Smith, Gators get last run, top Auburn in SEC women’s opener

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — Kiki Smith scored 19 points, Danielle Rainey added 13 and 12th-seeded Florida opened the Southeastern Conference tournament with a 69-62 win over 13th-seeded Auburn on Wednesday after blowing an 18-point third quarter lead.

Both teams had a pair of double-digit runs in the second half, the Gators getting the last one that was enough to propel them into the quarterfinals against fifth-seeded and 17th-ranked Kentucky on Thursday.

Auburn, trailing by 18, closed third quarter with a 12-0 run and scored another 11 straight after a Florida basket to open the fourth quarter, taking a 57-54 lead.

Kristina Moore then hit a 3-pointer and Rainey two more as the Gators scored 12 straight for a 66-57 lead with 3:51 to go and that was enough.

Moore finished with 11 points for the Gators (11-11), who ended a four-game losing streak. Smith also reach 1,002 points for her career.

Alaina Rice led Auburn (5-19), which lost its 17th straight, with 15 points. Unique Thompson scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for her 58th career double-double, seventh in SEC history. Honesty Scott-Grayson added 12 points.

Florida led 33-32 at the half and scored the first 13 of the second half, turning that into a 20-2 surge for a 52-34 lead.

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More AP women’s basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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