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Saturday, July 20, 2019

SECrets: LSU Blasts Open Conference Race, Handing Kentucky Its First SEC Loss

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Photo Caption: Louisiana State’s Adrienne Webb lets loose as the clock runs down on the Lady Tigers’ 61-51 upset of No. 6/5-ranked Kentucky on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, in Baton Rouge, Louis. Webb’s 19 points, 16 of them in the hotly contested second half, led the way for LSU. Kentucky (21-3, 10-1), which remains in sole possession of first-place in the Southeastern Conference regular-season race, had been previously unbeaten in league play. The victory snapped a five-game conference losing streak for LSU (15-8, 5-5).

Photo Credit: Courtesy LSU Athletics Media Relations/Chris Parent, Student Photographer

By Mike Siroky

The Southeastern Conference race is suddenly interesting again.

LSU, struggling through a five-game conference slump and given up for lost after its senior leader and point guard saw her career ended with a blown knee in mid-January, rose to a challenge and upended visiting Kentucky, 61-51, on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, in Baton Rouge.

For the Wildcats, ranked at No. 6/5 in the major national polls, it was their first conference loss of the season. And the boom of that upset not only served as a wake-up call for the ‘Cats, but rolled through the league with its repercussions for what had of late been perceived as an all but sewn up regular-season SEC title race.

Just two days ago, Kentucky, an unbeaten 10-0 in conference play, was safely ensconced in first place with a seemingly insurmountable two-game lead over its closest competitor, Tennessee, then 7-2. Having already plowed their way through the toughest portion of their schedule, the Wildcats appeared to have only one serious challenge ahead of them—next week’s rematch with the Lady Vols in Knoxville, a team Kentucky had already beaten once this season, albeit by the closest of margins, at home in Lexington, Ky.

At that time, the worst case scenario, should Kentucky have lost to Tennessee this time around, would still have left the Wildcats safely in line for the regular-season SEC crown, at least one game up on everybody else.

Today, with Kentucky now 21-3 overall and 10-1 in conference, and holding only a one-game edge over Tennessee, which is 17-6 overall, 8-2 in conference after defeating Auburn, 82-61, on Sunday, means a loss to the Lady Vols would result in a tie between the two for the regular-season conference title.

Or perhaps even worse. The news flash the the Wildcats are no longer invincible—that, in fact, they can be and were beaten by a team that is only 5-5 in conference play—has got to be raising hopes not only in Knoxville, but on the other campuses remaining on Kentucky’s dance card as well. A resurgent South Carolina squad is just two games back in third place in the conference race after knocking off the Vols a week ago. Having fallen to the ‘Cats by just eight points in Lexington in their first meeting of the season, the Gamecocks can easily envision a different outcome when the two teams collide for the second time in Columbia 10 days from now.

It would take a whole lot of serendipity for Vanderbilt, tied with Arkansas, and behind Georgia, in fifth place at 6-4 in conference play, to catapult into title contention, but stranger things have happened. And even ninth-place Mississippi State (3-7) or lowly Alabama (0-10), still looking for its first conference win, could play the spoiler for the benefit of others.

Kentucky has a whole week off to prepare for Tennessee, and you’d better believe they’ll be making the most of that time. For the Wildcats—as well as the other SEC frontrunners—every game once again counts.

Kentucky coach Matt Mitchell was not understated in his assessment of his team’s failure.

“I need to examine how I try to prepare the team,” Mitchell said. “I try to instill confidence in them, and maybe I instilled overconfidence.

“We got outplayed, out-coached, in every way that you could be,” Mitchell said. “They [LSU] don’t have a real true point guard against what is supposed to be a good defense, and they just had their way with us today.”

LSU is merely 5-5 (15-8 overall) in the league now. The Tigers had lost five of their last six, the lone win coming, by the narrowest of margins (71-68, OT), in overtime against a nonconference opponent, East Tennessee State, that had won only five games all season. But in addition to reviving LSU’s postseason hopes, the Tigers showed, by snaking UK’s school-record 13-game conference winning streak stretching back to last season, why this is the best conference in America—one in which no opponent can safely be taken for granted.

