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Nov. 22, 2009

Box Score | Box Score in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader | Quotes

Coach Staley
Charenee Stephens and Kelsey Bone
Team Stats Comparison
Points 63 56
FG Made-Attempted 19-63 (30.2%) 18-63 (28.6%)
3P Made-Attempted 4-14 (28.6%) 2-9 (22.2%)
FT Made-Attempted 21-34 (61.8%) 18-27 (66.7%)
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (0) 25 (0)
Game Leaders
South Carolina Penn State
Points V. Nainima 18 T. Grant 18
Rebounds C. Stephens 11 N. Greene 9
Assists 3 players with 3 A. Bentley 3
Steals S. Kennedy 4 5 players with 1
Blocks A. Bruner 3 Green/Grant 2
Next 5 Games
South Carolina Penn State
11/26 vs. Oklahoma (Paradise Jam) 1 PM 12/2 Georgia Tech
11/27 vs. Notre Dame (Paradise Jam) 1 PM 12/6 @ Minnesota
11/28 vs. San Diego State (Paradise Jam) 1 PM 12/9 Monmouth
12/2 High Point 11 AM Buy Tickets 12/12 Pittsburgh
12/13 N.C. State 2 PM Buy Tickets 12/21 Oakland

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina battled for a hard-fought 63-56 win over Penn State in the women’s basketball home opener at Colonial Life Arena Sunday afternoon. The Lady Lions (3-1) erased a 13-point halftime deficit to claim a lead midway through the second half, but the Gamecocks (2-1) stayed aggressive and were able to hold on for the win behind heady inside play and rebounding from the frontcourt tandem of sophomore Charenee Stephens, who finished the day with a career-high 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Kelsey Bone.

Neither team shot the ball well in the first half, but the Gamecocks took a 28-15 lead into the locker room behind five free throws and a last-second 3-pointer from Valerie Nainima in the final minute of the half.

The Lady Lions opened the second half on fire, out-scoring the Gamecocks 14-1 in the opening 4:30 of the period to knot the game at 29-29. Stephens stopped the skid with a baseline drive, and Bone followed with a put-back and a drive in the lane to put the Gamecocks back up 35-29 with 14:15 on the clock.

Penn State’s Naismith Watch List senior Tyra Grant cut that lead in half with a 3-pointer from the right side, and Zhaque Gray put the Lady Lions on top for the first time since the opening bucket of the game with a move on the left block.

The game took an even more physical turn at that point as neither team found the bucket over the next two minutes until Stephens tied the game with a free throw at the 10:25 mark. She pushed the Gamecocks back on top with a easy layup after Bone found her alone under the basket out of a double team.

After Meredith Monroe buried a jumper from the elbow to knot the game 43-43, good vision from the post kicked the ball out to the top of the key to Ieasia Walker, who quickly moved it around the arc to Nainima, who drained a three from the left baseline for a 46-43 Gamecock lead. On the next possession, Samone Kennedy penetrated the Penn State defense and found Bone on the left block to push the lead to five with 6:19 left on the clock.

While the Gamecocks would not relinquish the leady, Penn State did not relent. Post play grew increasingly physical, leading to an accumulation of fouls that began to deplete the Lady Lions’ lengthy frontcourt. The Gamecocks were able to capitalize on the free throw line as well as the glass with Bone and Stephens doing the heavy lifting. Stephens netted six of her 17 points in the final 3:41 of the game.

In the end, South Carolina overcame 30.2 percent field goal shooting by getting 21 points at the free throw line. Nainima led the team with 18 points, while Bone finished two rebounds shy of her third-straight double-double with 10 points and eight boards. Six of Stephens’ 11 rebounds came on the offensive end. Bone, Kennedy and La’Keisha Sutton tied for team-high honors with three assists apiece.

South Carolina travels to St. Thomas, U.S.V.I., for the Paradise Jam, which tips off on Thu., Nov. 26, with the Gamecocks taking on Oklahoma at 1 p.m. (ET).