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UK Hoops advances to SEC Tourney finals with 68-58 win over South Carolina

South Carolina guard Tiffany Mitchell (25) has her shot blocked by Kentucky forward DeNesha Stallworth (11) in the second half an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference women's basketball tournament Saturday, March 8, 2014, in Duluth, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

South Carolina guard Tiffany Mitchell (25) has her shot blocked by Kentucky forward DeNesha Stallworth (11) in the second half an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference women’s basketball tournament Saturday, March 8, 2014, in Duluth, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

AP Sports Writer

DULUTH, Ga. (AP) — Bria Goss scored 14 points and No. 12 Kentucky upset No. 5 South Carolina 68-58 Saturday to advance to the Southeastern Conference tournament championship game.

DeNesha Stallworth and Linnae Harper each had 12 points for Kentucky (24-7), which will play Sunday in its fourth SEC tournament final in the last five years. The Wildcats won their only title in 1982.

South Carolina (27-4), the SEC regular-season champion, had 16 turnovers, most coming in the first 10 minutes. The Gamecocks were playing in only their second semifinal, following an appearance in 2012.

The Gamecocks scored the game’s first points on a basket by Elem Ibiam, who had 16 points. Kentucky scored the next 12 points and never lost the lead.

South Carolina’s Tiffany Mitchell, selected by coaches as the SEC player of the year, had 11 points while making only 4 of 12 shots.

Kentucky took its second straight SEC tournament win over a team that swept the Wildcats in the regular season. Kentucky beat Florida in the quarterfinals.

The Gamecocks battled turnovers and cold shooting during Kentucky’s early 12-0 run.

Ibiam, the 6-foot-4 center, ended South Carolina’s 7-minute scoring drought with an inside basket, but the Gamecocks’ struggles kept coming. When Epps scored to give Kentucky a 19-11 lead, South Carolina’s 11 turnovers matched its points.

Bria Goss sank back-to-back 3-pointers to give Kentucky its big lead of the half at 33-20. Ibiam had 12 points in the half, including South Carolina’s last three baskets before the break, to trail 37-29.

Kentucky again stretched its lead to 13 points in the second half. South Carolina never made a serious surge, pulling no closer than eight points in the final 20 minutes.

Trailing by 12 points, South Carolina coach Dawn Staley pulled her starters with 1:16 remaining.

Aleighsa Welch had 12 points for South Carolina, and Makayla Epps added 10 points for Kentucky.


KENTUCKY (24-7): Stallworth 5-14 2-5 12, Walker 3-6 0-0 6, Thompson 0-2 0-0 0,  Goss 3-7 6-7 14, Evans 1-2 3-4 5, O’Neill 3-6 0-0 7, Pinkett 0-0 0-0 0,  Sidney 0-0 0-0 0, Harper 5-9 2-6 12, Epps 4-9 1-3 10, Bishop 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 25-59 14-25 68.

SOUTH CAROLINA (27-4): Welch 4-8 4-10 12, Dozier 0-7 0-0 0, Ibiam 7-10 2-2 16,  Sessions 1-3 0-0 2, Mitchell 4-12 2-2 11, Farmer 0-0 0-0 0,  Gaines 0-0 0-0 0, Montout 1-1 0-0 2, Davis 1-1 0-0 2,  Morrison 1-1 0-0 2, Roy 2-4 0-0 5, Coates 2-5 2-4 6. Totals 23-52 10-18 58.

Halftime_Kentucky 37-29. 3-Point Goals_Kentucky 4-9 (Goss 2-3,  O’Neill 1-1, Epps 1-3, Thompson 0-1, Evans 0-1), South Carolina 2-10  (Roy 1-2, Mitchell 1-2, Sessions 0-2, Dozier 0-4). Fouled Out_None.  Rebounds_Kentucky 34 (Walker 6), South Carolina 39 (Coates 9).  Assists_Kentucky 11 (Epps, Harper, O’Neill, Thompson 2), South Carolina  12 (Mitchell, Welch 3). Total Fouls_Kentucky 18, South Carolina 19.  A_NA.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  1. Little Baron

    Nice to see a basketball team wearing UK on the jersey showing up to play TEAM ball at the end of the season. A tip of the hat to the Lady Cats :)

  2. OldFan

    Now we have a TEAM to cheer for in March. Way to go, ladies. Glad to see the effort.

    1. Write 'em Down!

      Agreed, Old Fan and Little Baron.

      It’s clear that “TEAM” isn’t at all restricted to gender, or at least not in Lexington. Congratulations and GREAT GAME, Lady Kats and Coach Mitchell! SC didn’t hear the Lady Cats “meow” today–they heard you GROWWWLLLLL!

