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Saturday, July 20, 2019

SECrets: “SEC Game of the Week”—Tennessee v. Georgia—a Non-Event?

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Photo Caption: Tennessee game coach Holly Warlick directed another successful win in a hostile environment. Warlick appears both comfortable and very much in charge on the sidelines where she is “Backing Pat” (Tennessee head coach and Hall-of-Famer Pat Summitt), who is taking a more subdued role on the bench as she battles Alzheimer’s-related early-onset dementia.

Photo Credit: Courtesy UT Media Relations

By Mike Siroky

In our last edition of “SECrets,” Full Court picked Sunday’s match-up between then-No. 7/9 Tennessee and Georgia, which at that time was holding down the No. 17/15 spots in the national polls, as the “Southeastern Conference Game of the Week.”

A things turned out—well, not so much.

Georgia came into the game already having devalued its stock with a 48-68 midweek pasting by Vanderbilt.

Tennessee then picked up where the Commodores left off, using superior depth to full advantage and wearing down the Lady Dawgs, 67-50, on Sunday.

It didn’t seem like it was going to turn out that way when the game tipped off. The two teams traded 6-0 runs in the opening half to keep the score close, and it was a one-point advantage (29-28) for Tennessee—the slimmest halftime lead of the year for the Lady Vols—at the break.

Unfortunately for Georgia, it never got better. Shekkina Stricklen ignited an 11-0 Tennessee run to kick off the second half. The Lady Vols led by 14 with 10 minutes to go and Georgia showed no chance of changing that.

To be fair, the ’Dawgs had four players in street clothes on the bench, half of then starters, including their only true point guard Jasmine James.

But Georgia wasn’t the only team in this contest whose line-up had been weakened by injuries.

Tennessee saw the return of Taber Spani after a nine-game absence with a left knee sprain. Spani came off the bench to nail a three-pointer (her only bucket of the game), acquire two steals and swat down a block in the closing minutes of the first half, helping to put the Vols on top heading into the break, but she was clearly still off her game. She finished with just three points on one-for-five shooting.

Though returning to the starting line-up for the first time, still nursing the sore knee that had caused her to come off the bench in Tennessee’s previous game against Alabama, Stricklen fared better than Spani, finishing with a game-high 24. Ariel Massengale had 16 points, 13 of them in the Vols’ second-half rally. Stricklen played all 40 minutes and Massengale 38.

“I feel like I have let my teammates down,” Stricklen said. “The past two games, I haven’t been playing to my abilities. I just really felt comfortable in this game. All weekend, I tried to stay focused. This game really showed it. We played great defense and played great on both ends.”

Stricklen said her mental game has improved her confidence.

“Mostly it is a mindset; it’s in me mentally. My outside shooting, three-pointers haven’t been good for the past couple of games. Also, just getting to the basket and getting to the free-throw line. This is the most I have been to the free-throw line in a game and that’s really something I have trying to improve on.

“(I was) posting up a lot more (in this game). I feel I got to use my ability. I started playing out of the post. They moved me out to the wing. They were moving me all around tonight. It just allowed me to help out my team more.”

Stricklen and the Vols have high hopes for Spani’s return to full health.

“It feels good when you have everyone healthy and no one sitting out a game injured,” Stricklen said. “She came back and we are trying to get her back in the rhythm and get her shot back. It feels great to have everyone (active).”

Meredith Mitchell had 13 points and Jasmine Hassell had 11 for Georgia, which has lost three of its past four. Anne Marie Armstrong was the focus of the Tennessee defense which held her to just nine points, stopped Armstrong’s string of double-digit scoring enterprises. But Armstrong found other ways to help, doling out a team-leading eight assists.

Manning Retrieves Loose Ball
Photo Caption: Tennessee’s Alicia Manning (White, No. 15)claims a loose ball as Georgia freshman Krista Donald (Red, No. 15) falls away on defense.
Photo Credit: Courtesy University of Georgia Athletics Media Relations

Meighan Simmons opened the Vols’ second-half run with a three-pointer just 15 seconds in to the second period. Over the following three minutes Stricklen bookended a Massengale jumper with a drive for a lay-up, two steals, two points from the charity stripe, and then capped the run with a second steal which she took straight to the hole for another lay-up.

Meanwhile, Georgia missed its first five shots from the field in the second half. Its field-goal shooting dropped from 35.3 percent (12-34) in the opening half to just 20 percent (five-of-25) in the second to finish at a paltry 28.8 percent for the game.

And has been the case during the Lady Dawgs’ recent slide, Georgia also battled foul problems. Mitchell fouled out with 1:19 remaining. Hassell finished with four fouls and Armstrong with three.

