UK Women's Basketball

Florida advances to face Kentucky

NASHVILLE — Jordan Jones scored 17 points as eighth-seeded Florida beat ninth-seeded Auburn 70-60 on Thursday in the first round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament.

The game marked the end of Auburn Coach Nell Fortner's career. Fortner announced on Feb. 21 she was retiring after her eighth season with the Tigers and 18th year as a head coach.

The Gators (19-11) led by as many as 18 points in the second half and held a 57-41 lead when Hasina Muhammad tipped in a shot for Auburn. That basket launched a 10-2 run that cut Florida's lead to eight points with 2:46 to play, but the Tigers wouldn't get any closer.

Florida scored 20 points off 13 Auburn turnovers. The Gators gave away the ball 14 times, but those turnovers only led to eight points for the Tigers (13-17).

Muhammad led Auburn with 20 points.

Florida will face top-seeded Kentucky on Friday.

Vanderbilt 67, Mississippi State 51: Christina Foggie scored 18 points, and Vanderbilt beat Mississippi State in the opening round of the SEC Tournament. The seventh-seeded Commodores (22-8) play 13th-ranked Tennessee in the quarterfinals Friday.

Mississippi State finished 14-16, not putting up much of a fight in Coach Sharon Fanning-Otis' last game before retiring from coaching. Vanderbilt scored 12 of the first 14 points and led 34-22 at halftime.

Jasmine Lister added 13 points, and Stephanie Holzer and Tiffany Clarke each had 10.

The Lady Bulldogs pulled within 40-37 with a 9-0 run with 12:20 left on Diamber Johnson's three-pointer, set up by Porsha Porter's steal, but never got closer than three as Vandy regained its big lead. Foggie's three with 2:35 left gave Vandy its biggest lead to that point, 62-46.

Johnson and Porter each had 12 points for Mississippi State.

Arkansas 67, Mississippi 47: C'eira Ricketts scored 10 points and Arkansas beat Mississippi in the first round of the SEC Tournament. The fifth-seeded Razorbacks (22-7) will face fourth-seeded LSU in the quarterfinals on Friday.

Arkansas scored the first eight points and never trailed. Nikki Byrd scored the first basket for the 12th-seeded Rebels (12-18) on a layup with 14:15 left in the first half.

The Razorbacks shot 49 percent from the floor and sank 9 of 18 from three-point range. They expanded their lead to 20 points with 6:09 to go in the first half and led by as many as 25 points in the second half.

Mississippi hit 38 percent of its shots and turned the ball over 23 times, which led to 28 points for Arkansas.

Danielle McCray led the Rebels with 14 points.

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader