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Jan. 23, 2011

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South Carolina vs. Alabama
January 23, 2011 • Columbia, S.C.
Team 1st 2nd Total
Alabama 25 23 48
South Carolina 33 26 59
Coach Staley I. Walker & J. May

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina tied its season high in rebounds to push past Alabama 59-48 in SEC women’s basketball action Sunday afternoon at Colonial Life Arena. Jewel May’s second career double-double highlighted the effort as six of her 11 boards came on the offensive end. The Gamecocks (11-9, 3-4 SEC) out-rebounded the Crimson Tide (11-9, 0-7 SEC) 49-27, their largest margin of the season.

The Gamecocks kept a slight edge throughout the first half with pressure defense, solid defensive rebounding and aggressive play at the offensive end. Ieasia Walker led the way with 12 points and swiped five steals in just the first 20 minutes of action, helping the Gamecocks to an eight-point lead (17-9) with eight minutes left in the period. May started the 5-0 surge to extend the advantage with a putback. Walker added a free throw and a transition layup for the largest lead of the half. The teams traded baskets down the stretch, and the Gamecocks carried a 33-25 lead into the locker room.

The Crimson Tide gave the Gamecocks a scare in the second half, chipping away at the lead early. In the span of a minute, the Crimson Tide twice cut the Gamecock lead to three points, the final time on a Ericka Russell layup off a steal to make it 39-36 with 15:38 left to play. But, South Carolina held Alabama scoreless over the next seven minutes to surge to a 48-36.

The 9-0 run came courtesy of rebounding as South Carolina routinely limited the Crimson Tide to just one shot per possession. May again started the spurt, this time with a basket off an offensive rebound. After both teams misfired on their next two trips down the court, Markeshia Grant stole a bucket on a backdoor cut. Ashley Bruner hit a free throw, Walker drove the lane for a bucket, and Valerie Nainima hit a transition layup off a defensive rebound to give the Gamecocks a 12-point advantage with 8:39 to play. Alabama would get no closer than eight points the remainder of the game.

Walker’s 16 points led the offense, while her seven rebounds tied for second on the team. Grant rounded out the trio of double-figure scorers with 14 points. Nine of May’s 11 points came in the second half, as did seven of her 11 rebounds. Walker added five steals, while La’Keisha Sutton handed out a game-high five assists to go with her six points and five rebounds.

Defensively, South Carolina held Alabama to just 30.4 percent shooting and held Tierney Jenkins, who entered the game averaging a double-double, to just two points and one rebound, all acquired in the first half of play.

The Gamecocks are set to close out their three-game home stand on Thu., Jan. 27, against No. 24/- Georgia. Tipoff at Colonial Life Arena is set for 7 p.m.