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Fan favorites eliminated in SEC semis

Mar 9, 2013; Duluth, GA, USA; Kentucky Wildcats center DeNesha Stallworth (11) shoots over Georgia Bulldogs guard/forward Anne Marie Armstrong (3) in the first half during the semifinals of the SEC tournament at The Arena at Gwinnett Center. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Mar 9, 2013; Duluth, GA, USA; Kentucky Wildcats center DeNesha Stallworth (11) shoots over Georgia Bulldogs guard/forward Anne Marie Armstrong (3) in the first half during the semifinals of the SEC tournament at The Arena at Gwinnett Center. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

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Mar 9, 2013; Duluth, GA, USA; Texas A&M Aggies center Kelsey Bone (3) guards Tennessee Volunteers forward/center Bashaara Graves (12) in the second half during the semifinals of the SEC tournament at The Arena at Gwinnett Center. Texas A&M defeated Tennessee 66-62. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

DULUTH -- Veteran Texas A&M women's basketball coach Gary Blair walked over to press row moments after his team's 66-62 upset of top-seeded Tennessee with a message for a few friends on press row.

"We killed the attendance," Blair said, referring to today's Southeastern Conference Women's Basketball Tournament championship game.

By eliminating Tennessee, and its massive fan base, in the semifinals, his Aggies certainly dealt the attendance a big blow.

And Kentucky may have finished it off in the nightcap.

The Wildcats, ranked No. 7 in the nation, defeated the local Georgia Bulldogs 60-38 and eliminated that fan base a day short of today's championship game. UGA (25-6) led at halftime, but Kentucky (27-4) dominated the second half to reach the 6 p.m. title game against first-time SEC participant Texas A&M.

"Our kids got it together at halftime and now they've given themselves a chance to win a championship that we want very badly," Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell said.

The Wildcats trailed 24-19 at halftime and then 26-19 after UGA's Jasmine Hassell (17 points, nine rebounds) made the first basket of the second half. But they followed that with a game-changing 15-0 run and never looked back, outscoring the Bulldogs 41-14 in the second half.

UGA shot miserably throughout, outside of Hassell's 6-for-10 effort. It made 14 of 63 shots (22.2 percent), just 8 of 53 (15.1 percent) if Hassell's shooting wasn't factored in.

Bulldog standout guard Jasmine James was 4 of 14, Tiaria Griffin shot 1-for-10 and Wesleyan grad Anne Marie Armstrong was 1-for-13.

Kentucky was led by DeNesha Stallworth's 18 points. SEC co-player of the year A'dia Mathies added 11 points.

The Wildcats were 7-for-27 (25.9 percent) in the first half, but heated up to 16-for-29 (55.2 percent) in the second half.

No. 4 seed Texas A&M upset top seed Tennessee 66-62 in the day's first semifinal, fighting off a career-high 33 points from Volunteer senior Taber Spani.

The semifinal was tight in the closing moments, as neither team led by more than two points over the final six minutes Texas A&M (23-9) sealed its victory with two free throws by Courtney Walker with six seconds left. Walker led the Aggies with 18 points.

Texas A&M, ranked 19th nationally, took the lead at 64-62 with 35 seconds left on a jumper by Courtney Williams and Tennessee's attempt for a tie, a shot from Kamiko Williams with 11 seconds left, just missed. That forced the Volunteers (24-7) to foul Walker, who clinched the victory.

Walker was joined in double-figure scoring by teammates Kelsey Bone (15 points), Kristi Bellock (12 points, 12 rebounds) and Adrianne Pratcher (15 points).

Spani's huge day for ninth-ranked Tennessee came on 11 of 13 shooting, including 5 of 6 from 3-point range. Meighan Simmons (10 points) was the only other Volunteer in double figures.