|THURSDAY WOMEN'S HOOPS SCHEDULE
|Arkansas 55, Florida 49
|South Carolina 71, Mississippi State 64
|Tennessee 77, Ole Miss 65
|LSU 75, Missouri 58
Razorback WBB Tops Florida 55-49 At Home Thursday
FAYETTEVILLE -- Kelsey Brooks came off the bench to score 15 points and record seven steals, as the University of Arkansas women's basketball team (16-7, 3-7 SEC) got back in the win column with a 55-49 victory over Florida (16-7, 6-4 SEC) at Bud Walton Arena on Thursday night.
The most steals in a single game by a Razorback since Calli Berna had seven takeaways of her own earlier in the season, Brooks came one short of the SEC record for single-game strips and helped the Razorbacks force the Gators into 24 turnovers.
Brooks also reached her highest point total since scoring 13 points back on Dec. 20, 2013, at home against Tennessee Tech.
Fellow freshmen Jessica Jackson and McKenzie Adams also reached double digits, as Jackson finished with 13 points and six rebounds, while Adams contributed 10 points of her own.
Coming off a season-low 32 percent shooting performance at home against Auburn, the Razorbacks appeared much more locked in to start against the Gators. Both Arkansas and Florida came out shooting above 40 percent from the floor, as both teams remained tied 8-8 with 14 minutes to play in the first half. Keira Peak had a game-high six points.
A 9-2 run from the Razorbacks helped them create a 17-13 lead with just under 10 minutes to play in the half. Adams joined in on the scoring and quickly added six points on 3-for-3 shooting, while fellow freshman Brooks came in off the bench and added a 3-pointer. In nine minutes off the bench, Brooks ended the first half with a team-high eight points, three steals and two rebounds.
Florida dominated the paint, outscoring Arkansas 20-to-6 on points in the paint and also out-rebounded the Razorbacks 21-to-12 in the first half.
The Razorbacks opened the second half 0-for-9 from the field and were held scoreless until Brooks finally got an and-1 bucket to go with 14:37 left in the game.
After dealing with foul trouble most of the first half, Jackson began to come to life in the second half and helped the Razorbacks regain their first lead since halftime at 37-36 with 11:20 to play. Playing big inside, Jackson had eight points behind efficient 4-for-5 shooting.
Florida struggled to hang onto both the basketball and its lead in the second half, as an 11-4 push from Arkansas helped them build a 39-36 lead at the under 10-minute mark. The Gators were forced into a total of 19 turnovers, while the Razorbacks had just made nine mistakes.
Brooks continued to find her range from outside and hit another big 3-pointer late, which was then followed by a basket inside from Jackson to give her double digits (10 points) and Arkansas its largest lead of the game at 50-42 with 3:41 to play.
The Razorbacks would hold on to win. Please check back for complete recap to come.
For more information on Arkansas women's basketball, follow @RazorbackWBB on Twitter.
No. 6/7 Gamecocks Outlast Mississippi State 71-64
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- No. 6/7 South Carolina needed clutch baskets late to earn a 71-64 win at Mississippi State Thursday night at Humphrey Coliseum. The Gamecocks (21-2, 9-1 SEC) tied the school record with 14 blocked shots, including a career-high seven from Ibiam that gave her the program’s individual single-season record with 63. Junior forward Aleighsa Welch put the team on her back when needed, finishing with her seventh double-double of the season (18 points, 11 rebounds) and got great support from Asia Dozier and Khadijah Sessions with big baskets late in the game.
The Gamecocks knew they were in battle right from tipoff, and they were hamstrung by a pair of fouls on Tiffany Mitchell before the first media timeout. The rest of the team fought on, though, especially on the defensive end, holding Mississippi State to just 28.1 percent shooting in the opening period.