Remarkably, LSU grabbed its first win over a top-five opponent since the Tigers’ Final Four run in 2008, despite being significantly understrength. In addition to the loss of starting point guard Destini Hughes, who saw her senior season ended prematurely when she tore ligaments and the meniscus in her right knee in the first half of LSU’s Jan. 19 loss to Tennessee, the Tigers were without the services of freshman forward Krystal Forthan, a McDonald’s All American, who sprained her ankle in practice Saturday, as well as junior guard Bianca Lutley, who was reportedly benched for an unspecified violation of team rules.

Sometimes it’s not a bad thing to come into a game as the underdog, however.

“We played with attitude like we had nothing to lose,” said LSU’s LaSondra Barrett, who scored all of her 12 points in the second half. “We feed off each other. It’s contagious.”

Barrett Drives
Photo Caption: LSU senior forward LaSondra Barrett came off the bench for 12 points, all of them in the second half and six of them from the foul line where Barrett went a perfect six-for-six, in Sunday’s 61-51 upset of No. 6/5 Kentucky. (File Photo)
Photo Credit: Courtesy LSU Athletics Department

LSU’s game plan was simple enough on paper, though so difficult to execute that no other SEC team had managed to pull it off:

“We really talked about slowing the game down,” said first-year Tigers Coach Nikki Caldwell, a former Tennessee All American. “It was a motion offense and go into a stall, make the defender a little more antsy.

“It started with us breaking the press and staying strong with the basketball,” Caldwell continued. “I wanted this team to understand the pressure that they were going to first receive from Kentucky in their full-court man-to-man run and jump. We really worked a lot on poise with Jeanne (Kenney) and LaSondra (Barrett) obviously having a lot of poise at the point and not rushing us into our offense.

“When you get past half court and break the pressure you have a tendency to still play at that tempo. We really talked about slowing the basketball down and getting into our offense and really looked to put the ball inside and work our high-low action because we felt like we had a height advantage. Our way of combating [Kentucky’s] quickness was to use our physical presence. I felt like our team did that.”

They did that and then some. Before an enthusiastic home crowd of 5,114 fans, induced to forgo their Super Bowl pregame parties by the offer of $1 tickets, LSU established the tempo it wanted from the outset, taking a 6-0 advantage in the game’s first two minutes and change and holding onto the lead for all but a few seconds of the game. Just when the Mildcats cut it to 48-45 with 3:52 to go, LSU’s Taylor Turnbow dropped in a layup to ignite an 8-0 Tiger run which she completed with two free throws.

LSU’s control of the pace is reflected in the two teams’ shot records. Kentucky’s hurried tempo, which became progressively more frenzied as the game wore on with the Tigers in the lead, is reflected in the 29 shots they took in the first half, and the 31 they took in the second. The Wildcats connected on a total of 21 of those 60 attempts for a 35-percent field-goal percentage (including an abysmal 22.2 percent from the arc, where the ‘Cats were four-for-18).

Meanwhile, LSU executed its game plan of slowing things down, looking for its shots. They exactly half as many shots from the field as Kentucky—14 shots in the opening period, 16 in the second—and knocked down a sizzling 56.7 percent of them (17-30), including two-of-three (67.7 percent) from downtown.

The Tigers also did a great job of putting the Wildcats in foul trouble, getting to the foul line early and often, and taking advantage of it when they got there.

Kentucky got to the charity stripe just 11 times in the entire game. They did a pathetic job at the line, knocking down just 45.5 percent of their free-throws for a total of five points.

Meanwhile, the Tigers paid 31 visits to the line, where they connected on an impressive 80.6 percent of their attempts, collecting 25 points—substantially more than the margin of victory—in the process.

“We did a great job of capitalizing at the free-throw line,” said Caldwell. “I was proud of the group for shooting 80 percent from the line. Had we not made those free-throw shots the game could have easily gone the other way.”

No kidding, Coach!

Meanwhile, the Tigers were once again playing LSU defense. The Tigers blocked seven shots, with Shanece McKinney swatting three, and forced 16 turnovers. LSU held Kentucky, the SEC’s top offensive team with an average of 77.2 points per game, to a season-low 51 points in this outing. LSU led, 20-18, at the half, and those 18 points represented Kentucky’s lowest first-half scoring output in more than two years, since the ‘Cats posted 16 in the first half against Wisconsin in the WNIT on March 22, 2009.

