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    SEC Women's Basketball Recap: Sunday, February 16

    SUNDAY WOMEN'S HOOPS SCHEDULE
    Kentucky 75, Tennessee 71
    Georgia 67, Florida 58
    Texas A&M 71, Alabama 46
    South Carolina 73, LSU 57
    Missouri 68, Auburn 58
    Mississippi State 64, Vanderbilt 62

     

    #18 Kentucky Claws Past #8 Lady Vols, 75-71

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Kentucky won in Knoxville for the first time since 1985 as the #18 Wildcats upset #8 Tennessee, 75-71, before a season-high 15,664 fans at Thompson-Boling Arena. The Lady Vols saw their six-game winning streak come to an end as well as their 16-game home court win streak vs. Kentucky. The Wildcats last won at UT on Jan. 23, 1985. It was just Kentucky's third win in Knoxville in 25 all-time meetings.

    Tennessee is now 20-5 overall and 9-3 in the SEC, falling two games behind first-place South Carolina in a loss column. Kentucky moved to 19-6 overall and 7-5 in the league.

    The game served as UT's annual `Live Pink, Bleed Orange' Game as part of ESPN's basketball showcase for `Play4Kay.'

    Junior Isabelle Harrison posted her 12th double-double of the season with 20 points and 16 rebounds.

    Sophomore Bashaara Graves had her best game since early in the season, as she netted 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

    Meighan Simmons added 13 points for Tennessee, her eighth game in a row in double-figures.

    Kentucky had three players in double-figures led by Jennifer O'Neill, who tallied 24. DeNasha Stallworth had 17 and Janee Thompson added 15. The Wildcats received a strong showing from their bench, led by O'Neill, outscoring Tennessee, 33-10.

    The game featured six ties and nine lead changes.

    Kentucky regained the lead for good on a steal and breakaway layup by O'Neill with 2:23 left in the game. That put the Cats up 70-69. O'Neill knocked down another jumper with 1:39 left as she scored six consecutive points for Kentucky.

    Bria Goss made a free throw with 35 seconds left to put the Cats up by four points, 73-69. Graves quickly answered for Tennessee with a layup with 26.1 left to make it a two-point game.

    After Thompson missed a free throw with 13 seconds left, Harrison grabbed her 16th rebound of the game to set up a possible winning shot.

    After each team called timeout with 5.4 seconds remaining. Tennessee lost possession of the ball and Kastine Evans came away with the ball with four-tenths of a second on the clock. She made both free throws to secure the win for Kentucky.

    Down by as many as eight points in the second half, the Lady Vols clawed back to take a 65-64 lead on a Harrison spinning outback layup with 5:43 left in the game.

    Freshman Jordan Reynolds added a pair of free throws to give the Lady Vols a 67-64 lead, finishing off a 15-4 spurt with 4:30 left.

    For the first 28 minutes, the game was separated by no more than five points. Kentucky took an eight-point lead at 56-48, scoring seven consecutive points on a 3-pointer by O'Neill and a pair of jumpers by Linnae Harper and Stallworth.

    Kentucky outscored the Lady Vols 18-6 during a stretch midway in the second half to take a 60-52 lead with nine minutes left as Bria Goss converted a pair of free throws.

    The first half was within two possessions for the entire 20 minutes as Kentucky led 38-34 at halftime. Harrison led Tennessee with 12 first-point points while Kentucky had a pair of players in double-figures as O'Neill (13) and Thompson (11) topped the Cats' scoring chart.

    Each team held five-point leads for the largest margins of the half.

    Kentucky now trails the all-time series, 49-10.

    Tennessee returns to action on Thursday night as Auburn comes to Thompson-Boling Arena for a 7 p.m., tip-off. That game airs on CSS and can be heard on the Lady Vol Network.





    Barbee Pushes Lady Bulldogs Past Gators

    ATHENS, Ga. -- A 21-point effort from Shacobia Barbee helped push the Lady Bulldogs past Florida 67-58 in Stegeman Coliseum on Sunday afternoon. The win pushes the Lady Bulldogs’ season record to 17-8 and 4-7 in the Southeastern Conference.

    Barbee led all scorers with her 21 points while Erika Ford notched 19 and Khaalidah Miller contributed 14 points. Barbee also led the Lady Bulldogs in the rebounding column with eight boards, it is the third time this season Barbee has led Georgia in both categories.

    Georgia played a solid all-around game as it won the rebounding battle and turnover contest. The Lady Bulldogs move to 15-3 on the season when winning the battle of the boards and 13-4 when forcing more turnovers than the opponent.