The Bulldogs welcome in Mississippi State to start a string of winnable games on Thursday. Tennessee is back home for scrappy South Carolina on Thursday.

Summing Up Last Weekend’s SEC Results: Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012

  • No. 7/9 Tennessee 67 @ No. 17/15 Georgia 50
  • Alabama 68 @ No. 6 Kentucky 82
  • Mississippi State 43 @ South Carolina 69
  • Auburn 67 @ Ole Miss 54
  • Florida 72 @ Arkansas 73 (2OT)
  • LSU 72 @ Vanderbilt 81

Looking Back at the Last Weekend’s SEC Highlights

  • Alabama 68 @ No. 6 Kentucky 82

    Kentucky remains the only undefeated team in SEC league play and is the first team in the conference to 20 wins after pummeling Alabama at home, 82-68, last weekend. A 32-4 Wildcat run in the opening half decided it early.

    Kentucky coach Matt Mitchell still found teachable moments.

    “It’s almost as if we thought if we got a certain number of points ahead, Alabama was going to go away, that certainly never happened today,” Mitchell said. “We’re not going to paint a masterpiece every afternoon.

    “I just know that we had an uncharacteristic second half of defense and I didn’t think we gave a Kentucky-type effort in the second half. That’s disappointing,” Mitchell said. “If they continue to do that, they’ll get beat.”

    Keyla Snowden scored 14 and A’dia Mathies added 13. Mathies continues as the favorite for SEC Player-of-the-Year and, as such, a natural all-American.

    “It’s one of our goals,” Snowden said of winning the conference. “That’s what we’re going to push for.”

    Kentucky has won 17 straight at Memorial Coliseum, which was again sold out with 7,871 in attendance, and has won 45 of its last 47 at home in the past three seasons.

    “We want to win the SEC,” Mathies said. “We think we’ve worked extremely hard to win it and that we’ve got the most talent to win it. I think if we just keep doing what we’ve been doing and get better then we’ll be able to win it and it will be a great honor to win it.”

    SEC freshman of the week Bria Goss had 11 points for the Wildcats and Kentucky scored the first seven points of the second half.

    Jasmine Robinson and Kyra Crosby scored 14 apiece for Alabama. UK forced 25 turnovers, the 20th game this season Kentucky has forced at least 20 turnovers as the nation’s leader in turnover margin.

    Kentucky faces another second-division team this week when Ole Miss comes in Thursday.

  • Mississippi State 43 @ South Carolina 69

    South Carolina pulled into third place in conference – its highest position in decades – by silencing Mississippi State, 69-43. In a game in which the Bulldogs led only once—when they scored the opening basket—the Gamecocks led by eight at the intermission. They turned on the afterburners in the second half, with a 6-0 run to start the period. Mississippi State cut the gap to seven, but South Carolina answered with a 17-2 run, ultimately outscoring the Bulldogs, 39-21, for the period to seal the victory.

    Seniors La’Keisha Sutton and Markeshia Grant paced the Gamecocks in the rout. Sutton scored 17 while Grant had 15.

    Porsha Porter, the only Bulldog to reach double figures, led Mississippi State with 19 points and seven rebounds.

    Though MSU controlled the boards, out-rebounding South Carolina, 40-34, for the game as a whole, the Gamecocks, led by Ashley Bruner, had 11 defensive rebounds and only allowed two second-chance points the entire first half.

    While shooting 49.1 percent (28-57) from the field themselves, Dawn Staley’s troops held the Bulldogs to 39.3 percent (11-28) from the field in the first period, and to just 23.5 percent (eight-of-34) in the second. Perhaps even more significantly, South Carolina completely froze the Bulldogs out on the arc, where MSU netted nothing in eight attempts—the first time since 2006 they have failed to knock down a single three-pointer. “We got out and got some easy buckets (early in the second half),” observed South Carolina coach Dawn Staley. “I thought we came out and just took open shots, shots that were natural for us.”

  • Auburn 67 @ Ole Miss 54

    Auburn won at Ole Miss, 67-54,led by 19 points from sophomore Camille Glymph, as the Tigers attempted to turn things around as SEC conference play winds down.

    “That was a good way to start the second half of the SEC season,” said Auburn coach Nell Fortner. “We are focusing on finishing the season strong.”

    Glymph scored 12 in the first half when the Tigers used a 13-2 run to take the lead for good. She also had the team-high six assists.

    “Camille had a good day shooting the ball, but she didn’t even take all the shots she had, if you can believe that,” said Fortner.

    “I actually had to get on her to shoot more. It was nice to see her knock down those shots because it gives us some confidence and you can see that immediately when she does that.”

    Tyrese Tanner, Auburn’s leading scorer on the season, came off the bench for 12 points while Blanche Alverson added 10. Senior Parrisha Simmons came off the bench and pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds.

