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Gamecocks into Sweet 16 with 97-68 Win Over Syracuse
Women's Basketball  . 

Gamecocks into Sweet 16 with 97-68 Win Over Syracuse

March 22, 2015

Box Score | USATSI Photo Gallery media-icon-photogallery.gif | Photo Gallery media-icon-photogallery.gif | Post-Game Quotes Get Acrobat Reader

Team 1st 2nd Total
Syracuse 25 43 68
South Carolina 53 44 97
South Carolina Press Conference
Syracuse Press Confernce

COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 3/4 South Carolina used early perimeter shooting from Asia Dozier to open up the inside game and locked down defensively on its way to a second-straight Sweet 16 with a 97-68 win over eighth-seeded Syracuse on Sunday evening at Colonial Life Arena. Tiffany Mitchell and Alaina Coates led six Gamecocks (32-2) in double figures with 14 points apiece. Mitchell rebounded from a tough outing against Savannah State with a season-high seven assists to go with five rebounds, while Aleighsa Welch recorded her 23rd career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds in her final home contest.

After their first two 3s rimmed out, Gamecocks got their first points from Mitchell, who chased down her own miss and put it back. South Carolina went on to hit its next six shots. With Syracuse trying to shutdown the South Carolina power in the paint, Dozier took advantage of open looks, draining 3-pointers from three different spots around the arc during the stretch. Welch got things going early too, netting a hook shot over Briana Day and converting a three-point play after breaking the Syracuse press for a layup.

With 8:53 left in the first half, Brianna Butler hit a 3 to pull Syracuse to within 10 at 27-17, but the Orange missed their next 10 shots as the Gamecocks built a 45-19 lead. Second chance opportunities started the run with Coates and Welch turning missed shots into points. Then, South Carolina took advantage of the mounting Syracuse foul trouble, as A’ja Wilson and Olivia Gaines combined to hit six free throws over the next three trips down the court.

The Gamecocks scored on six of their last eight possessions and brought the crowd it its feet again in the closing seconds. Welch made a backdoor cut and Dozier’s lob hit her in stride for an open basket. After a quick Syracuse score, Mitchell single-handedly broke the Orange press, going all the way up the court for a layup to give South Carolina a 53-25 lead at the break.

Syracuse looked to get back into the game out of the locker room, but the Gamecocks didn’t let up on either end of the court. The Orange could only pull to within 20 at 85-65 with 4:31 to play as South Carolina went to its bench for the final eight minutes of the contest.

Coates brought down seven rebounds to go with her team-high 14 points in just 14 minutes of play. Wilson and Bianca Cuevas also came off the bench to add 13 and 12 points, respectively. After netting no more than one 3-pointer in her previous NCAA Tournament appearances, Dozier tied a career high with four on her way to 12 points, also an NCAA career high. South Carolina went 25-of-31 from the free throw line and the Gamecock bench outscored Syracuse 51-11.


Asia Dozier drained three 3-pointers within a string of five possessions to stretch the defense in the opening stages of the game. Dozier matched a career high with four 3s as the Gamecocks’ eight in the game were their most ever in an NCAA Tournament game.


The Gamecocks worked hard on the defensive end from the opening whistle, limiting Syracuse to just 25.7 percent from the field (9-of-35) in the first half as they pulled out to a 53-25 lead at the break.


  • South Carolina’s 97 points is a program NCAA Tournament record (93 vs. Bowling Green 3/14/90).
  • Six Gamecocks – Wilson, Welch, Mitchell, Dozier, Cuevas, Coates – reached double figures for the first time since Jan. 9, 2015, at Alabama.
  • The Gamecocks are into the Sweet 16 for the second-straight season, the third time in the Staley era and sixth time overall.
  • Tonight’s win is South Carolina’s 34th straight at home, tying UConn for the longest active stretch in the nation.
  • The Gamecocks are now 7-2 in NCAA Tournament games in Columbia and 2-0 in Colonial Life Arena.
  • Senior Aleighsa Welch played in her 134th career game Sunday night, tying the school record.


QUOTABLE South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley
I thought we came out ready to play and take on a very good Syracuse basketball team. I thought our players had a certain determination to get it done, to take care of things at home and obviously the outcome was just that. The entire atmosphere was an incredible college basketball game. I’m hoping our players cherished this moment because it was very special not only by their play, but by the people that came out and supported us in great numbers.


The Gamecocks advance to play the winner of fourth-seeded North Carolina and No. 5 seed Ohio State at the Greensboro Regional. The regional semifinal games at the Greensboro Coliseum are set for Fri., March 27, at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m