With the Bulldogs leading 9-6, South Carolina wrested control with a 9-0 run that saw four different Gamecocks score. After grabbing an offensive rebound, Aleighsa Welch got things started with a pair of free throws. Khadijah Sessions snagged a defensive rebound and raced the length of the floor to hit a layup despite being fouled, converting the traditional three-point play. Another Welch free throw made it a 12-9 game with 14:50 left in the half. Alaina Coates reeled in a defensive board on the next possession, and Asia Dozier drained her first 3. Coates picked up the first of her three blocks in the half, then doubled her impact by hitting from the left block to put the Gamecocks up 17-9 with 13:23 to go before halftime.
With Sessions now also on the bench with two fouls, the Gamecock lead hovered around eight points until Breanna Richardson scored on a drive and free throw to get the Bulldogs within 27-20 with 4:33 on the clock. After denying the Gamecocks twice the next time up the floor, Mississippi State corralled the rebound off a pair of missed free throws from Martha Alwal who pulled her team within five at 3:44 with a hook shot.
South Carolina turned a turnover and a defensive rebound from Welch into a 7-0 run over the next two minutes. Welch started it with a three-point play followed by a short jumper from Tina Roy and a transition layup from Tiffany Davis to take a 34-22 lead with 1:47 to go. Mississippi State answered, though, scoring seven straight points of its own as the Gamecocks struggled to find the basket or the rebound in the final stretch of the half.
Leading 34-29 at the half, the Gamecocks saw the Bulldogs continue their run with four straight points out of the break to get within a bucket a 34-32 less than a minute into the second period. Welch again put the team on her back, putting her own miss back for the first South Carolina basket of the half. After getting a stop on the other end, the Gamecocks’ good ball movement got a good look at a 3 for Mitchell to go back up by seven early in the half.
The lead stretched to 12 on a pair of free throws from Mitchell, a tough shot in traffic by Coates and a 3 from Sessions, putting South Carolina up 52-40 with 11:39 to play. The Bulldogs kept on pressing, though, behind a rash of 3s from Jerica James. Dozier held Mississippi State at bay briefly with a 3 from the left corner, but James answered with a deep shot from the left wing. After a pair of Gamecock turnovers, Sherise Williams got open on the left block to make it a one-point game at 55-54 with 6:28 to play.
Dozier again got the Gamecocks back on track. On a baseline out-of-bounds play, Welch found her underneath for a bucket. The defense forced a shot-clock violation on the other end, and Ibiam converted a three-point play to five South Carolina a better margin at 60-54 with 4:57 to go. James’ third 3 of the stretch cut that advantage in half, and the Bulldogs looked for another move after picking up a steal. Welch would not allow it, though, grabbing a defensive rebound to give the Gamecocks the ball back.
Sessions hit a free throw to again make it a four-point game, and Ibiam blocked her seventh shot on the other end as the Gamecocks tried to make a run. Through a sea of defenders, Welch put back her own miss to put her team up 63-57 with 2:56 to play. Alwal hit a jump shot and South Carolina misfired on the other end to set up the Bulldogs again. They fought to take advantage, holding off the Gamecock rebounders for three offensive boards, but still could not convert.
Up by just four with a minute to play, South Carolina found the shot clock running down on its next possession. The ball found Roy at the top of the arc, and the redshirt sophomore drained a 3 to stretch the lead out with 50 seconds to play. The Bulldogs continued to press, but the Gamecocks hit free throws down the stretch to secure the victory.
Sessions and Dozier joined Welch in double figures with 14 and 10 points, respectively, as the Gamecock offense came from unusual sources. Limited by fouls, Mitchell struggled to get her shot going, although two of her seven points came on free throws in the final minute to help seal the win. Roy pulled down a career-high eight rebounds, tied for team-high honors with four assists and joined the block party with two in her solid all-around effort.
The Gamecocks shot 80.7 percent (20-of-23) from the free throw line, including 8-of-9 from Welch. They doubled up the Bulldogs in the paint 32-16 and out-rebounded them 40-31.
South Carolina returns to Colonial Life Arena for a Sunday game against Arkansas. Tipoff is at 2 p.m.
