Nov. 14, 2006
Columbia, S.C. – The South Carolina women’s basketball team could not make-up for a cold shooting night against Penn State as the Lady Lions claimed a 68-57 win Tuesday night at Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pa. With the loss, the Gamecocks dropped to 1-1. Penn State improves to 3-0.
The Gamecocks hit 27.8% from the field in the first half (10-of-36) and fared no better in the second half at 26% (7-of-27).
“When you have that (percentage of shooting), you have to (win) it with defense,” USC head coach Susan Walvius said. “I thought our team for a period did a good job in the first half. In the second half we just could not get shots to fall. It’s a tough place to play. There’s a lot of emotion and energy in this building. You will have those nights and we had ours tonight.”
Lauren Simms scored all 12 of her points in the second half to lead the Gamecocks. Iva Sliskovic also scored in double-digits with 10 points while freshman Kellindra Zackery earned her first field goals of the season to finish with nine points.
Senior Shannel Harris, playing with a broken shooting hand suffered in Carolina’s opening win against East Tennessee State, was perfect from the field (2-for-2) for four points while also contributing four rebounds, one block, one assist and one steal.
“I was really impressed with Shannel Harris,” Walvius said. “She’s playing with a hurt hand and had some casting, but she came out and played great defense for us and was a leader on the court.”
South Carolina had trouble shooting from the start, hitting only 3-of-25 from the field in the first 14 minutes and allowing the Lady Lions jump to an early 12 point lead (25-13). However, the defense by the Gamecocks began to pick up the pace as they forced 12 Penn State turnovers in the middle of an 18-6 South Carolina run that tied the game going into the half.
Despite the shooting and foul problems, the Gamecocks took care of the ball, only committing four turnovers and enjoying a 12-2 advantage on points from turnovers in the first half.
Any momentum that the Gamecocks carried into the locker room at the half was erased early as the Lady Lions opened the second period on an 10-0 run. Melanie Johnson picked up her fourth personal foul with 14:43 remaining as things continued to go wrong for Carolina until Lea Fabbri hit a trey – Carolina’s first of the game after going 0-for-6 in the first half – to end the run and put the score to 41-34. Lauren Simms then responded with three consecutive baskets for Carolina with a three-pointer, a jumper and then another three-pointer to pull the Gamecocks within five points at 46-42 with under 10-minutes remaining.
Melanie Johnson, the SEC Player of the Week, returned to the game with 7:22 remaining but was whistled for an offensive foul two seconds later with the score 52-46. Johnson became the first Gamecock to foul out of a game this season.
The Carolina shooting woes continued after Johnson’s exit as the Lady Lions were able to pull away for good. Penn State increased the lead to as many as 12 points (61-49) before the final buzzer.
Tyra Grant led the Lady Lions with a game-high 19 points after hitting 12-of-13 from the free-throw line.
The Gamecocks return to action when they host North Carolina A&T State University at 7 p.m. Friday at the Colonial Center. The game will be broadcast live on WISW 1320 AM Radio with Brad Heller handling play-by-play and Robin Muller providing analysis.