January 14, 2021
‘We back Pat’ begins Thursday night in SEC
Annual week by SEC honors legendary coach Pat Summitt, runs through January 21
Welcome to The Next: A basketball newsroom brought to you by The IX. 24/7/365 women’s basketball coverage, written, edited, and photographed by our young, diverse staff, dedicated to breaking news, analysis, historical deep dives, and projections about the game we love.
Subscribe to make sure this vital work, creating a pipeline of young, diverse media professionals to write, edit and photograph the great game, continues, and grows. Paid subscriptions include some exclusive content, but the reason for subscriptions is a simple one: making sure our writers and editors creating 24/7/365 women’s basketball coverage get paid to do it.
It’s a special time in the SEC as the conference kicks off its annual “We Back Pat Week” beginning with games Thursday night, January 14, and running through January 21.
It is the 10th anniversary of the celebration of the legendary basketball coach Pat Summitt. Teams use the time to bring awareness to Coach Summitt’s worldwide influence through basketball and the continuing need for research to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Fans can donate to The Pat Summitt Foundation at patsummitt.org.
Around the SEC, Covid continues to cause disruption, Lady Aggies remain unbeaten, several teams land in AP’s Top 25 and more. Let’s take a look:
Kentucky at Auburn WBB Postponed
Teams continue to experience schedule fluctuations due to Covid. The latest is Auburn, whose game tonight against Kentucky has been postponed “due to the combination of positive tests, contact tracing and subsequent quarantining of individuals within the Auburn women’s basketball program.”
A make-up date has not been announced.
Big Six in the Top 25
Six schools are reppin’ the SEC in this week’s AP Top 25: South Carolina (5), Texas A&M (7), Kentucky (12), Mississippi State (14), Arkansas (17), and Tennessee (23).
Same Song, Different Day
Texas A&M continues to roll through the season, reigning supreme as the only remaining unbeaten team in the SEC, after narrowly escaping No. 13 Arkansas, 74-73 on Sunday afternoon. The game-winner bucket came from Jordan Nixon.
With the win, the Lady Aggies rose to 12-0, (3-0 in SEC play), and tied its best start in program history (2008-09). Arkansas dropped to 10-4 with a 1-3 SEC record.
N’dea Jones broke former Aggie Anriel Howard’s record for double-doubles, recording the 34th of her career and becoming A&M’s all-time leader in the category. She also moved into sole possession of fifth place in rebounds (894).
As a result of the win, Texas A&M was named the espnW Team of the Week and moved up to No. 7 in the latest Associated Press poll after victories over Kentucky and Arkansas.
No. 1 — Twice
Alabama’s Myra Gordon was named SEC Freshman of the Week, the first weekly honor of her career and the first for the Crimson Tide this season.
Gordon recently played 22 minutes at Vanderbilt, finishing with six points, three rebounds and a block. She knocked down the the first three-pointer of her career in a win over LSU and followed that up with a pair in the victory against the Commodores.
Her three rebounds at Vanderbilt were the most she’s had against an SEC opponent, and her block in Sunday’s win versus the Commodores was her second of the season and first in a league game. Two assists in the LSU victory tied her season high.
Wilson Named SEC Co-Player of the Week
Texas A&M women’s basketball’s Aaliyah Wilson was named SEC Co-Player of the Week after leading the Aggies to two top-15 wins.
The Muskogee, Oklahoma, native scored a career-high 27 points on the road against her former squad, No. 13 Arkansas. She went 10-for-19 from the field with eight rebounds to lead the Aggies over the Razorbacks, 74-73.
Against No. 10 Kentucky, Wilson scored 18 points and led a defensive effort that held the reigning SEC Player of the Year Rhyne Howard to just three points in the fourth quarter. The Maroon & White went on to dominate the Wildcats, 77-60.
This is the first player of the week accolade Wilson has collected in her career. Earlier this season, N’dea Jones earned an SEC Player of the Week honor. This marks the first time since the 2015-16 campaign where two different Aggies have garnered player of the week recognition in the same year.
Wilson leads the team with 15.0 points and 2.1 steals per game.
Boston Named SEC Co-Player of the Week
South Carolina sophomore Aliyah Boston was named the SEC’s Co-Player of the Week. She finished with a game-high 12 rebounds, 20 points and seven blocks at Kentucky on Sunday in just 25 minutes on the court.
Boston was critical to the Gamecocks’ comeback at No. 10/8 Kentucky Sunday evening. After missing most of the first half due to two early fouls, the 6’5 sophomore put her stamp on the game in the second half, finishing with nearly a triple-double — 20 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocks.
With Kentucky up 52-45 midway through the third quarter, Boston added two offensive rebounds, three defensive boards, a steal, and a blocked shot that she took the other way for a layup to cut the lead to one to cap her 10 points and six rebounds in the third period alone. When Kentucky closed within one at 71-70 with 1:30 top lay, she put back her own missed shot then blocked a shot on the other end to help seal the victory.
Boston is 22nd in the country with an SEC-best 10.7 rebounds per game, and her 2.2 blocks per game are 29th in the nation and second in the league. She has posted four double-doubles through nine games, including two in the team’s first three SEC outings.
Gamecocks’ Ride Rebounding to Win Over Kentucky
The South Carolina Gamecocks dominated the rebounding battle, 46-31, in Sunday afternoon’s showdown with the Kentucky Wildcats.
That was enough for a 75-70 win over the Wildcats, despite Rhyne Howard’s 32 points and seven rebounds. Destanni Henderson scored 22 points and Aliyah Boston scored 20, including 10 in the third quarter.
Kentucky forced 18 South Carolina turnovers and turned those into 22 points. But aided by its rebounding, the Gamecocks had 23 second-chance points, compared to just 10 for Kentucky, and the Gamecocks had 56 points in the paint, compared to just 34 for the Cats.
First-place South Carolina (8-1, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) won its fifth in a row just days after postponing a game against Georgia because of a positive coronavirus test in the program.
Patterson and Dre’Una Edwards 12 each for the Wildcats (9-3, 2-2 SEC), who lost their second consecutive game in a four-game stretch against top 15 opponents.
Movin’ On Up
With her 32 points on Sunday, Rhyne Howard has now scored at least 30 points in a game twice this season and the fifth time in her University of Kentucky career.
Howard moved into 17th place on UK’s career scoring list on Sunday, passing Belitta Croley, Kristi Cushenberry and Taylor Murray. Howard now has 1,362 points in her three-year UK career.
Alabama’s Double Double Wonders
The Crimson Tide’s Jasmine Walker and Ariyah Copeland recorded double-doubles for the second straight game to lead Alabama past Vanderbilt 80-56 on Sunday afternoon.
Walker led the way with 25 points and a career-high 16 rebounds and Copeland added 12 points and 11 rebounds. Fellow senior Jordan Lewis also recorded double-figure points, chipping in 12 to go along with her game-high six assists.
The Crimson Tide moves to 10-1 overall and 3-1 in Southeastern Conference play with the victory, while the loss brings the Commodores to 4-2 on the season and 0-1 in SEC.
Key matchups Thursday night
Georgia at Tennessee
Alabama at Mississippi State
Texas A&M at LSU
South Carolina at Vanderbilt