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Nov. 28, 2008

Box Score

CANCUN, Mexico – South Carolina women’s basketball battled to a 43-34 victory over Ohio to advance to the championship game of the Cancun Thanksgiving Classic tonight. The Gamecocks (2-2) forced the Bobcats into 26 turnovers and just four assists en route to the win. Seniors Brionna Dickerson and Demetress Adams led the way with 15 and 14 points, respectively.

The first half was a battle on the offensive end for both teams. The Gamecock defense forced Ohio into 15 turnovers and just 15.0 percent shooting in the period. Ohio scored the first basket of the game, but South Carolina went to seniors Dickerson and Adams to build a 6-2 lead three minutes into the game. Both teams went into a scoring drought from there with the Bobcats hitting 2-of-4 free throws to cut the lead to 6-4 before the Gamecocks scored a bucket, a Dickerson 15-foot jumper, eight minutes later.

Following another lengthy scoreless stretch, South Carolina pulled away with a six-point run. The Gamecocks scored largely in the post as Adams put a spin move on her defender and hit a layup from the right block to get things started. C.J. Pace drained a baseline jumper, and Jewel May closed the surge with a basket from the right block. Ohio’s Lauren Hmiel drove the lane to end her team’s 12-minute delay between baskets. Pace and Adams added four more points to close the half.

The Gamecocks opened the second half quickly with a pair of baskets from Lauren Falohun for a 22-8 margin with 16:50 left in the game. The teams traded points over the next six minutes before the Gamecocks put together a 9-0 run to push their lead to 41-18. LaKeisha Sutton started the spurt with a free throw, and Adams added four straight points on quick-strike layups. Dickerson’s 3-pointer, the first of the game of either team, made it a 23-point margin.

The Bobcats were not ready to quit, though, and put together a 9-0 run of their own by forcing a series of turnovers and missed shots as the Gamecocks looked to slow the pace of the game. With the gap down to 41-27 with 3:44 to go, Sutton stopped the surge with a free throw, but the Gamecocks’ work was not done. The Bobcats continued to surge as leading scorer Jenny Poff hit a pair of free throws and Jennifer Bushby sank her lone 3-pointer of the night to pull Ohio within 10 at the 2:13 mark. The Gamecocks continued to play in a delay but could not find the basket, but the defense was solid enough to hold on for the win.

May was the leading rebounder in the game with eight, and Adams was just behind with seven boards. No Bobcats reached double figures in points as Hmiel led the way with nine to go with her seven rebounds.

With the win, South Carolina advances to the championship game of the tournament and will face UNC Wilmington Saturday night at 7 p.m. (ET).