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Nov. 27, 2014

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FREEPORT, BAHAMAS – No. 1/2 South Carolina’s defense forced Wisconsin into tough shots throughout the night, and the Gamecock offense found its rhythm midway through the first half to power to a 67-44 win in the Junkanoo Jam. Only two Gamecocks scored in double figures, but 11 made their way into the scoring column in a complete balanced attack. South Carolina limited the Badgers to just 28.3 percent shooting and forced 19 turnovers in its first game ever as the nation’s top team.

The Badgers’ 3-point shooting helped Wisconsin stay within a point of the Gamecocks for the first 13 minutes. South Carolina struggled from the field, hitting just 28.0 percent of its shots through that time. With 15-14 lead at the 7:06 mark, though, the dam broke. The defense applied 3/4-court pressure to push the Badgers out of the comfort zone.

The infusion of energy sparked a 10-0 run over the next 2:18 to give the Gamecocks a 25-14 advantage. Points game from four different sources, beginning with Aleighsa Welch, who hit from the left block. Khadijah Sessions harassed the Badgers’ point guard into a turnover and turned her steal into a layup on the other end. Tough inside defense from Alaina Coates sent South Carolina back on offense, and she delivered on the other end as well, completing a traditional three-point play. A Coates defensive rebound kept the Badgers off the board, and Tina Roy completed the streak with a 3-pointer from the right corner.

Wisconsin hit a pair of free throws to end the Gamecock run, but South Carolina was right back to work, scoring the next six points unanswered with A’ja Wilson accounting for four of them. A late Badger bucket made it a 31-18 Gamecock lead at the break.

The Badgers struck first in the second half, but the Gamecocks did not relent, mounting an 8-0 run sparked by back-to-back inside scores from Elem Ibiam. After Wisconsin missed a pair of free throws, Welch delivered a well-timed pass to Coates on the left block for another score. Two more empty possessions by the Badgers, and Tiffany Mitchell hit from the left elbow to make it a 39-20 lead.

Wisconsin’s Dakota Whyte scored in transition and added a free throw, but a Jatarie White steal and traditional three-point play on the other erased the effort, and the Badgers would get no closer in the game. With the separation, head coach Dawn Staley let her veteran starters rest, and her team did not miss a beat. White continued her solid post play, while Asia Dozier went on a personal 7-0 run to stretch South Carolina’s advantage to 54-26 with 9:21 to play.

A’ja Wilson led the offense with 11 points, and White added 10 as the only two Gamecocks in double figures. Dozier handed out four assists, and Coates topped the team with nine rebounds. South Carolina shot 51.7 percent in the second half after a difficult first half that included just 28.0 percent shooting in the first 13 minutes of the game.

The Gamecocks will take on No. 22/22 Syracuse in the championship game of the Lucaya Division of the Junkanoo Jam on Fri., Nov. 28, at 8 p.m. (ET).


South Carolina’s 10-0 streak over a 2:18 stretch turned a narrow 15-14 Gamecock lead into a 25-14 advantage with 5:42 to go in the first half. The run eventually ran out to 16-4 to give the Gamecocks a 31-18 lead at the break.


Wisconsin opened the game shooting 5-12 (.417) from the field, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range at the 7:23 mark. For the rest of the half, the Gamecock defense held the Badgers to just 1-of-8 from the field, including 0-of-4 from outside the arc.


  • Seven Gamecocks scored seven or more points, while three handed out at least three assists in the outing.
  • South Carolina committed just 10 turnovers against 20 assists in the game.
  • At halftime, no Gamecock had more than six points, but nine of the 11 that had played had scored at least two points.
  • South Carolina scored 16 points off 19 Wisconsin turnovers and outscored the Badgers in the paint 32-10.
  • The Gamecocks got 39 of their 67 points from the bench (.582), surpassing their season percentage of .438 points off the bench.


South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley When you have a team as talented as we are, to be able to insert two freshmen to give you an offensive jolt is a great thing. I thought [A’ja Wilson and Jatarie White] did their job by helping us open up the game a little bit. It jump-started our offense and let us play more energized on the defensive end.


The Gamecocks will take on No. 22/22 Syracuse in the championship game of the Lucaya Division of the Junkanoo Jam on Fri., Nov. 28, at 8 p.m. (ET).