Jones leads Florida past Auburn 70-60 in SEC women's tournament

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Collins Hill grad 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, while Buford grad Blanche Alverson scored 16 points.

Vanderbilt 67, Mississippi State 51 NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Christina Foggie scored 18 points, and Vanderbilt beat Mississippi State 67-51 Thursday afternoon in the opening round of the Southeastern Conference tournament. The seventh-seeded Commodores (22-8) play 13th-ranked Tennessee in the quarterfinals today. 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 Norcross grad Tiffany Clarke each had 10. The Bulldogs pulled within 40-37 with a 9-0 run with 12:20 left on Diamber Johnson's 3-pointer, set up by Mill Creek grad Porsha Porter's steal, but never got closer than three as Vandy pushed back the lead. Foggie's 3 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, Ole Miss 47 NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- C'eira Ricketts scored 10 points and Arkansas beat Mississippi 67-47 on Thursday night in the first round of the Southeastern Conference tournament. The fifth-seeded Razorbacks (22-7) will face fourth-seeded LSU in the quarterfinals today. Arkansas scored the first eight points of the game 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 3-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. N.C. State 74, Florida St. 71 GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Marissa Kastanek scored 21 points to help North Carolina State beat Florida State 74-71 in Thursday's first round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. Emili Tasler hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:23 left for the ninth-seeded Wolfpack (17-14), then Myisha Goodwin-Coleman scored with 43.2 seconds left to put N.C. State up three. Alexa Deluzio missed a midrange shot on the Seminoles' final possession. Tasler rebounded and found Kastanek to dribble out the clock. N.C. State rallied from 10 down to win its tournament opener for the third time in as many seasons under Kellie Harper. It faces fifth-ranked and top-seeded Duke in Friday's quarterfinals. Deluzio scored 26 for the eighth-seeded Seminoles (14-17), who didn't have a basket in the final 4-1/2 minutes and fell to 6-21 all-time in the tournament. Goodwin-Coleman finished with 16 points and seven assists for N.C. State, while Bonae Holston added 15 points and 12 rebounds. Wake Forest 80, Virginia Tech 74 GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Lakevia Boykin scored 22 points to help Wake Forest beat Virginia Tech 80-74 in Thursday's first round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. Chelsea Douglas tied her career high with 21 points for the seventh-seeded Demon Deacons (18-12), including seven during a 14-2 second-half run. Wake Forest won its tournament opener for the fourth straight year and advanced to Friday's quarterfinals against No. 7 Miami. Monet Tellier scored 23 for the 10th-seeded Hokies (7-23), who finished with nine straight losses. Virginia Tech hasn't won a tournament game since 2007. Wake Forest beat Virginia Tech 68-39 at home last weekend, but the teams were tied with about 10 minutes left before Douglas sparked the clinching run that made it 61-49 with 6:33 left. Virginia Tech twice got within four late, but Wake Forest hit four free straight throws in the final 30 seconds to seal it. North Carolina 90, Clemson 51

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Freshman Brittany Rountree scored 21 points on seven 3-pointers to help North Carolina beat Clemson 90-51 in Thursday's first round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.

The fifth-seeded Tar Heels (20-10) led by 49 after halftime and earned their biggest victory margin in an ACC tournament game. They avenged a 52-47 home loss to Clemson in January and face No. 15 Georgia Tech in Friday's quarterfinals.

Nikki Dixon scored 14 for the 12th-seeded Tigers (6-22).

North Carolina shot 29 percent and 1 for 17 from 3-point range in the first meeting. This time, the Tar Heels shot 49 percent, including 55 percent after halftime, and scored 33 points off 25 turnovers.

Rountree had four 3s to help UNC build a 44-25 halftime lead and her seven 3s tied a tournament record. She had five against Duke last weekend and has hit 12 of 17 3-pointers in the past two games.