a 44-25 lead after holding the Rebels to 27.3 percent from the field.

    It was much of the same for the Gamecocks out of the locker room, Asia Dozier hit a jumper in the lane out of the gate, and Mitchell followed with a 3 on back-to-back possessions, taking the score to 49-27 a minute into the half.

    South Carolina was able to maintain its lead throughout the final period. With Davis' second 3 of the night, the lead reached 31 points at 84-53 with 7:05 left in the game.

    Tina Roy inched the Gamecocks closer to the century mark with 2:36 left at 98-64. The 34-point lead was the largest of the night. LeAnna Morrison split a pair of free throws to make the score 99-68, making it the highest scoring SEC regular-season game in South Carolina history.

    Six Gamecocks reached double figures, combining for 86 of the team's 99 points. In addition to Coates' team-high 24, Mitchell poured in 15, Ibiam contributed 14 and Welch, Khadijah Sessions and Davis added 11 points apiece. The total was a career-high for Davis.

    The Gamecocks made one more free throw than the Rebels attempted, going 32-of-41 from the line compared to Ole Miss' 21-of-31. From the field, South Carolina hit 60.8 percent of its shots, sinking 31-of-51 attempts. Mitchell posted eight of the team's 22 assists.

    South Carolina continues conference play at Colonial Life Arena against Missouri on Sun., Feb. 2, at 3 p.m.





    Carlie Needles Drains Five 3’s in Gator’s Win Over Alabama

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Sophomore Carlie Needles hit five three-pointers and scored a team-high 16 points to lead the Gators to a 75-67 victory over Alabama on Thursday in the O’Connell Center and presented Amanda Butler with the 175th win of her nine-year head coaching career.

    Kayla Lewis contributed 14 points and seven rebounds and Lily Svete and Ronni Williams also had double-figure outings with 14 and 11 points respectively, as every Gator scored to help seal Florida’s second straight victory. Needles’ performance from behind the arc tied a season high, while Svete led the Gators with a career-high seven boards.

    With 15:00 left in the game, the Gators led by eight, and the teams traded layups before a free throw by Lewis gave Florida a nine-point advantage to put the Gators up 50-41 with 13:42 remaining. Over the next 2:31, the Crimson Tide went on a 10-2 run and cut UF’s lead to one point, 52-51.

    Svete had a three-point play – the first of her career - followed by Needles draining her fourth three-pointer before Alabama’s Shafontaye Myers added a layup, and the scoreboard read 58-53 with 7:28 to play. The teams took turns scoring for the next few minutes until Florida scored three consecutive times on free throws by Jaterra Bonds, Needles and Williams to push the lead back to nine, 69-60.

    Needles knocked down her fifth three of the night to give the Gators their largest lead of the game, 72-62, with 3:09 left. With time ticking down, Myers hit her fifth three pointer of the game and Alabama added a pair of free throws, but a layup by January Miller and a free throw by Cassie Peoples sealed the game at 75-67.

    The Gators got on the scoreboard first and started the game with a three-pointer from Needles before the teams began trading baskets, with Florida’s first five baskets scored by five different players. Early in the game, neither team went up by more than three until Antoinette Bannister put in a layup with 11:55 on the clock for a 17-12 Gator lead. During that time span, there were seven lead changes and Alabama gained what would be its final lead of the game, 12-9.

    Florida stayed ahead, and the teams remained within five points of each other until Svete’s layup with 4:29 remaining gave the Gators their largest lead of the half, a seven-point advantage with the score at 32-25.

    Soon after, Alabama tied the score at 32-32 with 1:26 left in the period. Williams answered with a layup, and an Alabama shot-clock violation gave the Gators possession, setting up a Needles’ three to stretch the lead back to 5. Neither team scored again and entered the locker room with the Gators leading 37-32.





    Lady Tigers Rally Past Mississippi St., 65-56

    BATON ROUGE -- The 14th-ranked LSU Lady Tigers won for the fifth time this season when trailing at halftime by using a steady diet of points in the paint to send Mississippi State back to Starkville on the losing end of a 65-56 score in a Southeastern Conference contest Thursday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

    The Lady Tigers improved to 17-4 and 6-2 in the SEC, while Mississippi State fell to 15-7 and 2-6 in the league.