    “All of our players played well. The thing I’m particularly pleased with is that we outrebounded them tonight and it wasn’t because of one or two people. Everybody on our basketball team rebounded per minutes played and did a nice job and that was very important,” Georgia head coach Andy Landers said. “The second thing I’m proud of is that we didn’t put them on the line. This is a team that scores and hits 20-plus free throws a game, so we didn’t foul them and put them on the line.”

    Georgia edged a tight nip-and-tuck first period that saw the teams exchanging baskets after the Lady Bulldogs built an early lead courtesy of a Ford layup and Barbee jumper that stretched the Lady Bulldogs’ advantage to five points.

    The Lady Bulldogs were held back offensively by turnovers and offensive fouls as they recorded 10 turnovers in the first period.

    With 5:47 on the clock Georgia stretched its lead to the largest of the first half on Barbee’s second 3-pointer of the half as the score went to 30-23. After Cassie Peoples trimmed the Lady Bulldog lead to four points as she made the front end of a one-and-one, Miller would score five points in the last 1:18 of the half including a 3-pointer at the buzzer to open up a 35-26 lead at the intermission.

    Barbee led the home side in scoring in the first stanza with 12 points while Merritt Hempe controlled the glass for Georgia grabbing five rebounds.

    After quickly building a double-digit lead early in the second period on a Miller jumper and Barbee 3-point effort, Georgia lost the offensive momentum it had gained due to turnovers and going cold from the floor.

    A prolonged stretch that saw the Lady Bulldogs go 0-for-8 shooting allowed the Gators to trim the Georgia advantage from 14 to three points from the 16:58 mark in the second half until 10:22 on the clock.

    Ford snapped Georgia’s cold streak and reinvigorated the Lady Bulldogs as the junior guard scored two quick baskets which sandwiched a score for Hempe and saw Georgia stretch its lead back to double-digits.

    With 6:40 on the clock and Georgia’s lead down to five points Barbee made an acrobatic layup as she fell to the floor. Despite making the basket Barbee had to be helped from the court and wouldn’t return to action until the 3:16 mark.

    After returning to the game Barbee would go on to hit four free throws down the stretch including two with 30 seconds left in the game to ice the contest for the Lady Bulldogs.

    Ford ignited the Georgia offense in the second half as she notched 11 second half points. Ford and Barbee both grabbed four second half boards for the Lady Bulldogs to help seal the home team’s dominance on the glass.

    In association with Play 4Kay, the Lady Bulldogs wore pink uniforms for Sunday's game. The pink jerseys have become something of a good omen for Georgia teams featuring Miller as she will finish her career undefeated when wearing her favorite color. This includes two wins over Florida (2014 & 2013), and wins over Vanderbilt (2012) and Alabama (2011).

    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.





    No. 14 Texas A&M Posts 9th Straight 20-Win Season With 71-46 Win At Alabama

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- No. 14 Texas A&M cruised past Alabama with a 71-46 victory at Foster Auditorium, giving the Aggies their ninth straight 20+ win season.

    A&M has posted 15 20+ win seasons in program history, and A&M head coach Gary Blair has coached teams to 24 20-win seasons in his career.

    The Aggies’ offense was led by Jordan Jones, who dished out 10 assists to reach double figures for the fourth time this season. Jones also moved up to 9th on A&M’s single-season assist list with 167.

    Karla Gilbert continued her recent stretch of strong play, leading the Aggies in scoring, putting in 15 points. Gilbert has reached double figures in scoring in six straight games.

    A&M’s “Courtney’s”, Williams and Walker, each scored 12 points to join Gilbert in double figures.

    The Aggies went on a 17-3 run midway through the first half, which gave the Aggies a 37-22 lead at the break. A&M shot 52.9% in the first half, while holding the Crimson Tide to 29.6% from the field.

    Texas A&M (20-6, 10-2 SEC) dominated the second half, using 53.8% shooting to outscore the Crimson Tide 34-24 in the second half.

    Alabama (11-14, 4-8 SEC) was led by Ashley Williams, who scored 19 points.

    The Aggies take to the floor again on Feb. 20 at Ole Miss before returning home on Feb. 23 to host Kentucky at 1 p.m. on ESPN2.





    No. 5/6 Gamecocks Power Past No. 19/17 LSU

    BATON ROUGE, La. -- No. 5/6 South Carolina rose to every challenge in a 73-57 win at No 19/17 LSU Sunday afternoon with junior Aleighsa Welch and sophomore Tiffany Mitchell pouring in 19 points each to lead the offensive effort. The Gamecocks (23-2, 11-1 SEC) shot 57.9 percent in the second half to hold off the Lady Tigers (18-7, 7-5 SEC), who fought to ride the momentum of their home crowd to get ahead. Each time they drew too close, though, Welch answered, then let her teammates seal the win from the free throw line.

    It took nearly the entire first half for the Gamecocks to get their offense fully unfurled, but they had enough to keep pace until the 3:18 mark. From there, Welch sparked a 13-2 surge to close the half that gave South Carolina an eight-point lead at the break.