    “We had to take care of Nikki Byrd and that is where I thought P.J. West was the X-factor for us,” said Fortner. “P.J.‘s size really bothered Byrd and kept the ball out of her hands.”

    Valencia McFarland led Ole Miss with 15 points.

  • Florida 72 @ Arkansas 73 (2OT)

    This might just have been the real SEC Game of the Week, as Arkansas came back from 12 down at halftime to stifle visiting Florida, 73-71, in double-overtime. The victory was the fifth conference win in a row for the Razorbacks who have mounted an impressive turnaround in the in-conference performance over the past two-and-a-half weeks.

    All five Razorback starters reached double figures, as junior Sarah Watkins led the way with 17 points, six rebounds and four blocks.  Senior Ashley Daniels had 13 points and nine rebounds; C’eira Rickets tacked on 12, plus seven boards; Lyndsay Harris dropped in 11, plus three rebounds and two assists but five turnovers; and Dominique Robinson chipped in 10 points and eight rebounds.

    Florida’s Lanita Bartley came off the bench for a game-high 19 points, five steals, four boards and three assists; expect to see more of her soon. Ndidi Madu added 11 points and six rebounds for the losing side; Jordan Jones added 10 points, seven boards and three assists.

    “It was a great game and the fans got behind us and made a huge difference,” Arkansas coach Tom Collen said. “Florida frustrated us in the first half and we struggled but our leadership was fantastic and we pulled it out.”

    Down 10 with 4:06 to play, the Razorbacks went on a 12-2 run to tie it at 62 and force the first overtime period.

    Each team added seven points to leave the score still knotted at 69 all, and force the second overtime.

    The Gators scored first in the final five minutes and went up three, 69-72, with 2:40 to play.

    But Watkins drained a 17-foot jumper pulling Arkansas within one and igniting the crowd. Watkins next blocked a Gator attempt, one of her four blocks in the game, which was followed by a Florida foul sending senior C’eira Ricketts to the line.

    Ricketts could not convert, but harassed the Gator inbound play with under a minute to go and forced a turnover.

    Watkins picked up the loose ball and fed Daniels for the lay-in and the game-winning shot.

    Arkansas was four-for-nine from the field and three-for-six from the line in the two overtime periods.

      The Razorbacks welcome in Alabama, still winless in conference action, on Thursday for what should be Arkansas’s sixth win in a row.

  • LSU 72 @ Vanderbilt 81

    Vanderbilt, playing some of its best ball of the season since dropping out of the national rankings, deposed visiting LSU, 81-72.

    It was the fourth straight league loss for LSU since losing its starting point guard Destini Hughes to a career-ending knee injury in a bruiser of a game at Tennessee. The 81 points the vaunted LSU defense gave up to Vandy are the most they have allowed to any opponent this season.

    Of course, the Tiger defense couldn’t do much about the 21 points the Commodores picked up in their 26 visits to the line.

    Kady Schrann scored a career-high 29. Schrann was one of four Commodores in double-figures, finishing 11-of-15 from the floor. Christina Foggie, the SEC’s leading scorer at 18.4 points per game, scored 14 in this outing, all after intermission. Stephanie Hoelzer was limited to just eight points 8 but pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds for Vandy.

    Three Lady Tigers finished in double-digits, led by 18 from Bianca Lutley.

Current SEC Standings

SEC Women’s Basketball Standings
(As of January 30, 2012)
Rank School Conf. Pct. Overall Pct.
1 Kentucky 9-0 1.000 20-2 .909
2 Tennessee 7-1 .875 16-5 .762
3 South Carolina 6-3 .667 17-5 .773
4 Arkansas 5-4 .556 16-5 .762
5 Georgia 5-4 .556 16-6 .727
6 Vanderbilt 4-4 .500 16-5 .762
7 LSU 4-4 .500 14-7 .667
8 (tie) Florida 3-5 .575 13-8 .619
8 (tie) Mississippi State 3-5 .375 13-8 .619
10 Auburn 3-6 .333 11-11 .500
11 Ole Miss 2-7 .222 12-10 .545
12 Alabama 0-8 .000 10-12 .455
Source: secdigitalnetwork.com

Coming Up this Week: Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012

    Florida @ LSU

    Swayze Black’s buzzer-beating put-back in an out-of-conference contest at East Tennessee State last Monday are all that stand between LSU and a five-game losing streak. As things turned out, LSU has lost four of its last five, first dropping three conference games in a row, then squeaking out the narrowest of wins against ETSU, a team that had only won five games all season, then felling again at Vanderbilt on Sunday in conference play.