    LSU won the game after trailing at the half, 36-31. In the second half the Lady Tigers repeatedly pounded the ball in the paint, often for easy layups, and by games end had pounded the Bulldogs into submission. Then after pounding it down low Jeanne Kenney hit a three-pointer in which she was fouled which ended up being a four-point play that built LSU to its biggest lead of the night at 12 points.

    The three-pointer was the only one LSU would take in the second half as LSU shot over 65 percent from the floor in the final 20 minutes and took advantage of a 26-8 margin in the paint. For the game, the margin was 38-17 in the paint.

    For the third time this season, LSU had four players in double figures as Shanece McKinney had a career high 19 points, Raigyne Moncrief an SEC high of 17, Kenney had 13 and Theresa Plaisance 12. McKinney had a team-best seven rebounds, while Kenny had seven assists.

    Mississippi State was paced by Katia May who was the only player in double figures with 12.

    In the second half, LSU was 17-of-26 from the floor for 65.4 percent. For the game, the Tigers would shoot over 50 percent, making 25-of-48. LSU, after making 15 first-half turnovers, committed just four in the final 20 minutes. Meanwhile, LSU shot just 34.7 percent for the game and the Bulldogs were the ones that ended up committing 20 turnovers.

    The teams struggled offensively in the first half of play, combining for 15 turnovers in the first eight minutes. LSU was only able to get off five shots in its first 15 possessions but one was a nifty inbounds with one second on the 30-second shot clock to Plaisance who beat the buzzer and laid it in.

    The game was tied four times at 2, 4, 6, and 8 with LSU taking an 11-8 lead on a trey by Kenney on a four-shot possession for LSU. State cut the margin to 11-10. But Plaisance took a pass from Kenney and scored to make it 13-10. Kenney scored on LSU’s next possession to up the margin to 15-10 and a turnover led to an easy Harden bucket that upped LSU’s lead to 17-10 off a 9-2 Lady Tiger run, forcing a timeout by Mississippi State.

    State began chipping away at the lead at the free throw line, getting two by Kendra Grant and three by Savannah Carter to cut the lead to 17-15 and after an exchange of field goals, Grant made one more free toss to cut the lead to 19-18 for LSU with six minutes to go in the half.

    The Lady Tigers continued to turn the ball over and gave Mississippi State a chance to take the lead which it did on a three pointer by May, 21-19, at the 5:13 mark. Carter put in her own trey and extended the lead to 24-19 on the Lady Tigers.

    State’s pressure man-to-man defense was giving LSU all kinds of fits forcing the Lady Tigers to run the shot clock almost all the way down. LSU had 14 turnovers in the first 17 minutes and State posted 11 points off those turnovers.

    LSU finally stopped the 9-0 run on a pair of Moncrief free throws that made it 24-21 State inside of two minutes. But May came down after an LSU miss, faked a three at the top of the key and drove in for a layup that extended the Bulldog lead to 26-21 at the 1:14 mark as Nikki Caldwell elected to take her use it or lose it 30 second timeout.

    The half ended with the Bullldogs up by that five point margin.

    LSU scored on four-of-its-first five shots of the second half to take a 29-28 lead with 17:48 to go in the game. Plaisance and McKinney each had two buckets in the paint in the run. Breanna Richardson got her first bucket to give Mississippi State back the lead on the sixth lead change of the game, 30-29, at the 17:16 mark. McKinney got LSU back the lead on an offensive put back, 33-31.

    LSU then forced a shot clock violation and Moncrief got LSU another layup to put LSU up four, 35-31. But just when LSU looked comfortable, May hit her second three to cut it 35-34.

    In the first 8:44 of the second half, LSU had eight buckets, six of which were layups and had a 37-34 lead. The Lady Tigers also in that period had an 8-1 advantage in points off turnovers and 6-1 in second chance points as they were definitely the more aggressive team coming out of the dressing room.

