January 27, 2014 10:28:19 AM
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The Alabama women's basketball team used a 19-4 run in the final eight minutes Sunday to beat Georgia 69-66 at Foster Auditorium.
The win snapped a 23-game losing streak against the Lady Bulldogs, which dated back to the 1997-98 season.
"The crowd was absolutely spectacular," Alabama coach Kristy Curry said. "There was just incredible support today, and that was such a big difference-maker for us down the stretch. (We) thank our crowd. They were just absolutely amazing. The character and perseverance of our kids down the stretch was really fueled by the environment. We were very appreciative."
Senior Shafontaye Myers, junior Sharin Rivers, and freshman Ashley Williams each had 16 points to lead Alabama (10-10, 3-4 Southeastern Conference). Williams also had a team-high nine rebounds, while Myers contributed a team-best four assists and two steals.
Georgia (14-6, 2-5 SEC) received 23 points and 10 rebounds from sophomore Shacobia Barbee and 20 points and five assists from senior Khaalidah Miller.
"We've got to change," Georgia coach Andy Landers said. "We've been trying to affect a change for some time, and we're just not getting it done. We have to change the way we approach our preparation for games. We have to change the way that we play. We're a pretty passive Southeastern Conference basketball team. We're not aggressive."
Alabama outrebounded Georgia 34-29 and hit 16 of 19 free throws, including all seven attempts in the second half. Alabama also had 25 points from its bench compared to the Lady Bulldogs' six points, large in part due to Myers.
Georgia opened the game with eight unanswered points and led by as many as 10 early. Alabama chipped away at its deficit and tied the game at the 8-minute, 15-second mark on a 3-pointer by Rivers. The teams traded baskets for the duration of the half before the Crimson Tide took a 30-29 halftime lead.
Georgia used an 18-7 run to take a 47-37 lead a little more than four minutes into the second half. Alabama scored 10 of the next 13 points to cut it to three, but the Lady Bulldogs extended their lead to double digits. Sophomore Khadijah Carter then hit a 3-pointer to spark the game-winning rally.
"There are two things that you can control. Like I always say, it's how you prepare, and how you practice," said Curry, the first-year head coach, whose team beat No. 9 Kentucky on Thursday in Lexington, Ky. "That's what we have to learn how to do. Mental conditioning is an area day in and day out in practice and also how do we handle it. That's something that we have to continue to grow in and put them in a position every day to be challenged in that. Improve that area. Mental conditioning is huge for our team."
n No. 14 LSU 66, Ole Miss 56: At Oxford, Theresa Plaisance had a game-high 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds Sunday to help the Tigers (16-4, 5-2) hold off the Rebels (10-11, 1-6).
Ole Miss cut LSU's lead to 57-56 with less than three minutes remaining, but the Tigers used a late push to win at Tad Smith Coliseum.
Diara Moore had 13 of her team-high 17 points in the second half. Valencia McFarland and Tia Faleru had 12 and 10 points, respectively. Faleru also led the way on the glass with seven rebounds.
"We battled," Ole Miss coach Matt Insell. "We were right on the cusp. LSU has a great basketball team, one of the best teams in this league. We had to rebound really well, and we did for the most part. In the end, we stopped boxing out and that hurt us. Our kids played with a lot of heart and we just came up short against a very good basketball team. It's a process, and we are in every one of them. We put ourselves in a position to win a big game today."
Leading 36-33 at halftime, Ole Miss extended its lead to 41-35 -- its largest lead of the game -- with a layup and a triple from Moore before LSU used a 8-0 run to tie the game. From that point, neither team led by more than five points.
With the game tied at 52, LSU used a 5-0 spurt sparked with a bucket from Plaisance and a 3-pointer from DaShawn Harden to pull ahead, but the Rebels locked in on defense and were able to make some things happen.
Faleru drained a pair from the free throw line and on the next play Gracie Frizzell came up with a steak. After a LSU foul, Moore hit a pair and the LSU lead was cut to 57-56. That was as close as the Rebels would get, as the Tigers sealed the game with a 9-0 run. They went 5 of 6 from the free throw line in the final minute.
Ole Miss will play at 6 p.m. Thursday at No. 10 South Carolina.
n No. 9 Kentucky 68, Arkansas 58: At Lexington, Ky., Jennifer O'Neill scored 21 points to lead Kentucky to a victory over Arkansas.
The Wildcats (16-4, 4-3 Southeastern Conference), coming off a stunning 57-55 loss to Alabama on Thursday, rallied from a 10-point deficit in the second half to hand Arkansas its fourth loss in five games.
O'Neill scored 16 points in the first half to set the tone for the Wildcats. She finished 8 of 12 from the field and made five of Kentucky's nine 3-pointers. Janee Thompson had 13 points for Kentucky and Bria Goss added 10 including a clutch 3-pointer with 2:14 remaining.
Jessica Jackson led the Razorbacks (15-5, 2-5) with 23 points.
Jackson's three-point play and 3-pointer during a 12-3 run to open the second half gave the Razorbacks a 44-34 lead with 17:11 remaining.
n No. 10 South Carolina 61, No. 16 Vanderbilt 57: At Nashville, Tenn., Tiffany Mitchell scored on a driving layup with 50.9 seconds left to lift South Carolina to a win over Vanderbilt for the Gamecocks' best start ever in the Southeastern Conference.
The Gamecocks (18-2, 6-1 SEC) had never started 6-1 since joining the conference and won their second straight by keeping coach Dawn Staley undefeated in her third trip to Memorial Gym.
With the score tied at 55, Mitchell beat the shot clock and then stole the ball and finished off the fast break with another layup with 34.3 seconds to seal the win. Mitchell finished with 14 points. Aleighsa Welch and Elem Ibiam each added 10.
Vanderbilt (16-4, 5-2) saw it's four-game winning streak end as the Commodores missed out on their fourth upset of a ranked team this season.
Christina Foggie finished with 23 points for Vanderbilt.
n No. 11 Tennessee 76, No. 17 Texas A&M 55: At College Station, Texas, Meighan Simmons scored 26 points as Tennessee raced past Texas A&M.
Simmons scored nearly as many points (15) as the Aggies in the first half, as the Lady Vols roared to a 36-20 lead over the first 20 minutes and A&M never threatened after the break. Tennessee, playing without guard Ariel Massengale, snapped A&M's nine-game winning streak in its first visit to College Station. Massengale suffered a face injury in the first half of UT's Thursday victory against Florida.
Simmons was 12 of 19 from the field. Bashaara Graves, Isabelle Harrison, and Andraya Carter each chipped in 10 points for Tennessee (16-4, 5-2 SEC).
Courtney Walker led Texas A&M (16-5, 6-1) with 20 points. Courtney Williams scored 14 points, and Karla Gilbert added 14 points with 11 rebounds for the Aggies.