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Feb. 7, 2010

Box Score | Box Score

ATHENS, Ga. – South Carolina’s efficient offense in the first half and steady defense throughout the game delivered a 52-42 win over No. 14/14 Georgia at Stegeman Coliseum Sunday afternoon. Valerie Nainima led the way with 21 points, but again it was a complete effort from the Gamecocks (13-10, 6-5 SEC) that spurred the program’s first win over a top-15 team since Dec. 13, 2005.

Right out of the gate, the Gamecock defense stifled the Georgia (19-5, 6-5 SEC) offense, allowing the Lady Bulldogs to hit just 25.9 percent in the first half. On the other end of the court, South Carolina got offense early from La’Keisha Sutton who scored seven of the Gamecocks’ first nine points, the last two of which sparked a 12-2 run that gave Carolina a 19-22 lead with 8:49 left to go.

Including Sutton, five different players scored during the surge as Ebony Wilson and Nainima each hit baseline jumpers, Charenee Stephens stuck back an offensive rebound, and Kelsey Bone added a pair of buckets to the end of the run. From there, the Gamecock defense took over, allowing the Lady Bulldogs just seven points in the remaining time to take a 30-18 lead into halftime.

After the break, the outcome was rarely in doubt, despite an 8-0 run by the Lady Bulldogs midway through the second half that made it a 42-37 game with 6:25 left to play. Nainima stopped the surge with a 3-pointer from the left wing. Jewel May followed with a traditional three-point play to stretch the margin back to 11, and the Gamecocks cruised from there.

The Lady Bulldogs’ 42 points were the lowest by a Gamecock opponent this season, and their 28.6 percent field goal shooting is also a season low for a South Carolina opponent.

Nainima was the lone Gamecock in double figures, but seven of the nine players who saw the court found the scorebook. Stephens snagged a game-high 10 rebounds. Sutton finished with nine points, all in the first half, and Bone finished with eight points and six boards.

The Gamecocks collected their first win over Georgia since sweeping the season series in the 2002 campaign. This was the program’s first road win over a top-15 team since the then-No. 9 Gamecocks defeated then-No. 15 Georgia 71-64 in Athens on Jan. 10, 2002. That was the program’s lone win over the Lady Bulldogs in Athens until today.

South Carolina returns to Columbia to open a two-game home stand on Thu., Feb. 11, against Mississippi State. Tipoff at Colonial Life Arena is set for 7 p.m.