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Dec. 19, 2008

Box Score | Quotes

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COLUMBIA, S.C.–After trailing by nine at the half, South Carolina struggled on offense in the second period and fell to No. 3/4 Stanford 78-47 tonight at Colonial Life Arena. The Gamecocks (5-4) lost the battle of the boards 53-21 against the solid frontline of Stanford (8-2) as C.J. Pace was Carolina’s leader on the glass with six rebounds compared to Stanford’s Kayla Pedersen and Jayne Appel, who each recorded a double-double on the night.

“In the first half, I thought we came out well and were in the game,” South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley said. “We were doing things that we worked on for the past week, and I thought we looked pretty good. We got beat by a good basketball team, a team that came off a loss [at Duke] that they didn’t take kindly to. You have to learn from losses. You have to take good and bad things from it. There are certainly a lot of good things we’ll take from it. But there are things we will learn from. We got beat by a good rebounding team, a big body team and a well-coached basketball team. For our young players to play the way they played, I think it’s promising going into the SEC season.”

The Gamecocks came out aggressive on both ends of the floor in the first half, forcing Stanford out of what it wanted to do on offense. Demetress Adams asserted herself early with a free-throw line jumper for an early 2-1 Gamecock lead. The Cardinal got a 3-pointer from Rosalyn Gold-Onwude on the left baseline, and Nnemkadi Ogwumike spun in the lane for a layup and a 6-2 margin. Jewel May hit a free throw on the other end, and Brionna Dickerson opened her 11-point night with a long jumper to cut the Stanford lead to one a 6-5.

Stanford put together a 6-0 run to stake a 10-point lead at the 12:56 mark, going exclusively to Appel and Pedersen in the lane. South Carolina answered with quickness on the offensive end as Samone Kennedy drove the right side of the lane for a layup, then hit a 15-foot jumper early in the next possession. Dickerson brought the Gamecocks within four with a long jumper at the top of the key before Stanford’s Hannah Donaghe stopped the spurt with a driving layup.

A 5-0 spurt for the Cardinal stretched the lead back to nine at the 6:44 mark of the half with Melanie Murphy accounting for three of the five points. South Carolina freshman LaKeisha Sutton curled in the lane for a layup then hit the Gamecocks’ only 3-pointer of the night from the top of the key for a 21-28 deficit with 5:43 to play in the period. South Carolina put together a 5-2 rally behind Sutton’s pair of free throws and a driving layup to close within six points, 34-28, with just over 90 seconds in the period. Stanford’s Lindy La Rocque hit a 3-pointer moments later to extend the lead heading into the locker room.

In the second half, the Cardinal began to pull away with a series of four and six-point spurts that the Gamecocks could not answer. The got a lion’s share of the points in the paint and on offensive rebounds as the gap on the glass widened quickly from 25-12 in the first half to 28-9 in the second half. Meanwhile, the Gamecock offense worked for the shots that fell in the first half, only to find them rim out in the second, hitting just 5-of-20 from the field in the second stanza.

Sutton led the team with 13 points, and Dickerson added 11. Adams ended the night with nine points on 3-of-6 shooting. Pedersen netted 15 points to go with 16 rebounds, while Appel added 15 points and 14 boards for the Cardinal. South Carolina protected the ball well, committing season-low 12 turnovers but managed just four assists on 15 made baskets.

The Gamecocks have just one day to prepare for their next battle as Charlotte comes to Colonial Life Arena for a 1:30 p.m. tipoff on Sun., Dec. 21. The game will be televised live on SportSouth.