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Jan. 18, 2009

Box Score

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – South Carolina led for most of the first half, but saw No. 13/15 Tennessee open the second half with a 17-4 run en route to a hard fought 68-56 win over the Gamecocks Sunday afternoon at Thompson-Boling Arena. Senior Brionna Dickerson scored 17 points to lead all scorers, netting 14 of those in the first half behind four 3-pointers, and freshman Charenee Stephens grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.

The Gamecocks led in the first half at every media time out, although the Lady Vols took a 33-30 lead into the locker room. South Carolina rode the momentum of Brionna Dickerson’s three straight 3-pointers early to open an 11-7 lead at the first media time out. With Dickerson forcing the Lady Vols to extend their defense, the inside opened up, and C.J. Pace and Demetress Adams added back-to-back buckets to extend the lead to 16-9 with 13:37 left in the half.

Tennessee put together consecutive baskets just once early in the period, and the Gamecocks had a six-point lead at the 8:44 mark after Pace fought for a put-back underneath. The Lady Vols grew more active on the defensive end, and, generating a series of Gamecock turnovers, surged ahead with a 7-0 run, including a pair of offensive rebounds for Shekinna Strickland. Her final putback, off a missed free throw, put the Lady Vols up 27-26 with 7:20 left in the half. The teams traded the lead four more times going into the locker room.

The Lady Vols exploded out of the locker room with a 17-4 run to take a 50-34 lead less than halfway through the period. The Gamecocks struggled with turnovers and could not control the glass on either end of the floor. Tennessee used the open floor to create easy buckets off both steals and defensive rebounds, scoring three straight layups in transition to cap the surge with 11:48 left in the half.

The Gamecocks rallied for a 6-0 run, started by Charenee Stephens with a short jumper from the left side. Samone Kennedy hit one of two free throws, and Adams capped it with an offensive rebound, a put-back and a free throw to cut the Lady Vols’ lead to 50-40 with 10:28 left to play. Another 6-0 run for the Gamecocks brought the Gamecocks within seven at 60-53 at the 6:09 mark. Jewel May kicked off the spurt with a putback for her first points of the night. Kennedy again hit 1-of-2 from the free-throw line, and Lakeisha Sutton hit a 3-pointer from the left baseline.

Alyssia Brewer and Stricklen went back-to-back for Tennessee, and the lead was at 10 points for over three minutes as neither team could find the basket until Amber Gray broke through with a driving layup for a 66-54 Tennessee lead with one minute left to play.

Adams finished with nine points and eight rebounds, and Kennedy handed out a season-high seven assists for the Gamecocks. Alex Fuller led Tennessee with 14points, while Stricklen picked up a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, including eight on the offensive end.

South Carolina stays on the road this week, traveling to Mississippi on Thu., Jan. 22, for an 8 p.m. (ET) tipoff before returning to Colonial Life Arena for a 3 p.m. matchup with No. 18/18 Vanderbilt on Sun., Jan. 25.