    Of course, the Lady Tigers lost both of their points guards in their bruising battle at Tennessee—one of them their best player (Destiny Hughes), now done for the season with a surgical knee, and Jeanne Kenney who suffered a concussion, is now back, but still far from top form (Kenney logged just seven points, no assists and four turnovers before fouling out in her first game back, a 72-81 loss to Vanderbilt on Sunday. There’s nothing to indicate that LSU has adjusted to its diminished back-court situation. After a solid start to their season, the Lady Tigers have slipped to seventh place in the conference standings, and desperately hope to pull one out against the Gators to stop their downhill tumble.

    That would ordinarily be difficult enough to do, as the two teams do not match up well and the Gators are typically excellent shooters. But Florida, too, has taken a fall of late and currently stand tied with Mississippi State for eighth place in the SEC race. This could turn out to be anybody’s game, though we’d give the inside edge to the visitors.

    When: Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012, 7:00 p.m. EST/6:00 p.m CST, Maravich Center, Baton Rouge, La. (CST)

  • Ole Miss @ No. 6/5 Kentucky

    Hmmm, let’s see now. The Rebels come in with the second-worst record in the SEC, having won only two out of their nine in-conference contests and, at 12-10 overall, are barely keeping their collective heads above water.

    Meanwhile, the Wildcats, ranked No. 6/5 in the two major national polls, and at 9-0 and 20-2 in conference play, are the only unbeaten team still standing in SEC action. Now Kentucky’s wins haven’t always been pretty, but they include victories over perennial conference powerhouse Tennessee, as well as the Duke, the ACC’s league leader—both of them top 10 teams in the national rankings.

    Bottom line: Don’t look for Ole Miss to pick up its third conference win in Lexington this Thursday!

    When: Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012, 7:00 p.m. EST, Memorial Coliseum, Lexington, Ky.

  • Mississippi State @ No. 21/20 Georgia

    Who let the dogs out? Georgia has been on a slide of late with three losses in their last four outings. Two of those losses were by 20 points or more—to a resurgent Vanderbilt squad (48-68) a week ago and to a Top-10 Tennessee outfit on Sunday (50-67). Still, Georgia is still ranked among the nation’s to 25 teams.

    And whatever Georgia’s Bulldogs’ problems might be, they don’t seem half as bad as those afflicting Mississippi State, which got off to a good enough start, but then stumbled. The MSU Bulldogs were spanked in their last two games, falling 35-51 to Arkansas and 43-69 at South Carolina. Their 3-5 record in conference play puts them in a two-way tie for eighth place in the SEC.

    Both teams will be looking to turn things around, but Georgia clearly holds the upper hand in talent this season.

    When: Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012, 7:00 p.m. EST, Stegeman Coliseum, Athens, Ga.

  • South Carolina @ No. 8 Tennessee

    It’s hard to call this match-up the SEC “Game of the Week,” but it certainly looks to be the best match-up of the day’s rather drab line-up of games. Currently, the Gamecocks stand right behind the Lady Vols, in third place in the conference, a rank they haven’t seen in quite a while. There’s no question they are a talented and well-coached squad and it will be a real surprise if they don’t see the NCAA postseason.

    And there’s also no doubt that Tennessee can be beaten: Despite their exalted ranking in the major national polls, the Vols already have been—five times—several of them by high double-digit margins. But it has taken the very best teams in the country to do it—the Baylors, Notre Dames, Stanfords, and Kentuckys—all top-five teams in the national rankings, plus an overtime road loss on a very bad afternoon early in the season against a spunky squad from Virginia.

    Spunky the Gamecocks may be, but don’t expect Tennessee to let down in its guard, as they did against the Cavaliers, twice in a season. As for Tennessee’s other losses, South Carolina, while solid, is not at the level of a Top-Five team just yet.

    When: Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012, 7:00 p.m. EST (CSS), Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, Tenn. (CSS)

  • Vanderbilt @ Auburn

    The Commodores suffered a bit of a slump, dropping three in a row two weeks into the conference season and thereby playing their way out of the national rankings. But they’ve come out on fire in their last two contests, and if Vandy plays anything close to the level we saw in last week’s action, it will be game-over pretty quickly for Auburn, which is 3-3 in conference games and 11-11 overall. When: Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012, 7:00 p.m. EST

  • Alabama @ Arkansas

    Alabama is still searching for its first conference win. The Crimson Tide are not likely to find it in Fayetteville, where the Razorbacks have propelled themselves from the SEC basement into fourth place in the conference rankings with five straight wins after getting off to an 0-4 start to conference play.

    When: Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012, 8:00 p.m. EST/7:00 p.m. CST

    • Originally published Wed, February 01, 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
10 483
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
19 234
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
22 104
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.