“Playing a Top 5 team and holding them to 51 points is really big,” said LSU’s Adrienne Webb, who led the Tigers with 19 points, 16 of them in the second half. “It motivates us to push harder in practice, to push harder and finish out the year strong.”

One point of emphasis for the Tigers on defense was to hold the line on Kentucky’s best, A’dia Mathies, who averages a team-best 15.1 points per game and can readily explode for 20 points or more.

“I thought this group really played tough as far as guarding their perimeter play,” said Caldwell. “We really tried to disrupt (A’dia) Mathies and know where she was at all times and we did a good job at that. It started with our first five. I thought they set the tone right out of the gate for how we were going to play for 40 minutes and we didn’t let up.”

Mission accomplished. Though still putting up the team-high, Mathies scored just 12 points, all of them in the second half.

Another key element of the game plan: Turnovers. Kentucky has forced double-digit miscues by its opponents in 106 consecutive games, and is forcing an SEC-high 29.17 turnovers per game this season.

There was little doubt that the Wildcats were going to generate LSU turnovers (they did—26 of them, to be exact, to just 16 of their own). The point was to be sure that the Tigers got back on defense and prevented the ‘Cats from taking advantage of them.

“We talk about when you turn it over you can’t allow them to score the next basket,” Caldwell explained. “We have to cancel out that turnover and the way you do that is through your defense.”

Sophomore point Jeanne Kenney, returning to action after suffering a concussion against Tennessee in mid-January, picked up the thread.

“We had this talk and it was very difficult for Coach Nikki to say this but there is a ‘good turnover’ and there is a ‘bad turnover.’ A ‘good turnover’ is when it is a dead-ball situation and they have no hope of coming in transition and they end up throwing the ball out of bounds. Even though I had a couple turnovers [actually, Kenney coughed the ball up eight times, accounting for nearly a third of LSU’s turnovers], they were ‘good turnovers.’”

The Tigers got the job done here as well. Kentucky garnered only 19 points off LSU’s 26 turnovers, while LSU reaped 11 points from the Wildcats’ 16 ball-handling errors.

“It is on us to convert on those turnovers,” acknowledged Kentucky’s Mathies. “We didn’t do a good job of turning those turnovers into points. We can turn them over, but if you’re not scoring, it’s pointless to get turnovers.”

Combined with LSU’s dominance of the boards—the Tigers used their height advantage to out-rebound Kentucky, 33-26, resulting in just five second-chance points (to six for LSU) for the Wildcats all afternoon, the Kentucky’s inability to profit off the turnovers it created, also meant the quick-paced Wildcat offense was never able to get its fast-break game in gear. The ‘Cats snatched only two fast-break points all day.

Obviously, this is the biggest coaching win to date for Caldwell, who shared in some big victories, both as a All-American player and later as an assistant coach, in her days at Tennessee.

But as good coaches do, Caldwell gave the credit to her players.

“This is obviously a great win for the program,” she stated. “I can’t tell you how proud I am of this group for playing a very discipline game. We stayed true to the game plan and everyone contributed in some way. We were again hit with adversity but this team has a fight in them, a never give up attitude. I felt like that was the reason we were successful tonight.”

The Tigers close out a three-game homestand against Mississippi State on Thursday, before returning to the road to take on Alabama on Sunday. Both are eminently winnable games for a team now looking to revive their postseason hopes.

As previously noted, next up for Kentucky is what may now very well be a winner-take-all title rematch with Tennessee, in Knoxville, a week from today.

Summing Up Last Weekend’s SEC Results: Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012

  • No. 6/5 Kentucky 51 @ LSU 61
  • Auburn 61 @ No. 8 Tennessee 82
  • No. 21/20 Georgia 81 @ Alabama 66
  • Ole Miss 55 @ Florida 84
  • Vanderbilt 65 @ Mississippi State 59

Looking Back at Last Weekend’s SEC Highlights: Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012

  • Auburn 61 @ No. 8 Tennessee 82

    Meanwhile, Tennessee bounced back from a rare SEC loss at home to South Carolina on Thursday, previous game, trouncing visiting Auburn, 82-61, Sunday, despite some bad recruiting news. Tennessee’s defensive lapses had been exposed in the South Carolina upset, when the Lady Vols let a seven-point lead slip away and could not handle the opposing guards.

