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They always say, “It’s not how you start but how you finish” and the last few chapters in Kelsey Bone’s life have not just been a wonderful dream because of what she has accomplished, but in that she’s done it “her way”. Opening up the pages of history show how the results of today came from the pain of yesterday.
Jim Hu writing at SB Nation's Good Bull Hunting sums up the Texas A&M Aggies' 75-67 win over the Kentucky Wildcats in the SEC Tournament Championship not by focusing solely on star center Kelsey Bone but instead their response to the 40 Minutes of Dread defense.
On offense, A&M put on a passing clinic, finishing with 19 assists. As predicted, A&M repeatedly used the back door cuts to take advantage of [Wildcat] pressure and aggressively attacked downcourt. I was surprised how often the Ags were able to hit long outlets for fast breaks. Although the Ags had 18 turnovers, the same number as in Reed, the kinds of turnovers were very, very different. Today, the turnovers happened when a long outlet was just out of the reach of a streaking Maroon uniform.
Not that Bone's 14th double-double of the season wasn't impressive, but to get her the ball and beat Kentucky requires handling that pressure as well.
For more on the SEC tournament, visit our storystream.
In his preview of the 2013 SEC Championship game between the Kentucky Wildcats and the Texas A&M Aggies, Greg Alan Edwards at SB Nation's A Sea of Blue describes how the Wildcats have been winning with "whatever it takes to get the job done." And head coach Matthew Mitchell's style of whatever it takes basketball makes Kentucky hard to scout.
Matthew Mitchell has used a variety of coaching methods this last couple of weeks. He has played at a breakneck pace for both offense and defense, has used his deep bench to literally run his opponents for the entire game from start to finish on both sides of the ball, and he has used stretches of ball control offense to grind down the clock. As a result, no one really knows what he will have the UK Lady Wildcats doing today.
The Wildcats have been in this position three out of the last four seasons, playing for a championship. But the crown has evaded them in each of these attempts. Can Mitchell, the winningest coach in Kentucky women's basketball history, get it done? It's only taken him six season to reach that milestone - it seems it could be only hours before he helps the Wildcats to it's first SEC tournament title since 1982.
But if anyone can figure out what Mitchell is doing, it might be Gary Blair. We'll find out today at 6 p.m. ET, on ESPN2.
For more on the SEC tournament, check out our tournament storystream.
Jim Hu of SB Nation's Good Bull Hunting offered a preview of today's SEC championship game as the Texas A&M Aggies get what many teams do not - a third chance at obtaining an elusive win over the Kentucky Wildcats.
In both previous meetings the match up was tight, so it's reasonable to expect the same thing in this conference finals tilt. But in order for this to prove true, it's also reasonable to expect that the bench will play a huge role in getting the Aggies over the hurdle that is the Wildcats:
Against the WildCats, bench play will be important to keep the starters from wearing down ... After yesterday's win, Coach Blair talked about how his bench play reflected the Aggie tradition of the 12th Man. Against USC, Karla Gilbert stepped up when Bone went out. Yesterday it Tori Scott was called on to stop Taber Spani. Maybe today will bring another hero off the bench. Peyton Little is due to break out of her slump. Jordan Jones could jump into the spotlight on either offense or defense.
But expect the Kentucky bench to be just as deep, or possibly deeper, against the A&M:
Kentucky is deep. A'dia Mathies is the nationally known star, but O'Neill can get scary-hot behind the arc. Stallworth can go off in the post, and players like Bria Goss, Kastine Evans, Samarie Walker, and Janae Thompson are all quick and dangerous. Coach Mitchell uses his bench in waves to keep up the 40 minutes of hell style of play.
The gist is this - if you haven't already, it might be time to break out your roster card and look beyond Mathies and Bone before tuning in tonight at 6 p.m. ET
For more on this game as well as perspectives on yesterday's results, check out Good Bull Hunting and A Sea of Blue. For more on the SEC tournament as a whole, check out our SEC tournament storystream.
Despite 33 points from Tennessee's Taber Spani, the Texas A&M Aggies fought their way to an impressive 66-62 win.
It would be hard to consider this an "upset" despite the seeding differential simply because with only seven Lady Vols players available this game was actually a toss-up as described prior to the game. And as expected, rebounding made the difference, as described in a recap by Jim Hu of Good Bull Hunting.
Four Aggie starters scored in double digits, with Walker leading the Ags with 18. The Ags didn't match their FG% from Knoxville, but they won the rebounding battle this time, 36-28. The Ags did a great job of frustrating Simmons and Graves. Simmons had 10 points on 4-12 shooting with 4 turnovers. Graves was held to 4 pts and 5 boards. Cierra Burdick, who killed the Ags in Knoxville, was neutralized.
