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Dec. 20, 2014

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MINNEAPOLIS – No. 1/1 South Carolina used a pair of runs in the first half and a pair of double-doubles to power past Central Michigan 80-45 Saturday afternoon in the Subway Classic at University of Minnesota’s Williams Arena. Junior Tiffany Mitchell led five scorers in double figures with 18 points, while Alaina Coates and Elem Ibiam each added a double-double to secure the win. Now at 11-0 on the season, the Gamecocks are enjoying the best start in school history.

The Gamecocks overcame 12 turnovers in the first half to take a 37-24 lead into the locker room thanks to a defensive effort that allowed Central Michigan to shoot just 27.8 percent (10-36) from the field and 0-of-6 from 3-point range. South Carolina launched a 9-0 run to break a 4-4 tie just before the 16:00 mark of the first half.

After Crystal Bradford leveled the game at 4-4 with a drive to the basket, Ibiam putback an offensive rebound to put the Gamecocks up 6-4 just ahead of the first media timeout. After a Chippewa turnover, Mitchell hit the first of her two 3s in the opening half when Ibiam kicked it out of a crowded post position. Mitchell then turned a steal into an easy layup for an 11-4 advantage. An Coates defensive rebound led to an Asia Dozier transition layup that made it a 13-9 contest.

The Chippewas cut it to 15-8 after a Gamecock turnover, but a 12-4 run that included six points from A’ja Wilson made it a 25-12 lead with 8:16 left in the first half. South Carolina never looked back en route to a 37-24 halftime lead that ballooned quickly in the second half as the Gamecocks committed just four turnovers in the second period and continued their hot shooting at 52.6 percent in the final stanza.

Just behind Mitchell’s 18 points, Coates posted 16, while Aleighsa Welch and Wilson added 12 each. Ibiam rounded out the five double-figure scorers with 10 and led the Gamecocks on the glass with 12 boards. Coates completed her third-straight double-double with 10 rebounds.


After Central Michigan pulled within five points with 13:40 left in the first half, A’ja Wilson and Alaina Coates combined on a 10-2 run over the next four minutes that established a more comfortable 23-10 advantage midway through the half.

KEY STAT South Carolina out-scored Central Michigan 62-28 in the paint with four post players scoring in double figures.


  • South Carolina’s 11-0 start is the best in school history and is two games shy of the program’s all-time longest win streak of 13, which was set during the 1985-86 season.
  • With 18 points today, Tiffany Mitchell needs just five more to become the 30th Gamecock to reach the 1,000-point mark in her career.
  • The last time two Gamecocks posted double-doubles was vs. Oregon State in the 2014 NCAA Tournament (March 25, 2014) when Aleighsa Welch (21 pts/11 rebs) and Tiffany Mitchell (20 pts/10 rebs) hit the mark.
  • Today’s double-double was the sixth of the season for Coates and her third in the last four games.
  • With two blocked shots today, Elem Ibiam moved into third place in the career blocks list with 144.
  • After committing 12 turnovers in the first half – just under their season average of 12.7 – the Gamecocks turned it over just four times in the second half.


The Gamecocks wrap up play for 2014 on Sun., Dec. 21, against Liberty. South Carolina returns from the holiday break and will host Auburn on Fri., Jan. 2, at 7 p.m. in the SEC opener for both teams. That game will air live on SEC Network.