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Jan. 28, 2007

Box Score | Quotes | Notes

Melanie Johnson recorded her second consecutive double-double and tied her season high with 12 rebounds as the South Carolina women’s basketball team defeated Kentucky 66-56 Sunday afternoon at the Colonial Center. The win was South Carolina’s second consecutive conference victory as the Gamecocks improved to 13-9 overall and 3-4 in the SEC. Kentucky dropped to 14-8 overall and 3-4 in conference play.

Johnson collected 12 rebounds for the second consecutive game and scored a team-high 17 points after scoring only two points in the first half. Stacy Booker contributed nine points – all coming in the second half – along with six rebounds. Demetress Adams added nine points and Ilona Burgrova scored eight for the Gamecocks.

South Carolina entered the game No. 6 in the nation in rebounding margin at +10.8 on the season and outrebounded Kentucky 53-33 Sunday afternoon. The Gamecocks forced 19 turnovers in the game to keep its lead despite shooting 27 percent (10-of-37) in the first half and 32 percent (20-of-62) overall. For only the third time this season South Carolina did not register a three-point field goal, going 0-of-8 from beyond the arc.

The South Carolina defense came out early and forced a shot clock violation on Kentucky’s opening possession. Leading 11-10 with 12:45 remaining in the half, the Gamecocks went on a 10-2 run over the next six minutes to go ahead 21-12, their largest lead of the half. The Wildcats clawed back within reach in the closing minutes with Jennifer Humphrey hitting a free throw with 10 seconds remaining as Carolina went into the half with a 28-26 lead.

The Gamecocks forced 12 first half turnovers, six coming from steals. Carolina also enjoyed an early rebounding advantage of 24-17 after collecting 15 offensive boards in the first half.

Kentucky took its first lead of the second half, 38-37, but led for the final time, 44-43, when they hit a three-pointer with 9:09 remaining in the game. The Gamecocks proceeded on a 9-0 run started by a putback and free throw by Johnson. Booker grabbed a defensive rebound on Kentucky’s next possession and drove the length of the court to put in a layup between two defenders. A layup by Johnson and two free throws on Carolina’s next two possessions capped the run and the Gamecocks never trailed again.

The Wildcats were able to close within three points at 57-54, but the Gamecocks outscored Kentucky 9-2 over the final 3:18 to seal the 66-56 victory.

The Gamecocks return to action Thursday night when they travel to Knoxville, Tennessee to take on the No. 4 Tennessee Volunteers at 7 p.m.