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DULUTH, Ga. (AP) — Kelsey Bone had 18 points and 15 rebounds, with most of her production coming in the second half, and Texas A&M beat Kentucky 75-67 on Sunday night to win the Southeastern Conference tournament championship in its first year in the league.
The Aggies, the No. 4 seed, were the surprise of the tournament by beating the top two seeds in the tournament. No. 19 Texas A&M (24-9) beat top-seeded Tennessee in the semifinals before beating No. 2 seed Kentucky (27-5) in the final. Kristi Bellock had 15 points and Courtney Walker had 14 for the Aggies.
Bone, selected the tournament MVP, was called for her second foul and went to the bench for the final 8:54 of the first half. She logged only eight minutes with four points in the half.
No. 7 Kentucky’s long wait for its second SEC title continues. The Wildcats won their only championship in 1982. A’dia Mathies led Kentucky with 19 points. Jennifer O’Neill had 17 but the Wildcats were hurt by poor shooting through most of the second half.
Texas A&M took the lead with an 11-0 run early in the second half and then stretched the advantage to 11 points with an 8-0 run midway through the half. Kentucky made only four of its first 23 shots (17.4 percent) in the second half. The Aggies led by 15 points at 63-48 before Kentucky tried to rally. Bria Goss sank a 3-pointer and O’Neill followed with a three-point play, pulling the Wildcats to within nine points.
Kentucky swept two regular-season games against Texas A&M, but the combined margin of victory in the two games was only seven points.
Even with the 6-foot-4 Bone sitting out most of the half, the Wildcats’ biggest lead in the half was two points. Kentucky, which trailed by six at 23-17 midway through the half, led 36-34 at halftime as O’Neill closed the half with two straight baskets. Stallworth scored to open the second half, stretching Kentucky’s lead to four points. The Aggies scored the next 11 points to take a 45-38 lead.