South Carolina women win SEC tournament
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Dawn Staley knew when she took over as the South Carolina coach that Tennessee was the team to beat in the Southeastern Conference.
It took seven seasons, but Staley and the No. 3 Gamecocks have finally toppled the mighty Lady Vols.
Led by 17 points from two-time SEC Player of the Year Tiffany Mitchell, South Carolina (29-2) earned its first women's SEC tournament championship with a 62-46 win over No. 5 Tennessee on Sunday.
"These are the times which we looked forward to, envisioned, sitting here today being SEC tournament champions," Staley said.
The Gamecocks were making their first championship game appearance, while Tennessee (27-5) was attempting to win the tournament for the 18th time in 36 seasons.
Jordan Reynolds had 17 points to lead the Lady Vols, who finished with their lowest point total in tournament history.
"Our margin for error against South Carolina is very small, and you've got to make shots that are around the basket, and we didn't," Tennessee coach Holly Warlick said.
South Carolina improved to 3-3 in the last six meetings against the eight-time national champions. From 1980 to 2012, it lost 40 in a row to the Lady Vols.
•NOTRE DAME, STANFORD TAKE TITLES: No. 2-ranked Notre Dame (31-2) earned its second straight ACC tournament championship, beating No. 7 Florida State (29-4) 71-58 in Greensboro, N.C. ... No. 19 Stanford (24-9) won its 11th Pac-12 tournament championship with a 61-60 win over California (23-9) in Seattle. Cal's Reshanda Gray, the Pac-12 player of the year, was held to six points.
•OTHER CHAMPS: Liberty won its 16th Big South Conference tournament crown in the past 19 years with a 73-64 victory over High Point in Conway, S.C. The Lady Flames (26-6) have won 14 in a row. ... No. 21 George Washington (29-3) rallied for a 75-62 victory against Dayton (25-6) in the Atlantic 10 championship in Richmond, Va. ... No. 17 Chattanooga (29-3) survived a furious second-half comeback by East Tennessee State for a 61-56 overtime victory in the Southern Conference championship game in Asheville, N.C.
•UCONN WINS BY 50: Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis scored 21 points as top-ranked UConn (31-1) moved into the final of the American Athletic Conference tournament with a 106-56 rout of East Carolina (21-10) in Uncasville, Conn. UConn led 62-22 at the half, its biggest scoring output for a half this season and just six shy of the school record.
•COYOTES REACH SEMIS: Brandon Bos scored a career-high 29 points and No. 5 seed South Dakota (17-15) beat fourth-seeded Fort Wayne 82-73 in the Summit League tournament quarterfinals in Sioux Falls, S.D. The Coyotes will play No. 1 seed South Dakota State in the semifinals on Monday.
•BANNER FOR SMU: No. 22 SMU (24-6, 15-3) won its first league title in 22 years, rallying past visiting Tulsa (21-9, 14-4) 67-62 in a game that decided the American Athletic Conference regular-season championship. James Woodard scored all of his career-high 30 points on three-pointers for Tulsa.
•WILD FINISH: Daniel Dixon hit a three-pointer with a half-second left in the second overtime, and William & Mary advanced to the Colonial Athletic Association championship game with a 92-91 win over Hofstra in Baltimore.
•TOURNAMENT CHAMPS: North Florida beat USC Upstate 63-57 in the Atlantic Sun final in Jacksonville, Fla., to earn its first NCAA tournament berth. The Ospreys (23-11)ended a five-game losing streak against the Spartans (23-11). ... Coastal Carolina (24-9) clinched its second straight NCAA berth with an 81-70 win over Winthrop (19-13) in the Big South Conference championship in Conway, S.C.