    Auburn is not South Carolina, but the point was made. The Tennessee coaches went back to fundamentals and unleashed a withering defensive mindset on a second-tier team.

    In this game, that worked.

    “Actually, after the game the kids said, ‘That was actually fun,’” said Tennessee game coach Holly Warlick. “When they think it’s fun, we’re going to do it more often, but they’ve got to buy into it.

    “We got success, and when you have success with something you do, it seems to give you more energy.”

    Auburn coughed 23 turnovers that led directly to 21 Tennessee points.

    Tennessee senior leader Glory Johnson had spent much of the South Carolina loss in foul trouble. So she worked inside this time, for 14 points and 11 rebounds.

    “We like that style,” Johnson said. “It’s a lot of hard work. You can see when everyone gets tired, but we talk to each other. We know that it shakes the other team, especially with our presence on the full court. It makes them change their offense, and we like that.”

    Ariel Massengale also scored 14, Meighan Simmons added 13, and Shekinna Stricklen notched 11 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double.

    “We play good for about 34 minutes and then kind of break down,” Auburn coach Nell Fortner said. “It was an eight-point game with 6:51 left, and I think we only had eight turnovers in the half at that time, and it just kind of fell apart on us.”

    Camille Glymph scored 13 to lead Auburn, which outrebounded Tennessee 42-39.

    Tennessee renews its in-state rivalry at Vanderbilt on Thursday.

    Now for the recruiting wobble: 6-2 Kaela Davis of Buford, Ga., is next year’s No. 1 signee. A teammate has already signed with Tennessee. It was not a package deal.

    As a 2013 incoming player, a parent must sign off on an early letter of intent. Evidently, mom is not willing to take that step just yet.

    In a well-traveled quote, Kaela’s mom said this is not a decommitment as much as exploring other options. Which is to underline Tennessee has not lost the Davis verbal commitment, but neither has it locked it up.

    Davis’s mom said the family concern relates to what every other coach is telling recruits: Summitt will likely not be there for all four years of the player’s college life. The situation will impact the other players recruited to play with her.

    Before this season began, the Davis family had evaluated what impact Summitt’s announcement of her diagnosis early-onset dementia, Alzheimer’s-type, would have on Davis’s future. Then, they said it made little difference. Now, as the season has progressed, it appears that assessment changed.

  • No. 21/20 Georgia 81 @ Alabama 66

    Georgia, currently situated in fourth place in the SEC, just three games back, moved to 18 overall wins (second-best in the league), picking up its latest “W” at Alabama, 81-66, and leaving the Tide still winless in conference at 0-10 and underwater, at four games below the .500 mark overall (10-14).

    Jasmine James and Krista Donald each scored 18. The big impact was James’s return after almost a month out from injuries. James came off the bench when Meredith Mitchell bonked her head and had a knot swell up.

    “Obviously tonight was bittersweet and it’s a little bit frustrating to me as a coach because tonight was a night when we were going to have everybody healthy and get this season moving in the direction that we wanted to move it in,” said Georgia coach Andy Landers.

    “Then, two minutes into the game, Meredith is out and a very important player to us isn’t healthy anymore,” Landers continued. “That’s disappointing; of course, it was an accident and it’s not anybody’s fault. As a result of Meredith being out, we were playing people at different positions and J.J. [James] was trying to knock some of the cobwebs off.”

    Khaalidah Miller put up 14 points and pulled down four rebounds for the Lady Dawgs. Anne Marie Armstrong tallied 13 points, five rebounds and four assists. Jasmine Hassell added 10 points plus four rebounds.

    Shafintaye Myers and Meghan Perkins each scored 16 for Alabama.

    Georgia has Thursday off before hosting Vanderbilt on Sunday. The Tide take on Ole Miss on Thursday in a battle of the SEC cellar-dwellers, then play the foil to LSU this weekend.

  • Ole Miss 55 @ Florida 84

    Florida pulled itself even at 5-5 in conference play (15-8 overall), rolling over a second-tier SEC team, Ole Miss, 84-55, on Sunday.

