By The Associated Press
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Destanni Henderson had seven of her 11 points in a decisive third-quarter run as No. 1 South Carolina pulled away from Missouri 77-62 Thursday night for its 30th straight win against Southeastern Conference competition.
It was a satisfying win for South Carolina (16-2, 11-0 SEC), which was beaten at No. 2 UConn on Monday night only hours after returning to No. 1.
But Missouri (7-8, 3-7) made it difficult, trailing just 45-44 midway through the third quarter before Henderson took over. She hit a jumper, and then another driving basket where she was fouled. After missing the free throw, South Carolina rebounded and Henderson was open for a 3-pointer and a 52-44 lead with 2:30 left in the period.
Missouri could not respond and lost for the fifth time in its past seven games and fourth in a row to South Carolina.
No. 3 Louisville 85, Georgia Tech 70
Dana Evans scored 25 points in her home finale, Kianna Smith scored 13 of her 21 points in the third quarter and Louisville beat Georgia Tech.
The Cardinals (19-1, 12-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) won their third consecutive game and improved to 8-0 against the Yellow Jackets, with the senior All-American guard setting the initial tone. Evans had 13 points at halftime for her school-record 36th consecutive double-figure scoring effort that broke Angel McCoughtry’s previous mark set over the 2007-08 and ‘08-09 seasons.
Kierra Fletcher had 19 points, Loyal McQueen 14 and Nerea Hermosa 13 for the Yellow Jackets (11-5, 9-4).
No. 4 Nc State 86, Clemson 65
RALEIGH, N.C. — Kayla Jones scored 21 points and North Carolina State regrouped from an upset loss by beating Clemson.
Jakia Brown-Turner added 13 points for the Wolfpack, who had lost at unranked rival North Carolina last weekend. Against Clemson, N.C. State scored the first 12 points of the game on the way to a 17-2 lead in the opening 5 1/2 minutes.
N.C. State (13-2, 8-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) finished the game shooting nearly 52% while making 10 of 21 3-pointers, securing a 12th straight win in the series with that streak now stretching back more than a decade.
Delicia Washington had 24 points and eight rebounds for Clemson (10-8, 5-8).
No. 12 Michigan 62, Purdue 49
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Naz Hillmon scored 21 points, Leigha Brown added 20 and Michigan returned from a three-week COVID layoff with a win over Purdue.
The Wolverines had not played since Jan. 21, a memorable game in which Hillmon set school record for points — male or female — with 50 in an 81-77 loss to No. 11 Ohio State. A department-wide pause in athletic activity followed and six games were postponed.
The Wolverines (11-1, 6-1 Big Ten Conference) may have been a little rusty on offense but certainly not on defense. M
Kayana Traylor had 15 points for the Boilermakers (6-10, 3-6), who have lost four straight
No. 20 Kentucky 71, No. 16 Tennessee 56
Chasity Patterson scored 21 points and Kentucky was 10 of 20 from 3-point range to pull away for a win over Tennessee.
The Lady Vols, who won the first meeting 70-53 on Jan. 24, were without Rennia Davis, their leading rebounder (8.9) and second-leading scorer (14.5) because of COVID-19 protocol. Tennessee was off last week because of a coronavirus break.
The Wildcats (14-5, 7-4 Southeastern Conference) took control in the fourth quarter, going 5 for 5 from 3-point range and outscoring Tennessee 25-9. Patterson and Jazmine Massengill, who scored 11 points, both hit two treys in the fourth quarter.
Rae Burrell scored 22 points for the Lady Vols (12-4, 5-2) and Jordan Horston added 11.
No. 17 Gonzaga 79, San Francisco 66
SPOKANE, Wash. — Jill Townsend scored 19 points and Gonzaga won its 16th-straight game by ending San Francisco’s six-game winning streak.
The Bulldogs, who had a nine-game break, were sloppy with 24 fouls and 18 turnovers but made up for it by going 11 of 21 from 3-point range, shooting 50% overall and posting a 44-26 rebounding advantage.
Gonzaga also played stellar defense on San Francisco freshman star Ioanna Krimili, who came into the game scoring at least 23 points in the last five games. The West Coast Conference’s leading scorer at 19.1 points a game, was held to seven, three coming from the foul line.
Jenn Wirth scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds for Gonzaga (17-2, 12-0 WCC) and Kayleigh Truong added 11 points and five assists.
Lucie Hoskova topped the Dons (11-9, 7-7) with 19 points.
No. 18 Arkansas 86, Mississippi State 80
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Chelsea Dungee scored 22 points, surpassing 2,000 for her career, and her three free throws and a steal in the last 20 seconds helped Arkansas turn aside a second-half challenge from Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs, who trailed 48-35 at halftime, had closed to 71-69 midway through the fourth quarter when Dungee grabbed the rebound of a Razorbacks miss and put it back up, getting fouled and converting the three-point play.
She added two more, reaching 2,001 points, on a driving layup on the next possession and finishing at 2,004 career points.
Destiny Slocum led Arkansas (15-7, 5-6 Southeastern Conference) with 26 points on 11-of-15 shooting.
Myah Taylor led the Bulldogs (8-6, 3-5) with 22 points.
Rutgers 70, No. 21 Northwestern 54
EVANSTON, Ill. — Tyia Singleton scored a career-high 17 points, Tekia Mack had 16 points and 13 rebounds and Rutgers won its second straight following an eight-game break, topping Northwestern.
Neither team had a lead of more than seven points until Rutgers’ 12-1 run over the final 3:21. Mack and Diamond Johnson each made a basket during the run and the rest of the scoring came from the free-throw line. The Scarlet Knights hit 9 of 12 free throws in the fourth compared to Northwestern’s 11 makes overall.
Arella Guirantes scored 15 points with five assists and Johnson had 14 points, five rebounds and five assists for Rutgers (7-3, 3-3 Big Ten).
Jordan Hamilton scored 13 points, and Sydney Wood and Paige Mott each had 12 for Northwestern (11-5, 9-5),
No. 24 Georgia 74, Auburn 54
ATHENS, Ga. — Maya Caldwell had her first career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds to help Georgia beat Auburn.
Caldwell had six assists and made three 3-pointers for the Bulldogs (15-4, 7-4 SEC).
Unique Thompson had 22 points and 12 rebounds for the Tigers (5-14, 0-11), her 13th double-double of the season and 55th of her career. Honesty Scott-Grayson added 12 points.