Feb. 1, 2007
Knoxville, Tenn. – The South Carolina women’s basketball team turned the ball over a season-high 34 times as they fell to No. 3 Tennessee, 72-36, Thursday night at Thompson-Boling Arena. Tennessee scored 31 points off Carolina’s turnovers and improved to 16-0 against the Gamecocks in Knoxville.
With the loss, the Gamecocks drop to 13-10 overall and 3-5 in the SEC while the Lady Vols improve to 20-2 overall and 7-0 in conference play.
Ilona Burgrova led the Gamecocks with eight points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots and Melanie Johnson also added eight points. Tennessee’s Candace Parker scored a game-high with 13 points and 12 rebounds despite being limited to two field goals made. Parker converted on 8-of-10 free throws to score in double figures. Shannon Bobbitt also added 13 points with Alberta Auguste contributing 10 points and five steals for Tennessee.
The Lady Vols held Carolina to their second-lowest first half scoring output in school history after taking a 37-11 halftime lead. Despite holding the Tennessee offense in check in the opening minutes – allowing only four points in the first five minutes of play – Carolina’s offense was stagnant in the first half as the Lady Vols opened the game on a 16-0 run over the first nine minutes of play. The Gamecocks did not score their first points until Johnson made a layup with 10:10 remaining in the first half to make the score 16-2.
The Gamecocks, who committed 14 turnovers overall in each of the past two games, turned the ball over 18 times in the opening half. Carolina managed to hit 29 percent of their shots in the first half (5-of-17) while the Lady Vols hit 42 percent (13-of-31) to open the game.
Only three Gamecocks scored in the first half as Burgrova led the team with seven points in the opening half on 3-of-3 shooting. Johnson and Lauren Simms both added two points in the opening stanza as eight Lady Vols balanced the scoring to increase the lead heading into the half.
The Lady Vols increased the lead to 36 points in the second half with the score 61-25 before the Gamecocks put together a 7-0 run in 58 seconds to cut the lead to 62-32 with 3:30 remaining. Johnson’s layup with 2:46 remaining pushed the score to 64-34, passing the school-record low of 33 points the Gamecocks scored in 1997 at Vanderbilt. The lead swelled to as many as 38 points, 72-34, in the final seconds before Demetress Adams made a jump shot with 17 seconds remaining for the final margin.
Senior point guard Lea Fabbri returned to the court Thursday night after missing the previous four games with an ankle injury sustained in the win against Alabama.
Junior Lakesha Tolliver, who entered the game third in the SEC in blocks per game (1.77), continued her streak of consecutive games with a block to 16 games after rejecting a shot early in the first half. Tolliver has blocked at least two shots in 12 of the last 13 games after blocking her second shot of the night in the closing minutes of the second half.
The Gamecocks return action Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. when they host No. 7 LSU at the Colonial Center. The Tigers will be the sixth team ranked in the top-25 that Carolina will face this season as the Gamecocks search for their first victory against a ranked opponent.