Jan. 19, 2015
Box Score | Printable Box Score
|SCORE BY PERIODS|
|#1/1 S. Carolina (18-0, 6-0 SEC)||40||37||77|
|Florida (9-10), 1-5 SEC)||17||25||42|
|SEC Network Post-Game Interview|
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – No. 1/1 South Carolina shot 68.0 percent from the floor in the first half to build a 40-17 lead and didn’t let up in a 77-42 win over Florida at the O’Connell Center on Monday night. Tiffany Mitchell’s game-high 18 points led the Gamecocks (18-0, 6-0 SEC) and Alaina Coates grabbed 13 rebounds to lead all players.
The Gamecocks took a few minutes to get on the board, but once they did, the floodgates opened. Missing its first three shots of the half and turning it over on the fourth possession, South Carolina hit 14 of its next 16 attempts for a 29-10 lead with 6:04 left in the first half. The Gamecock veterans got things back on track with a defensive rebound from Aleighsa Welch and a baseline jumper from Asia Dozier late in the shot clock. Elem Ibiam blocked a shot on the other end, and Mitchell drained a 3 pointer from the left corner. With the defense locking down the Gators, the surge continued as Khadijah Sessions launched a transition layup for Mitchell and Ibiam grabbed a defensive rebound and then scored from the left block to make it an 11-2 South Carolina advantage with 14:25 to go in the period.
Tough work on the glass and consistent feeding of the post, continued throughout the half, sending the Gamecocks into the locker room with a 40-17 advantage. Defensively, South Carolina held Florida to just 21.6 percent shooting (8-of-37) and compounded the Gators’ difficulties by hitting 68.0 percent from the field (17-of-25). Mitchell was the primary beneficiary of the quick strike offense, leading the way with 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting.
Both teams struggled with turnovers early in the second half, but the Gamecocks shook off the sluggish start first. Leading 42-23 with 15:36 to play, Mitchell’s pull-up jumper launched an 18-2 surge fueled by a pair of steals from Mitchell and quick outlets on defensive rebounds. South Carolina’s lead ballooned to 35 on Bianca Cuevas’ pull-up jumper for a 64-29 advantage with 9:51 to play.
South Carolina went to its bench, giving the younger Gamecocks extended minutes in an SEC game. The combination continued to work well throughout the period as South Carolina recorded the win.
Mitchell scored her 18 points by shooting 8-of-10 from the floor and converting her lone free throw. The reigning SEC Player of the Year also turned all four of her steals into layups on the other end of the court. Coates matched a career high with three steals of her own. A’ja Wilson added 16 points and nine rebounds, narrowly missing her fifth double-double. Cuevas netted 11 points and dished out a game-high four assists, both SEC highs. Welch also recorded four assists, a season high.
After finally scoring on their fifth possession of the game, the Gamecocks hit 14 of their next 16 attempts to put the Gators away.
The Gamecocks returned to their favorite offensive formula tonight, getting 46 points in the paint and 47 from their bench.
- The Gamecocks’ 23-point halftime lead was their biggest in SEC play this season.
- South Carolina shot over 50 percent from the floor for the third time in six SEC contests.
- With tonight’s win, the Gamecocks have won six straight over the Gators.
- Tiffany Mitchell led South Carolina in scoring for the third straight game.
TWEETS OF THE GAME
@GamecockWBB @dawnstaley gives new meaning to the phrase “beast mode.” They are a force to be reckoned with! #one #gamescocks
— Carmelia Johnson (@melia1208) January 20, 2015
The girls r playin awesome tonight! Our starters led the way The supportin cast is shootin lights out Everyone is contributing @GamecockWBB
— Alexis (@Alexis14Adams) January 20, 2015
South Carolina has a week before its next game and will launch a two-game home stand on Mon., Jan. 26, against No. 10 Texas A&M. Tipoff at Colonial Life Arena will be at 7 p.m. in the Gamecocks’ We Back Pat game on ESPN2. A quick turnaround has South Carolina back at home against Alabama on Thu., Jan 29, at 7 p.m. and then back on the road to Ole Miss for a 4:30 p.m. tipoff on Sun., Feb. 1.