    Plaisance had a driving layup that made it 39-34 and then LSU forced a backcourt violation and got McKinney scored as LSU suddenly matched its biggest lead of the game at seven points, 41-34.

    LSU continued to bury Mississippi State inside and then Kinney rammed one home from three-point distance that turned into a four-point play with a foul and a 48-36 lead for the Lady Tigers with 8:23 to play.

    Then the buckets came easier for the Lady Tigers as they got two run out layups to keep the margin at 12, 52-40, forcing a State time out at the 6:16 mark. LSU made 13-of-its-first 21 shots in the half.

    But State went on a 7-0 run, highlighted by three pointer by Ketara Chapel, that cut the game to 52-47. The teams exchanged free throws to make it a 54-49 game at the 3:59 mark in favor of the Lady Tigers. LSU continued to get the ball inside and made free throws down the stretch to wrap up the win.

    LSU will travel again on the Sunday playing date this week, traveling to Kentucky to face the No. 13 Lady Kats in an 11 a.m. game that will be televised on Fox Sports Net. The Lady Tigers will return home to face Missouri at the Maravich Center next Thursday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m.

    Follow LSU Lady Tiger basketball on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/LSUwbkb and on Twitter @LSUwbkb.





    Mizou Women's Hoops Upends No. 16 Vandy

    Columbia, Mo. -- Missouri Women's Basketball held off No. 16 Vanderbilt for its 10th home win of the season Thursday, downing the Commodores, 59-54, behind a great effort from its bench players. The Tiger reserves scored 20 of their 30 combined points in the first half, getting contributions from five different players. The Tiger defense held Vanderbilt to 22-percent shooting from the field, despite the Commodores shooting 37-percent or better in all of their previous games. With the victory, Missouri improves to 14-7 overall and 3-5 in the SEC and now has two wins over ranked opponents this season.

    Both of Mizzou's anchors in the paint, senior Bri Kulas and freshman Jordan Frericks, dealt with foul trouble in the first half, forcing head coach Robin Pingeton to turn to her bench for production. With the score knotted at 8-8 just over six minutes into the game, freshman Kayla McDowell subbed into the game and a minute later knocked down her third three-pointer of the season. On the next possession, McDowell willed in a tough layup to push the Tigers lead to five. She finished with 13 points and eight rebounds, her best performance in SEC play.

    At the 6:48 mark, Mizzou's second group still clung to an 18-15 advantage. After a nifty bucket from freshman point guard Lindsey Cunningham and another from Bree Fowler, Maddie Stock buried a contested trey. Three minutes later, Morgan Eye banged in a three-pointer of her own, helping the Tigers finish the half on an 18-5 run.

    Although the Tigers' shots were falling, the run was sparked by their tenacious zone defense. Vanderbilt was held without a field goal in the last 6:48 of the half, shooting just 23.3 percent from the floor and 14.3 percent from three-point range in the first 20 minutes of the game. Missouri owned a 33-20 lead at the halftime break and got 20 points from its reserves in the opening frame.

    Kulas returned to action with a bang to the start the second half, converting an old-fashioned three-point play on Mizzou's first possession. She scored a game-high 15 points. Foul trouble continued to hamper the senior, but the Tiger defense allowed them to maintain a double-digit advantage until Vanderbilt put together an 11-1 run that shrunk the lead to 47-41 lead with 4:58 to play.

    Morgan Stock nailed a clutch three-pointer and Kulas tossed in a tough floater to stop the bleeding. The Commodores managed to clip their deficit to 55-54, but the Tigers clamped down defensively again and got two crucial stops in the final minute to stave off a comeback. Missouri will now head on the road to face No. 7 South Carolina on Sunday. The game tips off at 2 p.m.





    Georgia Edges Kentucky, 58-56

    ATHENS, Ga. -- The cardiac Lady Bulldogs of 2014 used a performance brimming with grit and determination to top the 13th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats 58-56 in a game that went late into the night Thursday in Athens.

    Georgia moves to 16-6 on the season and 3-5 in SEC play while the Wildcats fall to 16-5 and 4-4 in conference.