    Shooting was a struggle for both teams early as they tested each other’s defenses to see what was available. Welch and Tiffany Mitchell kept the Gamecock offense going early, while Tina Roy stepped up with a big 3 to answer one from LSU, putting the Gamecocks up 12-11 with 12:43 left in the half. The teams traded baskets slowly over the next eight minutes until LSU’s Theresa Plaisance tied it up for the fourth time with a layup with 4:49 on the clock. She added a 3 in secondary transition 38 seconds later to put the Lady Tigers up 22-19.

    As she has done every time the Gamecocks have needed a lift this season, Welch delivered. Elem Ibiam snagged an offensive rebound, and Welch drove the baseline for a bucket to bring South Carolina within one. The Lady Tigers were one and done on the other end as Alaina Coates reeled in one of her four rebounds in the first half and started a break that Mitchell found Welch to finish off and put the Gamecocks back on top 23-22. Another misfire on the other end put South Carolina back on offense, and Welch converted a traditional three-point play to stretch out the advantage.

    On the next trip up the floor, LSU couldn’t connect on a pair of chances, and Roy made them pay with a 3 at the end of the shot clock for a seven-point Gamecock lead with just over 90 seconds to play. Rina Hill hit a pair of free throws, but the Gamecocks finished the half with a 3-pointer from Sessions to take a 32-24 lead into the locker room.

    The Lady Tigers were the early aggressors in the second half, scoring six of the period’s first eight points to draw within 34-30 three minutes in, but the Gamecocks did not panic. LSU drew within two when Jeanne Kenney banked in a 3 from the right wing to make it a 42-40 Gamecock lead with 11:35 to go in the game. South Carolina worked the ball around the perimeter of the zone until Mitchell found a seam to lead Coates to the basket to go back up 44-40. A double-team in the post forced a turnover on the Lady Tigers’ next possession, and Welch converted a pair of free throws to push the lead to six.

    LSU got within two again behind back-to-back jump shots after a Gamecock turnover, but South Carolina’s inside game launched a 9-0 run that re-established a double-digit margin. Coates got it going with a bucket from the left side, then pulled down a defensive rebound to get the Gamecocks right back on offense. Mitchell hit a pair of free throws to make it a six-point game. LSU misfired on its next two possessions, and the Gamecocks cleaned up the defensive glass. Asia Dozier added a free throw, and Coates scored again underneath. After a pair of offensive rebounds, the Lady Tigers had the Gamecock defense scrambling. Quick hands by Roy came up with a steal that eventually led to a pair of free throws from Coates to make it a 55-44 game with 6:42 on the clock.

    Just when it looked like the Lady Tigers had another run in them, Welch squashed it with a steel-eyed jumper from the free throw line to end it. LSU got within seven on a putback from Sheila Boykin, but Mitchell hit a pull-up jumper in traffic at the end of the shot clock to deflate the Lady Tigers. From there, a steady parade to the free throw line delivered the win as the Gamecocks hit 10-of-12 from the stripe in the final three minutes.

    Coates joined Mitchell and Welch in double figures with 13 points, including nine in the second half, while leading the way on the glass with eight rebounds. Mitchell dished out seven assists to go with her 5-of-7 shooting that included 3-of-3 from 3-point range.

    The Gamecocks continue their two-game road swing with a Thursday night tilt at No. 18/18 Kentucky. South Carolina is back at Colonial Life Arena for its final two home games of the season, beginning on Sun., Feb. 23, against Florida.





    Hot Start Leads Tigers to Win over Auburn, 68-58

    Auburn, Ala. -- A hot start helped the Mizzou Tigers earn a 68-58 win over Auburn on Sunday, Feb. 16. The Tigers carried a 42-14 lead into halftime thanks to two Tiger freshmen. Both Sierra Michaelis and Kayla McDowell earned the start and came out with eight and nine first-half points, respectively. With Sunday's win, the Tigers improve to 15-10 overall and 4-8 SEC.

    McDowell finished with 11 points and 9 rebounds, just short of her third-career double-double. Freshman Jordan Frericks also finished strong with eight points and seven rebounds total. Junior Morgan Eye led the Tigers on the game, tallying 21 points on 6-of-10 shooting from distance.

    The Tigers shot a scorching 48-percent from the field in the first half to take a 42-14 lead into the locker room, led by nine points and seven rebounds from freshman Kayla McDowell. McDowell and fellow freshman Sierra Michaelis both earned in the starting lineup on Sunday. The start was the second for McDowell and first Michaelis who put up eight points in the first half, adding three rebounds to her tally.

