Jan. 15, 2015
Box Score | Printable Box Score
|SCORE BY PERIODS|
|#1/1 S. Carolina (17-0, 5-0 SEC)||25||35||60|
|Missouri (11-7, 1-4 SEC)||20||29||49|
|Post-Game Press Conference|
COLUMBIA, Mo. – No. 1/1 South Carolina survived a tough road test at Missouri, 60-49, thanks to clutch free throw shooting in the final two minutes and solid play from veterans at crunch time. The road conference win makes the Gamecocks 5-0 in SEC play for the first time in program history. Tiffany Mitchell posted her second-straight 19-point outing to lead South Carolina (17-0) while Aleighsa Welch grabbed a season-high 14 rebounds.
Most of the Gamecock offense got off to a slow start, but Mitchell carried South Carolina early, scoring the first eight points. Mizzou came back to tie it up at 8-all, but then, both teams hit a cold shooting spell, going nearly three minutes without a point by either side. Bianca Cuevas ended the drought with a jumper to put South Carolina up 10-8 with 12:42 left in the half. After a Tiger turnover, Alaina Coates hit 1-of-2 from the free throw line for an 11-8 Gamecock lead.
After Sierra Michaelis’ 3 from the left wing tied the game at 11-11, the Gamecocks launched a 6-0 run – the longest of the half by either team – behind another Mitchell jumper. Coates reeled in Jordan Frericks’ miss to keep the Tigers off the board. Following a missed free throw, Coates corralled the offensive board and made it a 15-11 lead. Another Tiger miss put the Gamecocks back on offense, where shooting woes continued but offensive rebounds kept the possession alive. Again Coates delivered inside for a 17-11 lead with 9:22 to go in the period.
The Gamecocks ramped up the defensive pressure after the Tigers scored on back-to-back possessions, forcing three straight turnovers. The stretch allowed South Carolina to push its lead to six thanks to a free throw from Mitchell, a tough bucket through a pair of defenders from Coates and a runner from Aleighsa Welch. Again, the Tigers’ 3-point shooting kept South Carolina from pulling away as Maddie Stock hit from deep to cut the lead in half with 2:46 left in the period. Khadijah Sessions had the answer, though, with a quick 3 from the right corner. A late Mizzou free throw made it a 25-20 game at the break.
Out of the locker room, the Gamecocks started the second half strong, but Michaelis scored the Tigers’ first seven points to pull within two just four minutes in as South Carolina struggled to finish on the other end. On Missouri’s next possession, the Gamecock defense locked down and forced a shot clock violation. The referees took a long look at the replay to ensure it was a violation, and when play resumed, South Carolina looked back on course.
Asia Dozier started a 9-2 run with a 3 from the top of the arc. Michaelis hit a pair of free throws, but an offensive rebound by Sessions led to a runner from Welch. On the other end, Welch blocked a 3 from the left corner, and the Gamecock defense forced the Tigers to call a timeout before getting the ball back inbounds. Coates reeled in the eventual miss, and Sessions hit a baseline jumper. On the other end, Welch stretched for a tough defensive rebound, and Coates made it a 38-29 game with a putback on the other end.
Michaelis drove the lane for another bucket, but the teams combined for turnovers on eight straight possessions to stop any momentum. The Tigers twice got within three, starting with a five-point possession following a technical foul called on Welch after a skirmish under the Gamecocks’ basket on the previous play. The next two times Missouri got close, Mitchell dialed up a 3 to keep them at bay.
Down the stretch, the Gamecocks turned around their luck at the free throw line, hitting 11-of-12 in the final two minutes of play to hold off any final Tiger push.
In addition to Mitchell’s 19 points, Coates netted 15 to pace South Carolina. Welch added eight points to go with her season-high 14 rebounds. On their way to out-rebounding Missouri 51-33, the Gamecocks won the battle on the offensive glass 17-7.
In the final eight minutes of play, Missouri pulled within three twice. On each occasion, Mitchell doubled the South Carolina lead with a 3.
After hitting just 3-of-11 from the free throw line, the Gamecocks stepped up when it mattered most, draining 11-of-12 in the final 1:56 to hold off the Tigers. Coates was 6-of-6 in the stretch while Cuevas was 3-of-4 and Welch was good on a pair.
- Senior Elem Ibiam moved into second place in school history in career blocks with 149. She now trails just the record holder Lakesha Tolliver’s 177 total.
- The Gamecocks moved to 5-0 in SEC play for the first time in program history, topping the 2002 squad’s 4-0 start.
TWEETS OF THE GAME
Double digit win. On the road. An almost empty gym. Odd start time. I’ll take that win. Congrats @GamecockWBB @dawnstaley #one
— Nancy Schmid (@nancyschmid) January 16, 2015
A win is a win. Great job by @GamecockWBB and @dawnstaley to keep fighting and get the win. #one
— Harrison McConnell (@HarrisonMcC) January 16, 2015
South Carolina plays its fourth road game in five outings, traveling to Gainesville, Fla., to take on Florida on Mon., Jan. 19, for a 7 p.m. game on SEC Network.