    It was the first home appearance in 17 days for the Gators, and it was a celebration all the way. Florida wore special pink uniforms to commemorate breast cancer awareness and it was alumnae day on campus. Nonetheless, the Gators drew a meager 920.

    “It’s fantastic to be playing back at home and be so convincingly victorious in front of a great crowd and in front of so many people that are proud of being Gators,” Florida coach Amanda Butler.

    The Gators’ point guard Lanita Bartley, a senior, scored a game-high 17 and grabbed a career-tying 10 rebounds for her first-ever double-double.

    Florida’s 84 points were its most this season in league play and the 29-point win was the program’s biggest victory margin in a decade.

    Florida scored 18 second-chance points as it out-rebounded Ole Miss, 46-38.

    With the loss, the Rebels fell to 2-9 in the SEC and 12-12, saved from the ignominy of last place only by the foibles of Alabama, which is still looking for its first conference win.

    The Crimson Tide might just find it when they visit Oxford, Miss., on Thursday, but it seems more likely that Ole Miss will notch its third “W” of the conference season.

    Florida is at home for Auburn on Thursday, then takes to the road against third-place South Carolina this weekend.

  • Vanderbilt 65 @ Mississippi State 59

    Vanderbilt also got to 18 wins Sunday, at lowly Mississippi State, whom the Commodores beat by just six points, 65-59.

    For the fourth time in the past five outings, a different Vandy player breached the 20-point mark on the scoreboard.  This time, it was center Stephanie Holzer’s turn to shine with 21 points and 13 rebounds. Holzer, a redshirt sophomore, was an impressive nine-of-11 from the field, and three-of-three from the line.

    But with Diamber Johnson putting up 17 and Catina Bett adding 16 to lead State, it was Vanderbilt’s sophomore guards who made the difference. Christina Foggie contributed 17 points and Jasmine Lister scored eight and matched a career-high nine assists for Vanderbilt.

    Vanderbilt squandered a 13-point first half lead, to head into the break up by just three, 29-26, despite 11 first-half points and seven boards from Holzer. The ‘Dores seemed utterly unprepared for the tenacious defense of the Lady Bulldogs, who forced 14 Vandy turnovers, which MSU converted into 11 points, in the opening frame alone.

    Vanderbilt head coach Melanie Balcomb must have pulled out the sticky tape in the locker room, because her team took much better care of the basketball in the second half, turning it over only five more times, for five MSU points off turnovers, the rest of the way. Indeed, the Commodores seemed to take a lesson from the Bulldogs’ book—though Mississippi State also limited their turnovers to just five in the period (13 in the game as a whole), Vandy collected 11 points from those second-half miscues.

    Nonetheless, the Bulldogs hung tough, rattling off short bursts of scoring each time the Commodores threatened to build some separation. An 6-0 MSU run roughly five minutes into the second stanza produced a 40-40 tie, and the Bulldogs would tie things up three more times in the period. The score was once again knotted at 54 apiece and just over four minutes to play when Vandy launched its final push down the stretch, an 11-5 run powered by five points—including one of the ‘Dores two three-pointers (in 14 attempts) on the day from Lister, who also had a steal and an assist in that crucial span.

    In the end, the Commodores were able to compensate for their first-half case of the butterfingers with otherwise sound ball movement, with 21 assists feeding their 27 buckets. They out-rebounded MSU 45-34 and shot the ball better than the Bulldogs from the field—netting 27 of their 57 (47.4 percent) field-goal attempts, to MSU’s 37.1 percent (26-70) field-goal shooting—although not from the arc, where the ‘Dores hit just two of their 14 three-point shots (14.3 percent) to the Bulldogs’ four-of-13 (30.8 percent) three-point shooting. And they gathered just enough points at the charity stripe—nine in 12 visits to the line (75 percent), as compared to MSU’s three points in seven free-throw attempts (42.9 percent)—to account for the margin of victory.

    Despite having battled Vanderbilt much more closely than many expected, MSU head coach Sharon Fanning-Otis seemed frustrated by her team’s collapse down the stretch.