    Leading the Lady Bulldogs in the scoring column was Merritt Hempe with 15 points. She also collected her first career double-double with a career-high 11 rebounds. Khaalidah Miller, who battled through intense cramps the entire second half, notched 11 points while Krista Donald added 10 points. Shacobia Barbee also grabbed double digit boards as she pulled down 10 rebounds to go along with nine points and game-highs of six assists and four steals.

    The game came down to a dramatic last couple of minutes as Kentucky trimmed a nine-point Georgia lead at the 4:53 mark to just a single point with 25 seconds left. A missed Jennifer O’Neill free-throw followed by a Marjorie Butler make set up the tense final seconds that saw an O’Neill 3-point attempt at the buzzer hit the rim and bounce out to give Georgia the win.

    “It was impressive. I thought that our team played extremely hard, moreover, they played hard and they played well. They were on point defensively and the top of the zone was just terrific, at times amazing,” Georgia head coach Andy Landers said. “They did not break down very often and then the back of the zone just kicked in and played with them and did what they needed to do so defensively we were effective.”

    Georgia came out in the second half trailing 24-23 but immediately set about trying to claw itself into the lead. Even as a Hempe jumper was able to lift the Lady Bulldogs over the Wildcats, Kentucky came right back down the court to reestablish their lead.

    Missed shots continued to prevent Georgia taking advantage of impressive defense and ball movement as the Wildcats were able to stay a whisker in front. Tiaria Griffin’s second deep ball of the game and the return of Miller from her first injury absence sparked the Lady Bulldogs, who trimmed the lead to one point before a Griffin lay-up gave Georgia its first lead of the second stanza.

    Dominant Georgia defense kept the Lady Bulldogs ahead by the thinnest of margins as the Lady Bulldogs prevented the visitors from achieving the kind of dominance in the paint that allowed them to nudge ahead earlier in the game.

    The hosts surged ahead behind a 10-2 run between the 14:22 and 10:08 marks that allowed Georgia to push ahead 42-37. The effort put forth by the Lady Bulldogs was embodied by the teams only senior Miller, who had to be helped off the court for a second time in the evening after a particularly hard foul that saw the Atlanta native land on her back on the court after making an acrobatic lay-up while being fouled. She returned to the floor 1:20 later.

    The suffocating defense the Lady Bulldogs displayed prevented Kentucky being able to set up the shot they wanted as the seconds ticked away before O’Neill’s desperation heave went long.

    Georgia opened up an early five-point lead as Barbee and Miller scored to put the Lady Bulldogs ahead 7-2. Georgia’s defense was a major positive early on as the home team held Kentucky to 1-of-6 shooting before the first media timeout while forcing three early turnovers.

    A Griffin 3-pointer kept the Lady Bulldogs ahead as Kentucky rallied back with 3’s from Harper and Evans. However the offensive production slowed for Georgia as the Wildcats forged in front for the first time. Turnovers continued to hinder the Lady Bulldogs as this combined, with the visitors effective ness driving the basketball saw the Lady Bulldogs fall 19-15 behind at the 8:00 mark.

    Denesha Stallworth hit two free-throws with 20 seconds left in the first half to give the Wildcats the lead at the break.

    Georgia outrebounded the Wildcats 46-39 including limiting them to just seven offensive boards.

    “They rebounded the ball terrifically and had a great defensive effort. The defensive stop isn’t complete until you rebound the ball. Barbee and Hempe were amazing. And on the offensive end, Kentucky did much the same as our defense. We were challenged with their defense” Landers said. “It’s just the nature of the Southeastern Conference. Teams are athletic, they’re well prepared and I thought the difference tonight is what the difference is normally going to be. We found a way to make a couple more plays than Kentucky could make, particularly in transition.”

    Georgia returns to action Sunday as it travels to Starkville, Miss., to face the SEC’s other Bulldogs, Mississppi State, live on CSS with a 3 PM ET tip-off.

    The Lady Bulldogs then welcome Ole Miss to Stegeman Coliseum on Sunday Feb. 9, at 2 PM ET.

    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.