- The Washington Times - Friday, January 9, 2009

From combined dispatches

No. 7 TENNESSEE 69, KENTUCKY 64: Shekinna Stricklen scored 18 points, including two late free throws, as the Volunteers (12-2) beat the Wildcats (10-6) on Thursday night in Knoxville, Tenn., in the SEC opener for both teams.

Glory Johnson added 14 points for Tennessee, Alicia Manning scored a career-high 13 points, and Alex Fuller had 10. The victory gave Tennessee coach Pat Summitt 995 career wins.

Down 35-27 at halftime, Kentucky opened the second half with a 9-2 run to take a 40-39 advantage with 16:02 left.

The teams traded the lead for the next 13 minutes. The Lady Vols scored seven straight points, with a 3-pointer by Manning giving them a 61-58 lead with 2:47 left.

Amber Smith stole the ball from Stricklen and drove for a layup to pull within 64-60 with 1:27 left. Smith later fouled Stricklen with 51.3 seconds left, and the freshman calmly hit both shots to give Tennessee a 66-60 lead.

Smith and Victoria Dunlap hit two more shots in the last minute, but the Wildcats only got one more shot as the Lady Vols hit three more free throws.

Carly Morrow led the Wildcats with 16 points. Brittany Edelen added 13, and Smith had 12.

Kentucky, normally a 27.2 percent 3-point shooting team, made 57.1 percent of their shots from behind the arc against Tennessee.

No. 2 N. CAROLINA 83, CLEMSON 74: Rashanda McCants scored 17 points, and the Tar Heels (15-0, 1-0 ACC) rallied for a victory over the Tigers (10-5, 1-1) in Clemson, S.C.

North Carolina had played just twice in the past three weeks, and it showed as Clemson overcame a 12-point deficit and took a 65-64 lead with 5:03 to go.

But McCants found her game when North Carolina needed it most. After Heather Claytor’s bouncing bucket put the Tar Heels back in front, McCants hit two foul shots to make it 68-65.

The Tigers were still within 74-71 on Lele Hardy’s layin with 1:48 remaining. But McCants stole the ball from Sthefany Thomas, drove in for the basket and got fouled for a three-point play.

Whitney Hood matched her career high with 16 points for Clemson.

No. 9 AUBURN 80, S. CAROLINA 76: DeWanna Bonner scored 29 points, and Whitney Boddie tied a career-high with 21 points to lead the Tigers (16-0, 1-0 SEC) to a victory over the Gamecocks (8-6, 0-1) in Columbia, S.C.

Auburn continued its best start in 20 years despite a sloppy game that saw the Tigers turn over the ball 21 times under little pressure.

Alli Smalley scored 12 points for Auburn, and KeKe Carrier added 10 rebounds.

Dickerson led South Carolina with 19 points, while Lakeisha Sutton and Demetess Adams each added 17.

No. 18 FLORIDA 80, MISSISSIPPI ST. 66: Sha Brooks scored 31 points to lead the Gators (15-1) to a win over the Bulldogs (12-3) in Gainesville, Fla., in the SEC opener for both teams.

Brooks, Florida’s leading scorer with 13.4 points a game coming into the contest, also had six rebounds and six assists. Marshae Dotson added 17 points, and Sharielle Smith chipped in with 11.

Tysheka Grimes scored 19 points to lead Mississippi State, Chanel Mokango had 17 and Armelia Lumanu added 14. Alexis Rack, the team’s leading scorer coming into the game (14.2), was limited to eight points on 3-for-12 shooting from the field.

BOSTON COLLEGE 65, No. 22 GA. TECH 64 (OT): Mickel Picco scored on a driving layup with less than a second left in overtime to give the Eagles (12-3) a victory over the Yellow Jackets (12-3) in the teams’ ACC opener in Atlanta.

Georgia Tech had gone ahead on a basket by Jacqua Williams with 3.4 seconds remaining. However, Picco, who had 14 points, got loose downcourt for a long pass and scored just before the buzzer.

No. 24 VANDERBILT 85, ALABAMA 76: Jennifer Risper scored 17 points to lead the Commodores (12-4) to a victory over the Crimson Tide (12-4) in the SEC opener for both teams in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Christina Wirth added 15 points and 10 rebounds for Vanderbilt, which rebounded from consecutive losses to snap Alabama’s six-game winning streak.

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