    The Tigers held Auburn to just 21.4-percent shooting in the first half and 10-percent from distance. Mizzou was able to capitalize on Auburn turnovers in the first half, recording 13 points on 10 AU turnovers. Not only that, but Mizzou outrebounded Auburn 28-10 in the first half.

    Auburn came out ready to fight in the second half going on a 10-0 run, but Mizzou wouldn't let up. The Tigers maintained their lead throughout the half, only allowing Auburn to get within nine points. Mizzou locked down the three-point line, only allowing one Auburn trey in each half. Auburn shot 11.8-percent from distance in the game and 32.3-percent from the field.

    The Tigers will head out for another road contest next Thursday at Florida. The Tigers and Gators tip-off at 6 p.m. in a contest that will air on Florida's Sun Sports.

    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).





    MSU Upsets No. 16 Vandy Behind Alwal’s Last-Second Bucket

    STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Martha Alwal’s layin with 3.3 seconds left lifted the Mississippi State women’s basketball team to its biggest win of the season Sunday afternoon.

    The final shot capped a tremendous contest in the Humphrey Coliseum as MSU upset No. 16 Vanderbilt 64-62 in a regionally-televised Southeastern Conference slugfest.

    “I went up there and tried to be tough,” said Alwal on her game-winning shot. “When it went through, I was happy. I just wanted to take the ball in there and try to score.”

    Alwal tied her conference high with 23 points, including 18 in the second half and 14 of the squad’s final 21 points.

    Decked out in pink as part of the school’s annual Think Pink contest for Breast Cancer Awareness, the Bulldogs treated the coliseum crowd of 2,354 to a dramatic comeback as the Maroon and White clawed back from a seven-point halftime deficit to snap a six-game losing streak to the Commodores.

    MSU claimed a win against a Top 20 team for the second-straight season to improve to 17-9 overall and 4-8 in league play. Vanderbilt fell to 17-8 and 6-6.

    “Super proud of the kids,” MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. “I love how competitive they have become. I love how they fought in the second half. We set the game back 20 years in the first half. In the second half, we threw the first punch and didn’t let up.

    “Martha put us on her back. Jerica James really gave us a lift. She does so many things defensively. Point guard play is a big reason why we have won 17 games. This team beat us by 51 last year, so to come out and compete this way is great.”

    MSU battled through some offensive struggles in the first 20 minutes.

    Vanderbilt quickly built a 15-7 lead eight minutes into the contest. Behind a strong first half from Morgan Batey, the Commodores held the upper hand throughout the first half. The lead grew to 10 at 21-11 with 8:11 left in the opening half.

    The Bulldogs closed within four at 21-17 on a layup by Savannah Carter. However, early foul trouble and 30.4 percent shooting from the field helped place the Bulldogs down 28-21 at halftime.

    “After hearing from our coaches what we needed to do in the second half, we knew we had to go out there and make some changes,” James said. “This team has leadership. When we huddle, we talk about what we need to do and how we should do it. We had leadership not from one person but from several people.

    “All that was on our mind today was winning.”

    MSU turned up the defensive pressure and came out the gates strong to start the second half. The Bulldogs were within one at 33-32 on a Kendra Grant jumper with 15:43 left in the contest.

    The Maroon and White kept plugging away before finally grabbing their first lead at 50-49 on a free throw by Dominique Dillingham with 7:17 left in the contest.

    The lead switched hands a couple of times before MSU seized control for good. The Bulldogs built a four-point lead at 58-54 on two free throws by Breanna Richardson. A steal and layup by Katia May placed MSU on top 60-58.

    Alwal then gave the Bulldogs their final two leads at 62-60 with 1:16 left and more than a minute later hit the game-winner.

    “We forced 26 turnovers so that is 52 points Vanderbilt couldn’t score,” Schaefer said. “Vanderbilt shoots 62 percent from the field in the second half and we outscored them by nine. They are a really good team. They are a team that beat Tennessee. There are some things we don’t well, but we are always going to compete and play hard.”

    For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 22 of 48 shots from the field (45.8 percent), 4 o 13 shots from 3-point range (30.8 percent) and 16 of 20 shots from the foul line (80.0 percent). The Commodores hit 23 of 41 shots from the field (56.1 percent), 4 of 9 shots from 3-point range (44.4 percent) and 12 of 19 shots from the foul line (63.2 percent).

    Vanderbilt held a 32-18 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 19 assists and 18 turnovers, while the Commodores had 16 assists and 26 turnovers.

    Alwal added a team-high six rebounds to go with her 23 points. Richardson added 16 points, and May contributed six assists and a pair of steals.

    Vanderbilt received a double-double from Batey (13 points, 11 rebounds). Christina Foggie led the Commodores with 15 points, four points below her average, while Jasmine Lister also had 13 points.

    MSU returns to the road Thursday for a 7 p.m. contest at Alabama.