Nov. 18, 2015
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Senior Asia Dozier sparked a third-quarter run that launched No 2/2 South Carolina past Clemson 67-41 Wednesday night at Jervey Gym. The Gamecock offense is uncharacteristically inefficient through the first half, but a shakeup of the lineup to open the second half launched a 19-5 run that broke open the game and the Tigers’ spirit. Clemson shot just 26.1 percent in the second half to South Carolina’s 41.9 percent.
The Gamecocks’ offense came in fits and starts in the first half with the Tigers sagging back in a zone to combat South Carolina’s frontcourt advantage. It looked like the Gamecocks would shoot them out of it early as Tiffany Mitchell and Tina Roy hit back-to-back 3s to open the game. South Carolina struggled to get the ball inside throughout the first half, though, and when they did, the Tigers allowed little room to work.
The tough offensive start did not mute the Gamecock defense, though, with South Carolina picking up six steals in the first quarter and holding the Tigers to just 11 shots in the period. As Clemson got more sure-handed in the second quarter, the Tigers closed the gap. South Carolina senior Sarah Imovbioh kept the Gamecocks close with aggressive work on the boards, and a 3-pointer from Mitchell with two seconds left in the half made it a 31-20 game heading into the locker room.
South Carolina started the second half with Imovbioh, Jatarie White and Dozier joining Sessions and Mitchell. The group scored five points in the first 38 seconds of the half, forcing Clemson to call a quick timeout. The break did not dampen the South Carolina offense, though, as outside shots started falling quickly with Dozier hitting back-to-back from 3-point range to put the Gamecocks up 42-23 with just under eight minutes left in the period. The Tigers’ Danielle Edwards drove the baseline to stop the run, but Mitchell answered with her fourth 3 of the game. That basket launched the second surge, which was helped by defensive pressure that hurried the Tigers into shots and forced a pair of turnovers. During Clemson’s drought, Imovbioh hit a free throw, Wilson put back an offensive rebound and Mitchell turned her fourth steal of the game into a layup to make it a 50-25 Gamecock lead midway through the quarter. The pair of runs opened up the inside for the Gamecocks with Wilson and Coates making progress against the Tigers’ frontcourt.
Mitchell finished the game with a season-high 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range. Alaina Coates added 10 points, and tied Imovbioh and White for team-high rebounding honors with six. Khadijah Sessions handed out five assists to lead the team, and Mitchell’s four steals matched her season high.
South Carolina exploded out of the locker room, outscoring the Tigers 11-2 in the first 2:00 of the period and adding another 8-2 surge over the ensuing 3:00 to take a commanding 50-25 lead midway through the third quarter.
The Gamecocks shot 75.0 percent (9-of-12) in the third quarter after hitting just 31.3 percent in the first half, helping South Carolina turn an 11-point halftime lead into a 30-point advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
- Senior guard Tiffany Mitchell finished the game with a season-high 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range.
- The Gamecocks shot 47.4 percent (18-of-38) in the second half while holding the Buckeyes to just 24.4 percent (10-of-41) in the final 20 minutes of the game, including 25.0 percent (3-of-12) from 3-point range after they had hit 63.6 percent (7-of-11) from long-range in the opening half.
- Junior forward Alaina Coates was the only other Gamecock in double figures with 10 points and tied Sarah Imovbioh and Jatarie White for team-high rebounding honors with six.
- Senior guard Khadijah Sessions handed out a team-high five assists, while Mitchell swiped four steals.
- South Carolina’s 27 third-quarter points tied for the second-most in a quarter this season, trailing just the 30 first-quarter points the Gamecocks netted against #6/10 Ohio State in the season opener
The Gamecocks travel to UCLA to face the Bruins on Sunday and then on to Hawaii for three games in the Waikiki Beach Marriott Rainbow Wahine Showdown.