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Dec. 30, 2008

Box Score | Quotes

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COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina women’s basketball opened well and held on late for a 58-50 win over Jacksonville this afternoon at Colonial Life Arena. The Gamecocks’ (7-5) three seniors all reached double figures as South Carolina shot 45.2 percent to Jacksonville’s 29.0 percent and out-rebounded the Dolphins 45-24. Brionna Dickerson led the way with 15 points, while Demetress Adams and C.J. Pace followed just behind with 14 and 13 points, respectively.

The Gamecocks stormed out of the gate and staked a 19-4 lead less than seven minutes into the game. The team’s first four baskets came from four different sources before Pace followed her long jumper with a 3-pointer from the top of the key for an 11-2 Gamecock lead. Jewel May got in the scoring column with a pair of free throws, followed by buckets from Dickerson, Adams and Pace, in that order for the Gamecocks’ largest lead of the game with 13:34 left in the first half.

The teams traded points for the Gamecocks to lead 21-6 before the Dolphins found their stride to embark on a 16-4 surge that pulled them within three with just under two minutes left in the half. Crystal Grable kicked off the spurt with a put-back the converted a traditional three-point play on the next possession. Desarae Johnson swiped a steal for a layup and DaVina Hamilton put back a missed shot to get the Dolphins within six at 21-15. Dickerson finally stopped the streak with a long jump shot at the 6:34 mark, nearly six minutes after the last Gamecock points. It appeared the Gamecocks had stemmed the tide when Regina Omoite drained a 3-pointer from the left baseline to cut the Carolina lead to just 25-22. The Gamecocks managed back-to-back buckets for the first time since the 13:34 mark to take a 28-22 lead into the break.

Carolina pushed the lead back up to 12 points at 41-29 with 13:54 left to play. The Dolphins turned up the defensive pressure, forcing three straight turnovers and converting at the free-throw line to cut the lead in half with a tick under 10 minutes on the clock. The Gamecocks held the margin for the next few minutes then put together a 5-0 spurt behind free throws and a May put-back of a missed free throw to take a 48-37 lead at the 6:57 mark.

The Dolphins were not finished, however, again ramping up the full-court pressure to force a spate of Gamecock turnovers. Johnson opened the eight-point push with a long jump shot and capped it with a free-throw line jumper off an in-bound play with just under two minutes left in the game.

With the game in the balance, Adams and Dickerson stepped up to guide the gamecocks, scoring the next three points to get the lead back to six, and the team combined to go 5-of-6 from the free-throw line in the final minute to hold off the Dolphins.

May narrowly missed joining the seniors in double figures with nine points to go with a game-high nine rebounds. Adams grabbed eight boards, and Pace pulled down seven. Hamilton was the leading scorer for Jacksonville, netting 16 points.

South Carolina closes the non-conference portion of its schedule at N.C. State on Sun., Jan. 4, at 2 p.m. before opening SEC action against No. 9/10 Auburn on Thu., Jan. 8, at 7 p.m. at Colonial Life Arena.