March 21, 2007
COLUMBIA, S.C — The South Carolina women’s basketball team fell to Hofstra, 64-59, in the third round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament Wednesday night at the Colonial Center. The Gamecocks ended their season with an 18-15 record while Hofstra improved to 26-7 and moves on to the WNIT quarterfinals where it will face the winner of a game between Mississippi State and Western Kentucky.
Though it handily out-rebounded Hofstra, 51-38, South Carolina could not overcome 20 turnovers and 33.8 percent shooting from the field. The Gamecocks had chances to close the gap, but were unable to make enough plays down the stretch to steal a win.
The opening half was a back and forth affair with the lead changing hands five times. Hofstra took the lead during a Gamecock scoring drought that lasted more than five minutes. Brionna Dickerson hit a jumper with 7:13 remaining and the Gamecocks did not score again until Lauren Simms, who led Carolina with eight first-half points, nailed a runner with 1:38 on the clock. With Carolina struggling from the field, hitting just 9-of-32 shots from the field, a modest 9-3 run by the Pride was enough for a 27-23 lead at halftime.
Behind a continued physical defensive effort, Hofstra maintained its lead for the remainder of the game. The Pride held on to its advantage through the first 10 minutes of the second half and peaked the lead at seven with 10:37 to play. The Gamecocks finally tied the game at 48 on a made basket from Tolliver with 8:23 remaining, but The Pride went up 50-48 at the 7:50 mark and after another 50-50 tie, Carolina was left playing catch up the rest of the way.
Simms led South Carolina in scoring by knocking down 12 points. She also grabbed seven boards in her final game. Tolliver joined Simms in double figures with 10 points and eight rebounds. Demetress Adams chipped in with seven points and eight rebounds.
With three first-half blocks, Tolliver broke the South Carolina single season record. Tolliver’s 60 blocks moved her ahead of Teresa Geter’s mark of 58, which was set in 2000-01. Carolina blocked eight shots tonight and also set a new team single season record. The Gamecocks’ 199 blocks surpassed the 2005-06 team’s 193.
Lizanne Murphy paced Hofstra with 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting and Vanessa Gidden added 17 and six rebounds.
The victory was the third of the season against power conference team for Hofstra. The Pride also defeated Michigan State in East Lansing, Mich., and topped Seton Hall in the second round of the WNIT.
Carolina’s 18-15 record represents the third-highest win total of head coach Susan Walvius’ tenure. The Gamecocks won 15 home games, tying a school record.
Tonight’s game was the last in a South Carolina uniform for six seniors as Simms, Lea Fabbri, Shannel Harris, Stacy Booker, Iva Sliskovic and Larissa Kulcsar concluded their Gamecock careers.