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Dec. 16, 2008

Box Score | Quotes

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COLUMBIA, S.C. – Four South Carolina players reached double-figure points as the Gamecocks powered past USC Upstate 71-57 in the first half of Tuesday night’s basketball doubleheader at Colonial Life Arena. South Carolina (5-3) got a game-high 24 points from freshman LaKeisha Sutton and saw senior Demetress Adams pour in her fourth double-double (16 pts/12 rebs) of the season, her second in as many games.

Even with a lineup depleted by injuries, the Gamecocks wasted little time getting offensive, quickly opening an 11-4 lead behind five points from Sutton. The lead reached double figures at 19-8 midway through the first half as Lauren Falohun opened a 6-0 run with a long jump shot followed by a pair of free throws from Sutton. Samone Kennedy, in her first start of the year, capped the surge with a steal and a layup. The Spartans did not let South Carolina go on a run bigger than that, but the steady offensive output of the Gamecocks held the differential between nine and 13 points for much of the half.

After taking a 38-29 lead into the locker room at halftime, the Gamecocks used a 14-4 spurt to extend the margin to 19 points with 13:11 left to play. Points came from all corners during the run as Brionna Dickerson opened with a free-throw line jumper, and Jewel May scored on a fast break. Sutton drove for a layup, and a Dickerson jump shot was sandwiched between a pair of buckets from Adams.

The Spartans would not let the Gamecocks rest on the wide margin, however, and used a 12-0 run to slice the lead down to 54-47 with 8:17 on the clock. South Carolina was one-and-done on the offensive end during the comeback, while Upstate found its rhythm on offense with Courtney Hawkins doing a lion’s share of the work.

Sutton sank a 3-pointer to stop the Spartan surge and get the Gamecocks back to a 10-point lead. It proved to be the final effort for Upstate, and South Carolina rolled through for the victory.

The Gamecocks shot 45.6 percent from the field and swiped 16 steals, including five from Adams. Dickerson joined Sutton and Adams in double figures with 15 points, and Kennedy rounded out the quartet with 10 points.

South Carolina has little time to celebrate the victory as No. 3/4 Stanford visits Colonial Life Arena on Fri., Dec. 19. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m., and the game will be broadcast live on SportSouth.