January 28, 2021 

Around the SEC: Texas A&M celebrates the tenth anniversary of the championship

Auburn seeks first conference win and more

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A championship anniversary, three players on yet another watch list, a winning streak, and a team still looking for its first SEC victory are among the news and notes for this week’s happenings around the SEC.

It’s Our Anniversary

It’s been 10 years since the 2010-11 Texas A&M women’s basketball team represented the school in the 2010-11 NCAA Division 1 women’s basketball season. The Aggies, coached by still-coach Gary Blair, won the championship, the first national title for the school in women’s basketball.

On Sunday, the team will play its 10-year anniversary game at College Station and welcome back members of that national championship team including Sydney Colson of the WNBA’s Chicago Sky, Sydney Carter, and Kelsey Bone for a special halftime program and recognition.

SEC Player and Freshman of the Week

South Carolina women’s basketball sophomore Aliyah Boston was named SEC Player of the Week after averaging 18.0 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 5.5 blocks in last week’s wins over No. 22/23 Georgia and at LSU. It is her second weekly recognition from the SEC this season.

Boston opened the week with the program’s first triple-double against an SEC opponent and first against a ranked team with her 16 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 blocked shots against No. 22/23 Georgia. It was her second career triple-double, making her the first Gamecock to achieve the feat multiple times in her career, and just the seventh triple-double in SEC regular-season history.

The unanimous AP Preseason All-American extended her streak of double-digit rebound games to seven with her double-double at LSU Sunday and turned in her fourth 20-point SEC game of the season, including three in the last five outings.

On the season, Boston is 16th in the country in rebounding average (11.3), including 4.0 offensive rebounds per game, which ranks 20th in the nation. Her 3.2 blocks per game are seventh in the NCAA as well. She averages a double-double overall (14.8 ppg/11.3 rpg), in SEC games (17.7 ppg/12.7 rpg), and against ranked opponents (15.7 ppg/11.3 rpg).

Marta Suárez, one of only three Lady Vols to start every game this season, was named SEC Freshman of the Week. The defensive-minded players’ steady play last week enabled Tennessee to improve to 10-3 overall and 4-1 in the SEC to remain third in the league standings and climb to No. 20 in the AP poll. 

She finished the week averaging 8.0 points and 5.0 rebounds while shooting 63.6 percent from the field. She scored in double figures for the second time this season, including 10 points and six rebounds in a narrow loss to No. 3/5 UConn. In the win over No. 12/12 Kentucky, Suárez scored six points on three-of-four shooting and grabbed four rebounds. 

Watch us Work

The watch list for the Naismith Women’s Defensive Player of the Year Watch List was announced this week and the SEC had three players to land on the prestigious list.

Texas A&M’s N’dea Jones averages 13.0 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. She leads the country with 10 double-doubles, and just recently became A&M’s all-time leader in double-doubles. She leads the SEC in total rebounds (159).

South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston was also named to the list. She was a finalist for the award in 2020. Defensive Player of the Year Watch List, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today. The 6’5 forward was a finalist for the award in 2020.

Boston is eighth in the nation with an SEC-best 3.15 blocked shots per game this season and 4.9 blocks per SEC game and 4.3 against ranked opponents. She has blocked at least five shots in a game three times in her last five outings, including her 10-block outing against No. 22/23 Georgia as part of her second career triple-double. Boston’s defensive presence goes beyond blocked shots as she ranks 14th in the SEC in steals per league game (1.7).

Boston ranks 15th in the country in rebounds per game (11.3). She averages a double-double on the season (14.8 ppg/11.3 rpg), in SEC games (17.7 ppg/12.7 rpg), and against ranked opponents (15.7 ppg/11.3 rpg). She has pulled down double-digit rebounds in all seven SEC games this season and her seven double-doubles ranks 19th in the nation.

Also on the watch list from the SEC is Kentucky’s, Chasity Patterson.

Patterson leads the nation by forcing 60 steals through just 15 games. The Houston native has started all 15 games, averaging 12.2 points per game on 46% shooting from the field. She is a 30.6% 3-point shooter and has collected 2.4 rebounds per game. She’s also dished out 51 assists on the year.

On  Dec. 19 against Wofford, she recorded the first double-double in her career with 17 points and 10 steals. Patterson is the second player in program history to record 10 or more steals in a game. Leslie Nichols holds the program record with 11 steals vs. Louisville on Feb. 14, 1986. Patterson and Nichols are also the only players in school history to record eight or more steals in three or more games in a season. Nichols accomplished the feat during the 1985-86 season.

So far this season, Patterson has led Kentucky in steals 11 times, in assists seven times and in scoring four times.

Two In a Row

The University of Florida women’s basketball team defeated Ole Miss on Sunday to collect its second-straight SEC win and its first road win in league play.

Led by Kiki Smith’s 25 points, the Gators defeated Ole Miss 78-68.  

After trailing 37-33 at half Florida’s offense exploded in the third quarter, outscoring the Rebels 25-12. They never looked back. 

The senior guard Smith scored over 20 points for the third-straight game. Florida rallied together without its fourth-year head coach Cam Newbauer who did not travel and missed the game due to health and safety protocols. Making her head coaching debut, associate head coach Kelly Rae Finley served as Florida’s acting head coach for the game. Finley’s unexpected debut will certainly be a memorable one as the Gators broke through for their first win on the road in league play.

Florida posted back-to-back SEC wins for the first time since February of 2020.

Looking For a Win

The Auburn University Tigers are 0-6 against SEC opponents and still in search of its first league win after losing to Alabama on Sunday, 67-55. The Crimson Tide is now 12-2 overall and 5-2 in Southeastern Conference play, while the Tigers fall to 5-9 on the season and 0-6 against league opponents.

Alabama began the game on an 11-0 run and led by as many as 12 in the first quarter. Late in the second, Auburn pulled within two, however, the Tide responded by scoring the final seven points of the frame to lead by nine at the half, 31-22. They cut the lead in the second half to four but Alabama prevailed.

“Our defensive stops were giving us an opportunity to score in transition,” Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. “But we had to be able to score today, and we missed a lot of open shots.”

Auburn’s Honesty Scott-Grayson’s 17 points included a 7-for-8 day at the free-throw line; she was the only Auburn player to attempt a free throw in the game. She also led the Tigers with four assists and matched a career-high with five steals. Unique Thompson picked up her 10th straight double-double and 52nd of her career with 10 points and 10 rebounds on the day. Alaina Rice matched a season-high with nine points, and Jala Jordan and Romi Levy added eight apiece.

Written by Dorothy J. Gentry

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