SEC Tournament
LSU guard Alexis Morris (45) shoots against Mississippi State forward Jessika Carter (4) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023, in Baton Rouge, La. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)

Court is set for SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament

The SEC women’s basketball tournament is set with 14 teams in the SEC looking to reach the final Sunday.

The tournament runs from Wednesday through Sunday in Greenville, South Carolina, at the Ben Secours Wellness Arena.

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First Round

The tournament begins with two first-round showdowns on Wednesday.

No. 13 Texas A&M plays No. 12 Vanderbilt, followed by No. 14 Kentucky facing No. 11 Florida.

The Aggies (7-19, 2-14 SEC) and the Commodores (12-18, 3-12 SEC) both enter with defeats against No. 8 Arkansas and No. 10 Auburn, respectively. Vanderbilt averages 67.5 points per game compared to Texas A&M’s 55.2, the lowest in the SEC.

Vandy senior guard Ciaja Harbison is second in the SEC in points per game (19.8) and assists per game (4.5). She is first in the SEC in steals per game (2.4).

The second game of the day will see the Wildcats (10-18, 2-14 SEC) face the Gators (16-13, 5-11 SEC), who enter the tournament on a two-game winning streak.

Leilani Correa put on a show against Missouri in the final game of the regular season, leading the Gators to a 61-52 win with 17 points and 16 rebounds. Florida averaged 69.5 points and Kentucky averaged 67.4 points per game in the regular season.

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Nonetheless, the victors will meet tough competition in the second round against No. 5 Mississippi State and No. 6 Alabama.

Second Round

To start Thursday’s matchups, No. 9 Missouri (17-12, 6-10 SEC) faces No. 8 Arkansas (20-11, 7-9 SEC).

The Razorbacks averaged 72.8 points per game in the regular season compared to Mizzou’s 65 ppg.

Arkansas forward Erynn Barnum leads the SEC in field goal percentage with 57.3%. The winner of this matchup faces the No. 1 team in the nation, South Carolina.

Mississippi State (20-9, 9-7 SEC) has a second-round bye after being given the No. 5 seed, awaiting the winner of Texas A&M and Vanderbilt. Also with a bye in the second round is No. 6 Alabama (20-9, 9-7 SEC), playing either Kentucky or Florida.

Auburn (15-13, 5-11 SEC) secured the No. 10 seed after beating Vanderbilt 78-76 in the final regular season game. They play No. 7 Georgia (20-10, 9-7 SEC). The Bulldogs beat the Tigers in the regular season 70-59 behind Diamond Battles’ 21-point performance and the team’s average of 10.5 steals per game, the best in the SEC.

Quarterfinals

The top four seeds await the winners in the quarterfinals of the tournament on Friday.

No. 1 South Carolina (29-0, 16-0 SEC) is one of the favorites to win the SEC championship as they await the winner of Arkansas vs. Missouri. The Gamecocks average 81.3 ppg and lead the SEC in rebounds per game (50.1), assists per game (16.2) and blocks per game (9).

Ole Miss (22-7, 11-5 SEC) secured the No. 4 seed after beating the Crimson Tide 57-55 behind Marquesha Davis’s 26 points to close out the regular season. The Rebels have a two-game bye as they wait for the first-round (Texas A&M vs. Vanderbilt) and second-round (Mississippi State vs. TBD) winners.

The LSU Tigers tied their best season record (27-1, 15-1) in program history, earning them the No. 2 seed. They lead the SEC in points per game (84.8) and had the highest field goal percentage (47.2%). The Tigers await Georgia or Auburn in the quarterfinals.

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Tennessee has the No. 3 seed after finishing the season 21-10 (13-3 SEC). Averaging 77.6 points per game, the Lady Vols, arguably, have the easiest path to the semifinals on Saturday. The first-round winner between Florida and Kentucky will play Alabama for a place in the quarterfinal against the Vols.

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