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Jan. 25, 2007

Box Score | Quotes | Notes

Melanie Johnson pulled down her second double-double of the season Thursday night as the South Carolina women’s basketball team defeated Florida 79-51 at the Colonial Center. With the win, the Gamecocks improve to 12-9 overall and 2-4 in the SEC, while the Gators slipped to 6-15 overall and 0-6 in conference play.

Johnson scored 22 points – 19 coming in the second half – and a season-high 12 rebounds to lead the Gamecocks. She also enjoyed success against Florida last season, registering a career-high 27 points and 10 rebounds in the Carolina win.

Iva Sliskovic and Lauren Simms both inched closer to the 1,000-point plateau with Sliskovic scoring 12 points and Simms adding 10. Simms is now only 13 points shy of the mark while Sliskovic now needs 71 points to hit the plateau. Ilona Burgrova set a new career-high with five blocks, surpassing her previous high of four blocks set in 2005 against Tennessee.

The Gators claimed the opening tip and ensuing basket, but the Gamecock defense took control the rest of the way as Carolina went on a 25-3 run spanning the next 12 minutes. The Gamecocks held Florida scoreless for a span of eight minutes and five seconds during that run. Leading 24-5 with 7:52 remaining in the half, Florida found its stroke on a 8-1 run to cut Carolina’s lead to 25-12

A timeout called by Coach Susan Walvius provided spark to the team and the Gamecocks raced to an 8-0 run to increase its lead to 33-12 with 2:48 remaining in the half. The teams went into the half with Carolina enjoying a 35-16 lead, the second-lowest first-half total ever for the Gators against an SEC opponent.

Carolina was 16-of-40 (40 percent) from the field in the first half and limited the Gators at 6-of-32 (18.8 percent) in the opening stanza, including 2-of-21 to start the game. Thursday was the fourth time Carolina has limited an opponent to less than 20 percent shooting in a half, the last coming in a 95-35 drubbing against Alabama in Carolina’s last home contest.

Florida never closed within 17 points in the second half despite improving its shooting (42 percent) on a 14-of-33 effort from the field. The Gators finished the game shooting 31 percent while the Gamecocks hit 42 percent of their shots.

Carolina forced Florida into 24 turnovers and collected 17 steals, including three by Demetress Adams to match a season-high. The Gamecocks enjoyed a 34-10 advantage in points off turnovers. Carolina also collected 17 assists to Florida’s four in the game, the second lowest total the Gamecocks have allowed this season.

The Gamecocks return to action when they host Kentucky at 3 p.m. Sunday. The Wildcats won a 59-55 decision over South Carolina when the teams met in the conference opener earlier this season.