The result will probably have implications for tournament seeding, though a lot of that depends on what else occurs today.
For more on the SEC tournament, check out our tournament storystream.
In his preview of the Kentucky Wildcats' SEC tournament semifinal game against the Georgia Bulldogs, Greg Alan Edwards of SB Nation's A Sea of Blue described how coach Matthew Mithchell's rotations have helped the offense.
Whereas before the offense could control the pace of the game by slowing it down at times, Mitchell now has them stepping on the accelerator on offense too. By making 5 for 5 frontline and backline substitutions, using 4 minute segments, and allowing players to stay no more than those 4 minutes, he has fresh legs on the floor at all times. The combination of speed, skill, and depth is allowing a fresh, rested, and hungry Kentucky team to take the floor against Georgia today.
The other thing that could help the Wildcats: 3-point shooting. When they're getting up and down the floor and hitting threes, they're extremely difficult to beat.
Highlights from the Texas A&M Aggies' 61-52 win over South Carolina yesterday during which center Kelsey Bone suffered an injury early in the second half (at approximately 1:10 in the video above).
The quarterfinals of the 2013 SEC tournament saw the higher seeds advancing, but one player managed to shine even in a loss.
Highlights from the Kentucky Wildcats' 76-65 win over the Vanderbilt Commodores in 2013 SEC women's basketball tournament quarterfinals.
Greg Alan Edwards of SB Nation's A Sea of Blue offers his thoughts on the Kentucky Wildcats' meeting with the Vanderbilt Commodores today at 2:30 p.m. EDT in the 2013 SEC tournament, which could probably be boiled down to saying that turnovers - or not committing them - will be a key for today's game.
What Vanderbilt will do is not back down from UK's pressure, and fold like some teams do.
Vanderbilt likes to press some themselves, although not a lot, because they don't have the personnel for it. Vandy will play Kentucky tight, get all up in their jerseys in half court defense, and take advantage of every mistake UK makes. So, the formula is simple. Just do not make any mistakes.
Expect the game to be tight and close for a while, but I believe that UK will make short work of Vandy here.
For the game thread, head over to A Sea of Blue.
For more on the SEC tournament, check out our storystream.
Florida, meanwhile, will use an 8-player rotation. They eked out the win yesterday, but committed 21 turnovers in the process (many of which were unforced traveling violations). Perhaps some of that was tournament jitter, but if they have that kind of ball control trouble today this game will end quickly. They are a well balanced team, but they are also not special at any particular position. This is particularly good for Tennessee in the interior, where Graves won't have Harrison around to prevent double teams (though Burdick should help out here). Florida will also not want to get involved in a fast paced game (Arkansas opened up an 11 point lead almost entirely off fast breaks), so the more transition we see, the better Tennessee's odds are.
The game begins at noon EDT. Head over to RTT for their game thread and a brief rundown of every SEC tournament game today.
Greg Alan Edwards of SB Nation's A Sea of Blue looked back on star guard A'Dia Mathies' season and career the other day after she was named SEC Co-Player of the Year along with Meighan Simmons of Tennessee.
While Mathies has had something of an up and down year, Edwards explains why what might have been considered "disappearing" might not have been all that bad.
A'Dia knew that she could score when she wanted to, she could pad her stats and make herself look great to the writers and awards groups out there, and she would be raising her draft stock the entire time. And her team would have failed...All the while A'Dia kept picking and choosing her places to shine while also involving all of her teammates in the games. Matthew Mitchell's Forty Minutes game is not easy to play. It looks like chaos, but it takes patience. You have to know who to attack and when. You have to know when to run and when to choke teams off before they even reach the half-court line. That's where Mathies made her name this season.
Jim Hu over at SB Nation's Texas A&M site Good Bull Hunting previewed the Aggies' SEC tournament draw, suggesting that the loss on Senior Day - the fourth in five games - might not actually end up being such a bad thing.
As tough as it will be to get past S. Carolina, ironically, losing to LSU on Senior Day has the unintended benefit of avoiding a rubber match with Vandy or LSU...If A&M shakes off the late-season doldrums and takes care of S. Carolina, playing #1 Tenn might be a slightly easier path to the championship game than having to play UK again in the semis, simply because of injuries. Isabelle Harrison is out again, and Kamiko Williams sprained both ankles in the season finale. But it will all be moot if Coach Blair can't reenergize his youngsters.
Of course, just getting past South Carolina is no simple task and getting that done will be the Aggies' first order of business today.
For more on the SEC tournament, check out our SEC tournament storystream.
In the first full day of SEC play, Vanderbilt defeated Missouri 53-40.
With the SEC women's basketball tournament going into full swing tomorrow, we look at the next three days of games and draw on some of our SB Nation colleagues to make a few predictions.