GREENSBORO, S.C. (AP) — Ariyah Copeland scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds on Thursday night and seventh-seeded Alabama turned back 10th-seeded Missouri 82-74 in the second round of the Southeastern Conference tournament.
The Crimson Tide (16-8), who have lost seven times to ranked SEC opponents, faces second-seeded and seventh-ranked South Carolina in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Missouri (9-11) weathered Alabama’s red-shot start to tie the game at 71 on Haley Troup’s 3-pointer with 5:14 to play. Allie Craig Cruce answered with a 3-pointer, her only points of the game and Copeland had a three-point play. Meanwhile the Tigers were just 1 of 10 to finish the game.
Megan Abrams added 19 points, Jordan Lewis 16 and Hannah Barber and Jasmine Walker 11 each for Alabama.
Aijha Blackwell had a career-high 28 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for Missouri and Shug Dickson scored 12 points. Blackwell had four 3-pointers and five teammates had two each.
Alabama made its first nine shots, going 4 of 6 behind the arc and 6 of 6 inside, and used the 83.3% shooting to take a 28-18 lead after one quarter. Missouri trailed by as many as 13 despite making 4 of 5 3-pointers and shooting 80%.
Both teams cooled off in the second quarter, the Crimson Tide going 4 of 13, and the Tigers closed within 40-30 at halftime.
Blackwell had a 7-0 run, capped by a three-point play at the 2:51 mark that gave Missouri it’s first lead at 53-52. Blackwell had 13 in the quarter which ended tied at 52.
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