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Dec. 14, 2014

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Team 1st 2nd Total
Savannah State 22 27 49
South Carolina 60 51 111
Coach Staley
Elem Ibiam and Bianca Cuevas

COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 1/1 South Carolina showed little rust from its week-long exam break in a 111-49 win over Savannah State in the Gamecocks’ final non-conference home game of the season, marking the most points scored in the Dawn Staley era. Senior Elem Ibiam poured in a career-high 21 points, including 12 in the first half and the first four of the second. South Carolina’s defense forced 20 turnovers, including 11 steals to keep the Lady Tigers (4-3) from ever making a significant run.

Junior Tiffany Mitchell netted the team’s first five points, but Savannah State turned a South Carolina offensive foul into back-to-back buckets to take a 6-5 lead. The Gamecocks turned up the defensive pressure, forcing turnovers on four of the Lady Tigers’ next six possessions and limiting them to just one shot on the other two to prise open a 13-6 advantage seven minutes into the contest. Ibiam scored four points in the run with Khadijah Sessions kicking things off with a pair of free throws and Alaina Coates closing it with a putback.

Savannah State cut it to five, but Bianca Cuevas single-handedly shut the Lady Tigers down in the backcourt with steals on three of the next seven possessions, turning each into an easy basket. The pressure allowed the Gamecocks to built a 30-13 lead midway through the period. A 21-3 run ended the first half and sent the Gamecocks into the locker room with a 60-22 advantage and the fifth-most points in a first half in program history – the most of any half in the Dawn Staley era.

Six Gamecocks finished in double-figure points, including three with at least 20 points. It is South Carolina’s first game with three 20-point scorers since Nov. 21, 2003, at Clemson. A’ja Wilson posted a team-high 23 points, the most of her young career, in just 21 minutes. Ibiam was similarly efficient with 21 points in 18 minutes. Coates rounded out the 20-point scorer with 20 and completed her fourth double-double of the season with 10 rebounds. Mitchell finished with 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting, while Aleighsa Welch and Cuevas added 11 and 10 points, respectively.

South Carolina shot 58.5 percent from the field behind 23 assists, including a career-high 10 from Tina Roy. The last Gamecock to hand out at least 10 assists was Samone Kennedy at Florida on Feb. 24, 2008.


The Gamecocks closed the first half on a 21-3 run that gave them a 60-22 lead at the break.


South Carolina’s 60 points in the first half marked the highest-scoring half in the Dawn Staley era and the fifth-highest score in a first half in program history. The Gamecocks scored those points with just one 3-pointer in the period.


  • This was the 26th 100-point game in program history and the first since a 102-74 win over North Carolina A&T on March 21, 2008, in the first round of the Women’s NIT.
  • The 111 points are the most in the Dawn Staley era, and the most since posting 117 against North Carolina A&T on Nov. 17, 2006.
  • The Gamecocks scored 70 of their 111 points in the paint, scored 24 points off 20 offensive rebounds, and netted 34 points off 20 Savannah State turnovers.
  • South Carolina shot 71.0 percent in the first half (22-31) as only two Gamecocks missed more than one of their shots in the period.

QUOTABLE South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley

On the how well the offense played today…
“I thought we did a really good job at moving the ball and pushing the ball down the floor in transition. We got early entries into our post players and the defense didn’t have a lot of time to set up. I thought we just did a great job at finding our post players. They were posting up and they were finishing. It’s something we have not done extremely well the last couple of games, so it was good to see them getting some confidence and getting the ball.”


South Carolina embarks on a week-long road trip Monday, which will span three games. The Gamecocks head to Hampton University for a 7 p.m. tilt on Wed., Dec. 17, then continue to Minneapolis for the Gopher’s Subway Classic Dec. 20-21. South Carolina will face Central Michigan on Saturday and Liberty on Sunday before returning home for the holiday break.