Simmons Wins 100th Game At UT, 77-65
OXFORD, Miss. -- The #8 Lady Vols won their fifth game in a row with a 77-65 victory at Ole Miss on Thursday night. Tennessee improved to 19-4 overall and 8-2 in the SEC.
Tennessee used two 11-0 runs, one in each half, to take control and secure its 26th win in a row in the series. The Lady Vols have won 11 consecutive games at the `Tad Pad.'
Meighan Simmons won her 100th career game as a Lady Vol with the victory. Tennessee is now 100-31 in her 131 career games.
Simmons tallied a team-high 20 points including three consecutive 3-pointers in in the middle of the second half to regain a double-figure lead for the Tennessee. The Lady Vols led by at least 10 points for the remainder of the game.
Isabelle Harrison posted her 11th double-double of the season with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Harrison has scored in double-figures in 17 consecutive games.
Cierra Burdick also added 12 points for her third game in a row in double-figures.
Ole Miss (10-14, 1-9 SEC) was led by Tia Faleru, who had a double-double with 23 points and 11 rebounds.
After being ahead 37-28 at halftime, Tennessee saw its lead sliced to five points early in the second half on two occasions. After regaining a 10-point lead, Tennessee saw its advantage dwindle back to six on a 3-pointers by Gracie Frizzell with 12:18 left in the game, 54-48.
But Simmons, who had a rough shooting night to that point, connected on three trifectas in a row to put the Lady Vols ahead, 63-48 with 9:52 left. Harrison's layup a minute later usher the lead to 17 at 65-48 -- the largest of the night.
In the first half, Tennessee was up three with seven minutes left after a Faleru layup, 24-21. The Lady Vols put together their first 11-0 spurt of the night to take control of the contest. A free throw by Burdick with 2:08 left in the half, but Tennessee up 35-21.
Ole Miss was held without a point for more than five minutes.
Tennessee's bench was superior all night, outscoring the Rebels, 18-2, led by freshman Jordan Reynolds' seven points.
The Lady Vols return to action with their first home game in 10 days as Tennessee hosts in-state foe Vanderbilt on ESPN's Big Monday, Feb. 10 at 9 p.m. The game airs on ESPN2 and can be heard on the Lady Vol Network.
Kulas Drops 23 in 75-58 Setback at No. 16 LSU
Baton Rouge, La. -- Senior Bri Kulas finished with 23 points and five rebounds on the night, marking the tenth time she has scored 20 or more points this season and her eleventh consecutive game scoring in double figures. Despite Kulas' effort, the Tigers could not keep up with No. 16 LSU, falling 75-58 Thursday night. With the loss, Mizzou drops to 14-9 overall and 3-7 in SEC play.
Kulas got an early start to her double-night with 14 first-half points against the Lady Tigers. Despite Kulas' effort, LSU took an early lead in the first half of play, heading into the locker room with a 38-31 lead over Mizzou. The Mizzou Tigers out-rebounded LSU in the first half, and the Tigers assisted on 50-percent of their first-half field goals. LSU shot 44-percent in the first half, committing just two turnovers. Mizzou was able to knock down six first-half treys to LSU's four.
Both teams came out recharged from the break, but Mizzou could not catch the Lady Tigers. Mizzou forced six second-half turnovers, compared to just two before the break. Mizzou did not allow the Lady Tigers a single three-pointer in the second half, but knocked in three of its own thanks to Morgan Eye who finished 2-for-4 from distance in the second half.
The Tigers return home on Sunday to host Alabama for the annual Play 4Kay game. As with all Sunday games, Mizzou invites you to join in on Family Funday with a bounce house and activities on the concourse beginning at 1 p.m. The Tigers will wear pink jerseys and encourage fans to help paint the arena pink as well in support of the Kay Yow Foundation. Admission to the game is $1 for fans who wear pink, and all proceeds will go to benefit Susan G. Komen of Mid-Missouri.
For more news and updates on Mizzou Women's Basketball, check in to MUTigers.com. Fans can also follow the team on Twitter (@MizzouWBB), Instagram (@MizzouWBB) and Facebook (facebook.com/MizzouWBB).