    “When the game is on the line, the question is how do you respond?” said Fanning-Otis. “We had too many empty possessions both offensively and defensively when the game was in doubt. Right now, we are not tough enough to make basketball plays down the stretch to win games.”

    With the win, the Commodores, who have seen their ups and downs this season, improve to 6-4 in conference play, 18-5 overall. The ‘Dores will have to improve their performance considerably, however, if they hope to keep their four-game winning streak alive when they host Tennessee on Thursday.

    Meanwhile, Mississippi State drops to 13-10, and 3-7 in the SEC. The Bulldogs will hope to snap a four-game losing streak as they head to Baton Rouge to take on LSU on Thursday.

Current SEC Standings

SEC Women’s Basketball Standings
(As of Feb. 6, 2012)
Rank School Conf. Pct. Overall Pct.
1 Kentucky 10-1 .909 21-3 .873
2 Tennessee 8-2 .800 17-6 .739
3 South Carolina 7-3 .700 18-5 .783
4 Georgia 7-4 .636 18-6 .750
5 Arkansas 6-4 .600 17-5 .773
6 Vanderbilt 6-4 .600 18-5 .783
7(tie) Florida 5-5 .500 15-8 .652
7 (tie) LSU 5-5 .500 15-8 .652
9 Mississippi State 3-7 .300 13-10 .565
10 Auburn 3-8 .273 11-15 .458
11 Ole Miss 2-9 .182 12-12 .500
12 Alabama 0-10 .000 10-14 .416
Source: secdigitalnetwork.com

Coming Up Midweek

  • Mississippi State @ LSU

    Was Sunday’s upset of Tennessee a one-time fluke or the first step in a return to greatness for LSU? The proof will be there for all to see on Thursday, as the Tigers host Mississippi State, a team that has fared poorly in league play but displays a good deal of grit and determination as they showed in battling Vanderbilt down to the wire last weekend. The Lady Bulldogs kept it close against LSU as well, before falling at home by five, 48-53, in the season’s first meeting between these two defense-oriented programs.

    When: Thursday, Feb. 9, 2010, 7:00 p.m. EST/6:00 p.m. CST, Maravich Center, Baton Rouge, Louis. (CST)

  • Auburn @ Florida

    Though Alabama owns the league’s worst record, Auburn actually has the SEC’s least productive offense, grinding out just 59.3 points per game. That’s apt to be a significant problem when the Tigers head to Florida which puts up 68.2 points per game on average. The two teams, which will be meeting for the first time of the season Thursday, both rank in the middle of the SEC pack on defense, with Auburn allowing its opponents 58.8 points per game, and Florida giving up 59.3.

    When: Thursday, Feb. 9, 2010, 7:00 p.m. EST, O’ Connell Center, Gainesville, Fla. (FSFL/SUN, ESPN3)

  • South Carolina @ Arkansas

    This week’s best midweek SEC match-up features two-well-rested hot teams, South Carolina at Arkansas, on Thursday. Too bad it won’t be carried on national TV.

    The Gamecocks currently hold down third place in the SEC rankings at 7-3 in conference action, 18-5 overall. They will carrying a four-game win streak into Thursday’s contest, including most recently, their confidence-boosting upset of No. 8 Tennessee on the road.

    But the Razorbacks, who have put together a program-record six consecutive conference wins in recent weeks, should have plenty of confidence as well. Arkansas, which has moved into fifth place in the SEC standings after overcoming a dreadful 0-4 start in league play, is actually just one game behind South Carolina, at 6-4 in conference and 17-5 overall. A win Thursday would put the two teams in a tie.

    And one more thing Dawn Staley and her staff are considering as they prepare to hit the road: Arkansas has proven very hard to beat at home, having dropped just one game on its home floor all season.

    When: Thursday, Feb. 9, 2010, 8:00 p.m. EST/7:00 p.m. CST, Bud Walton Arena, Fayetteville, Ark.

  • Alabama @ Ole Miss

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is a game that only the players’ mothers could love. Will the Tide pick up their first SEC win of the season? Will the Rebels get their third? It matters very little now with both teams firmly planted in the league’s basement, any hopes for a postseason all but dead with just five games left to play in the conference season.

