January 3, 2014 11:13:35 AM
OXFORD -- Freshman Shequila Joseph had a career-high 21 points Thursday, but it wasn't enough as the Ole Miss women's basketball team lost to Missouri 85-76 in the Southeastern Conference for both teams at the Tad Smith Coliseum.
After shooting .26.3 percent (10 of 38) in the first half, Ole Miss (9-6, 0-1 SEC) shot 47.1 percent (16 of 34) in the second half. Joseph scored 14 points in the second half, as the Rebels nailed seven of their 11 3-pointers in the final 20 minutes.
Ole Miss whittled a 12-point Missouri lead to four with 2 minutes, 7 seconds remaining behind treys from Joseph and Diara Moore, but the Tigers (12-2, 1-0) responded with a 3-pointer from Maddie Stock. Bri Kulas was 4 of 4 from the free throw line to help Missouri seal the deal.
Valencia McFarland added 14 points and 10 assists for her third double-double of the season, while Moore and Gracie Frizzell added 14 and 10 points, respectively. Joseph, Tia Faleru, and Kenyotta Jenkins led the rebounding efforts with seven each.
"Mizzou made a bunch of threes and shot 62 percent from the 3-point line," Ole Miss coach Matt Insell said. "We didn't do a good job of guarding them and talking defensively. We made a lot of mistakes defensively because we didn't do a good job of communicating. They had wide-open looks, and if you give them wide open looks, they are going to make them."
Missouri shot 62.5 percent (15 of 24) from 3-point range. It was one trey shy of tying the Tad Smith Coliseum record for 3-pointers.
"We had some kids grow up tonight," Insell said. "Shequila Joseph grew up and made some plays. Kenyotta Jenkins battled, and I'm proud of her. We have to get better defensively. There's no need to get down though. You have to have a short-term memory in this league. You have to get ready and bounce back in the next one."
Ole Miss will play at 6 p.m. Thursday (CSS) at Tennessee.
n No. 6 Kentucky 85, Alabama 63: At Tuscaloosa, Ala., Jennifer O'Neill came off the bench to score a team-high 17 points to lead four players in double figures in the Wildcats' victory in the SEC opener for both teams at Foster Auditorium.
With the loss, the Crimson Tide falls to 7-7 and 0-1, while the Wildcats improve to 13-1 and 1-0.
"We are very happy to get a win here today at Alabama," Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell said. "I thought Alabama played tough and put us in some difficult situations where our players really had to hustle. I thought the best thing about today was any time we made a mistake or Alabama was able to make a really good play against us, we bounced back and were able to answer. I thought we played really solid today. I thought we stayed very positive and focused, and that is all we were asking our team to come down here and do. We are thrilled to get this victory."
Alabama's Shafontaye Myers led all players with 20 points. The senior guard was 8-for-18 from the field, including 4-of-9 from 3-point land. For Myers it was her 11th double-digit performance and the fourth time she's scored 20-plus points in a game this season.
Daisha Simmons added 12 points and Ashley Williams had 11 for Alabama, which shot 39.7 percent from the field.
"I was pleased with how our team competed," Alabama coach Kristy Curry said. "The bottom line was Kentucky shot the ball really well, so credit Kentucky. That's why they are number six in the country. They shot it well, especially in the first half. I thought we did a better job in the second half, holding them to 35 points. If we could have done that in the first half, we would have given ourselves a better chance.
Azia Bishop had 16 points, Kastine Evans added 15, and Samarie Walker had 12 points a game-high 13 rebounds for Kentucky, which used a 14-4 run in the first 4 minutes, 5 seconds to take a lead it built to as many as 16 in the first half.
Alabama will play at 2 p.m. Sunday at Texas A&M.
n No. 16 LSU 80, No. 5 Tennessee 77: At Knoxville, Tenn., Danielle Ballard matched a career high with 25 points and LSU held on for the win after squandering most of a 16-point lead in the last four and a half minutes.
LSU (11-2, 1-0) ended a seven-game losing streak in the rivalry and ended the Lady Vols' string of 16 consecutive victories in SEC openers.
Tennessee (11-2, 0-1), which trailed 75-59 with 4 minutes, 37 seconds left, had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds. LSU was clinging to a 78-77 lead when Tennessee's Isabelle Harrison missed the second of two free throws with 15.9 seconds left. After Raigyne Moncrief made two free throws, Andraya Carter missed a 3-pointer in the closing seconds.
n No. 13 South Carolina 55, Arkansas 51: At Fayetteville, Ark., Tiffany Mitchell had 16 points and 11 rebounds to lead South Carolina past previously undefeated, yet unranked Arkansas in their SEC opener.
South Carolina (13-1, 1-0) held the Razorbacks to 16 first half points and led 28-16 at halftime. Arkansas (13-1, 0-1) didn't hit double figures as a team until 12 minutes, 30 seconds into the game.
Both teams have held their opponent point totals to the mid-40s this season while averaging 77 points each offensively. But the Razorbacks slow start hurt them throughout the second half as South Carolina was relentless defensively.
n Vanderbilt 66, No. 19 Georgia 58: At Nashville, Tenn., Jasmine Lister scored 24 points and Vanderbilt's defense stifled Georgia's top scorers.
Christina Foggie added 11 points for the Commodores (12-2), who won their ninth straight. Lister (1,414) and Foggie (1,412) went past the 1,400-point milestone.
Khaalidah Miller scored 16 points to lead Georgia (12-2), and Krista Donald and Erika Ford added 12 each. However, Tiaria Griffin and Shacobia Barbee, who combine for 26.7 points, were held to five points each.
Lister's layup with 6 minutes, 21 seconds left put Vanderbilt up for good at 50-49 and she followed with a 3-pointer. Miller countered with a 3-pointer for the Bulldogs but a Foggie's 3-pointer at 5:07 started a 7-0 surge for a 60-52 lead with 3 minutes, 45 seconds remaining.
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