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March 6, 2015

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Team 1st 2nd Total
Arkansas 17 19 36
South Carolina 31 27 58
Post-Game Press Conference

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – No. 3/4 South Carolina used aggressive defense highlighted by a school-record 15 blocked shots in a 58-36 win over Arkansas in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals Friday afternoon at Verizon Arena. The Gamecocks (28-2, 15-1 SEC) yielded just 19.3 percent shooting to the Razorbacks in the stellar defensive effort that moves them into the semifinals for the second-straight season.

The Gamecocks got out of the gate quickly, opening a 10-point lead just 6:30 into the period behind seven points from Mitchell, who asserted herself early. Asia Dozier also got the offense going with a pair of drives to the basket, while Elem Ibiam controlled the glass. South Carolina focused on early offense, and the easier looks paid off with great field goal percentage early in the half.

Trailing 17-7, Arkansas looked to make a run with Calli Berna hitting a 3 with 11:14 to play in the half, but the Gamecocks let it go no farther. Alaina Coates hit on the left block, and Mitchell answered Melissa Wolff’s mid-range jumper with a 3 from the top of the key behind a screen from A’ja Wilson. After a pair of misses for the Razorbacks, Wilson added a pair of free throws to put the Gamecocks up 24-12 with 7:21 left in the period. Mckinley Bostad tried to get another Arkansas rally started with a 3, but South Carolina’s inside game was too much. Ibiam hit a free throw, Coates put back a missed shot and Welch delivered a transition layup to make it a 29-15 game with 2:47 left before halftime.

After taking a 31-17 lead into the locker room at halftime, the Gamecocks got off to a slow start in the second half with the Razorbacks crashing the boards and forcing South Carolina into tough shots and turnovers in the opening minutes. Coates grew more aggressive on the defensive glass, and looked to get a rally going with a traditional three-point play. After another defensive board, she hit again inside off a high-low feed from Wilson to make it a 38-25 South Carolina lead.

The Razorbacks made another run as the Gamecocks put them on the free throw line, cutting their deficit to 38-31, but Coates again shut down the momentum with an offensive rebound and a short jumper. Aleighsa Welch cleaned up the missed front end of a 1-and-1 opportunity for the Razorbacks then drove hard through the lane for a basket to put the Gamecocks back up by double digits at 42-31 with eight minutes to play. Holding Arkansas to just one shot on four straight possessions, South Carolina capped its 8-0 run with a fade away from Mitchell and another drive to basket from Dozier for a 46-31 advantage that the Razorbacks could not overcome.

Overshadowed by the team defensive effort, South Carolina’s offense was led by Mitchell’s 12 points while Coates added 11, including seven in the second half. Ibiam’s nine rebounds led three Gamecocks with at least seven Coates reeled in eight and Wilson collected seven.


South Carolina saw the Razorbacks cut the lead to seven at 38-31 with 10 minutes left to play when Alaina Coates put back her own miss then collected a defensive rebound to launch an 8-0 run that turned into a 20-5 surge that closed the game.

KEY STAT Arkansas’ 19.3 percent field goal shooting was the lowest by a Gamecock opponent this season and the lowest ever by a Gamecock opponent in an SEC Tournament game.


  • South Carolina’s 15 blocked shots broke the previous school record of 14. Jatarie White swatted the 14th of the game, and A’ja Wilson picked up the record breaker with her fourth of the outing.
  • The Gamecocks’ 12 free throw attempts were their third lowest of the season.
  • Arkansas’ 36 points were the second-lowest total allowed by the Gamecocks in an SEC Tournament game, edged out by 35 by Alabama in last season’s quarterfinal.

UP NEXT Top-seeded South Carolina awaits the winner of the Texas A&M/LSU game for a 5 p.m. (ET) tipoff on Saturday.