    Give what small advantage there may be to Ole Miss, which not only hosts the contest, but returns to Tad Smith Arena after a prolonged (three of the last four games) stint on the road and owns the better record (2-7 in conference play, 12-12 overall). The Rebels carry a six-game losing streak into Thursday’s meeting, as compared to Alabama’s 10-game death spiral, which has led to a league-worst 0-10 conference record, and an underwater 10-14 tally overall.

    When: Thursday, Feb. 9, 2010, 8:00 p.m. EST/7:00 p.m. CST, Tad Smith Coliseum, Oxford, Miss.

  • No. 8 Tennessee @ Vanderbilt

    Could this be our midweek upset? Not likely, since Vandy has already lost once to the Vols, by double digits (64-87) in Knoxville in mid-January. But then again, back then the Lady Vols looked a lot stronger, defeated only once, at Kentucky in conference play and regularly doling out beat-downs to any team not in the Top Ten by margins of 20 points or more.

    And back then, Vanderbilt was in a slump, the beginning of a three-game slide, from which it has recently emerged to win its last four games in a row, including a 20-point rout of nationally ranked Georgia.

    But then again, if Vandy plays as poorly as they did their last time out at 11-15, 3-8 Auburn, how will they stand a chance against the better seasoned—make that just plain better—Lady Vols. They’ll be lucky to escape with the scrambled eggs still attached to their Commodore uniforms.

    But then again, if Tennessee plays as poorly as it did a week ago in its four-point loss in regulation to South Carolina (60-64), a team Vandy at least took to overtime before losing by just five points (60-65, OT), Thursday’s match-up could be closer than anyone expects.

    But then, again .... You get the point. Though Tennessee is the heavy favorite, we’ve just experienced two objects lessons in the past week to the effect that “anything can happen in the SEC.”

    When: Thursday, Feb. 9, 2010, 9:00 p.m. EST/8:00 p.m. CST, Memorial Gymnasium, Nashville, Tenn. (CSS, ESPN3)



Originally published Mon, February 06, 2012

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Week: February 7, 2012
1 Baylor (31) 24-0 1 1 1 775
2 Notre Dame 23-1 2 2 2 743
3 Connecticut 21-2 3 4 3 710
4 Stanford 20-1 4 5 4 685
5 Duke 19-3 6 8 5 650
6 Miami (FL) 20-3 7 7 6 604
7 Kentucky 21-3 5 15 7 584
8 Maryland 20-3 10 10 8 534
9 Wisconsin-Green Bay 20-0 9 24 9 530
10 Ohio State 21-2 11 NR-RV
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11 Tennessee 17-6 8 3 11 476
12 Delaware 20-1 13 NR 12 434
13 Georgetown 18-5 15 11 14 379
14 Texas A&M 16-5 16 6 15 378
15 Nebraska 19-3 18 NR 13 309
16 Rutgers 17-4 14 12 17 372
17 Louisville 17-6 12 9 20 276
18 Gonzaga 21-3 19 NR-RV
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19 Purdue 19-5 17 21 16 222
20 Georgia 18-6 20 12 21 202
21 Penn State 18-5 21 14 18 176
22 DePaul 17-7 23 18 NR-RV
23 Georgia Tech 16-6 22 NR-RV
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24 South Carolina 18-5 NR-RV
NR 24 46
25 Vanderbilt 18-5 NR-RV
NR 45
Dropped Out: No. 24 North Carolina, No. 25 Kansas.
First-place votes: Total first-place votes received (if any) are indicated in parentheses following school name.
Others receiving votes: St. Bonaventure (22-2) 34; North Carolina (17-6) 19; California (17-6) 18; Florida Gulf Coast (21-2) 16; Middle Tennessee (19-5) 15; Texas-El Paso (20-2) 8; Texas Tech (16-6) 5; Brigham Young (21-4) 4; Fresno State (19-4) 4; St. John's (15-8) 4; Princeton (15-4) 3; Oklahoma (15-7) 2; West Virginia (17-6) 2; Kansas State (15-7) 1.
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Credit: Courtesy Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). The weekly Division I Top 25 Coaches' Poll, sponsored by USA Today and ESPN, is based on voting by a Board of Coaches made up of 31 head coaches at Division I institutions all of whom are WBCA members.