  3. Little Baron

    Old Fan & Write ‘em Down…
    We have seen UK basketball for too many years to be blinded by NON-team players. Bobby Talent, Rhoderick Rhodes and others have achieved such a notorious label, and Young can hang his hat with the worst of them. Personally, I have not figured out whether the twins are selfish, were drug down by Young, or simply can’t play ball as well as some of the High School guys I play basketball with quite often when I substitute teach (sort of retired)… and at 65 I have made passes – lobs to 6′-7″ guy and bounce passes under some long arms with accuracy… and I only played intramural ball at UK… not very good.

    Anyone who lives and breathes basketball since youth, plays in the mini-pre-pro AAU, and can’t hit the basket at nearly 50%, hit 3’s at 40%, make free throws with at least 75% accuracy, dribble with control and pass with accuracy must have wasted a lot of hours hot-dogging.

    Not sure if there are any prima donnas on the Womens’ UK team, but the playing of a deep bench surely keeps it in check and serves as a tool to eliminate it…
    an instrument USED on the UK Womens’ TEAM instead of JUST HOLLOW WORDS

    1. Write 'em Down!

      Your “Bob Talent” comment brought a grin to my face, Little Baron. I wonder how many of us in BBN have been faithful followers of the Cats long enough to remember Bob (Rupp’s Runts member) and his brothers, Mike and Pat? I recall up my way here in the hills that you didn’t want to find your HS team opposite Maytown and those boys in the district / regional playoffs back then. Talk about guys who could flat-out shoot the rubber ball through the metal rim! And though he was a bit before my time, do you recall “King” Kelly Coleman from Wayland, KY, right across the mountain from Maytown? I have met quite a few extremely knowledgeable and loyal long-time UK fans who personally saw many of UK’s finest hit the court down at Memorial and yet who still say that Kelly Coleman was the best pure shooter and all around basketball player for his size that ever graced the Commonwealth. I feel that the lacking of a few such pure jump-shooters as the above has really hurt the Cats the past couple of years, as witnessed by the current inside assualtt-and-batterings tag-teamings on Julius Randle.

      Sometimes, I am amused, in a rather sad sort of way, when obviously old-time and faithful UK fans get ripped as “fair weather,” coach /player “haters,” or “coaching know-it-alls” simply for posting fact-supported observations or opinions. Why such is so often construed by many posters or “fans” as being overly critical, non-supportive, non-loyal, etc., is beyond me. Isn’t open-eyed honesty part of loyalty?

      I feel that I try to be fair and even-handed to the extent I’m capable in my own posts. I am always a fan of a KY Wildcat coach, whoever it is, until that individual’s actions prove to me that I should no longer be such, as has unfortunately been the case with a couple of coaches in the recent past that I won’t mention out of courtesy. I have been, and still am, a fan of Coach Calapari. I have great respect and remembrance of what he has done to revive our program from the shambles it was in just a few years ago. I have great respect for the fact that he is attempting a playing / recruiting /coaching system that strives to navigate heretofore new and uncharted waters. The fact that I perhaps have developed concerns over the pending status and direction of our coach’s current, seemingly all-UK’s-eggs-in-one (and done) basket- and join others in posting such DOES NOT mean that I am a turn-coat fan trying to disrespect our coach or players. Just the opposite. I’m still following them, aren’t I? Every game, just like all the past decades, good seasons and not-so-good seasons, through thick and thin, through money-letters popping open scandal and NC glory. Still here, fair-weather fan that I am.

      The only thing I will flat-out openly disrespect is another poster or so-called “fan” resorting to uncalled-for personal and hurtful name-calling / comments about our coach or players, who are human beings with fathers, mothers, and loved ones who possibly read such with resultant pain. And there’s just no place for that in a forum of supposedly mature adults. I’m not the VV post-police or anything, and have no wish to be. But if someone cannot make a point or support an observation or opinion without resorting to name-calling or insults, then the individual never had a legitimate posting point to begin with, IMHO.

      And as I was saying, WAY TO GO, LADY CATS!!! : )

      1. jerry

        brings back good memories. small schools that always balled against biggest but not always the best. hazard, hindman, carr creak, garret, I have an uncle who played at wayland. he started as a sophomore colemans last year. name was melvin robinson. have seen that team play on tape. I went to school in hazard and remember johnny cox, james rose, mickey Gibson yada yada could go on and on. was good to read your comment, took me back in time.

        1. Write 'em Down!

          It was good to read yours & associated memories as well, Jerry. And your Uncle Melvin was certainly a good baller if he started as a soph during that era for Wayland. Your own area of eastern Kentucky certainly had it’s own share of wonderful bb talent as you mention. I remember Hazard’s Jim Rose and his WKU team that beat Rupps’ Wildcat team that year. That was the only time in my UK fandom that I had a lot of trouble rooting against the opponent, as I had been following the ‘toppers because of Rose & Jim McDaniel and I couldn’t even bear to watch the game. It just about killed me when Villanova and Howard Porter beat them in the NCAA Final Four.

  4. Love SEC

    Keep it going, Girls.
    We are proud of you!

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