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Nov. 14, 2013

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COLUMBIA, S.C. – Behind career efforts from junior forward Aleighsa Welch and sophomore forward Asia Dozier, No. 21/17 South Carolina (3-0) defeated College of Charleston (1-2) 81-54 in non-conference action on Thursday night at Colonial Life Arena. Dozier led the Gamecocks with a career-high 16 points. Welch paced the rebounding effort, hauling in a career-high 17 boards.

“I’m very happy for her (Dozier) because I know that it was a tough year last year,” South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley said. “There were a tough couple of games last year where she really didn’t get the opportunity to shoot it. Tonight, I think she felt it, and it was going in for her. I’m very, very happy for Asia, and it was a long time coming.”

From the opening tip, the Cougars came out firing. Junior forward Christy Hewatt scored five points to push College of Charleston to an early 9-0 lead.

A 3-pointer from redshirt sophomore guard Tina Roy pulled the Gamecocks within four at 7-11, but the Cougars surged out ahead by nine again at the midway point of the first half with a 25-16 advantage.

Welch kept South Carolina within striking distance, seemingly all over the court for offensive rebounds and loose balls. The forward’s effort eventually changed the game’s momentum as she brought her team within two at 28-26 on a three-point play at the under-eight media timeout.

Dozier made her presence felt when she sank back-to-back 3-pointers with 6:35 left in the first half. The much-needed points gave South Carolina its first lead of the night at 32-28 and forced the visitors to call a timeout to stop the surge.

Newly invigorated, South Carolina stretched its lead to 14 just before the break and entered the half with a 46-32 lead.

Charleston’s senior guard Alyssa Frye sank a 3-pointer two minutes into the second half to cut into the deficit at 48-39, but it was the closest the Cougars would get for the rest of the night.

Ramping up the defensive effort, the Gamecocks limited the Cougars to short, one-shot possessions. South Carolina used transition play to their advantage and rattled off a 15-0 run to take command of the game at 63-39.

The Gamecocks built a 32-point lead, their largest of the night, at 78-46 with under seven minutes on the clock and never looked back.

Seven of Welch’s career-high 17 rebounds were on the offensive end. The forward rounded out her second-straight double-double with 12 points on the night. Dozier’s 16 points on 4-of-8 3-point shooting was also a career-best. Three other Gamecocks scored in double figures as well, junior center Elem Ibiam pouring in 12 points with Tiffany Mitchell and Alaina Coates contributing 11 apiece.

South Carolina out-rebounded College of Charleston 62-38. The Gamecocks were active on the offensive boards, corralling 23 rebounds that led to 23 second-chance points.

Tolbert had a double-double on the night, leading the Cougars with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

The Gamecocks return to Colonial Life Arena at 3:00 p.m., Sun., Nov. 17, as they continue non-conference play against Seton Hall.