Dec. 16, 2015
COLUMBIA, S.C. — No. 2/2 South Carolina wrapped up its three-game homestand with a convincing 86-48 win over Hampton behind 41 points from its frontcourt duo of junior Alaina Coates and senior Sarah Imovbioh. Coates notched her fourth double-double of the season, finishing with 22 points and 12 rebounds for the Gamecocks (10-0), while Imovbioh tallied a career-high 19 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor.
The Gamecocks took a 12-point lead into the half before seizing control of the contest in the third quarter. Guard Tiffany Mitchell and Imovbioh led the offensive outburst, combining for 14 points early on in the period. Mitchell knocked down two 3-pointers during the 10-minute stretch, while Imovbioh added four points and grabbed a crucial rebound that led to a technical foul on Hampton guard Kristine Rose. Rose slammed the ball down in frustration following Imovbioh’s seventh board of the night, and Mitchell went 1-of-2 on the ensuing free throw attempts to give the Gamecocks a commanding 46-29 lead.
South Carolina’s defense held Hampton in check in the early going, as the Lady Pirates missed their first four field goal attempts and were held scoreless for the first 4:13 of the contest. After building an 8-2 lead, the Gamecocks went down low, rattling off six points in the paint to make it 14-4 with 3:27 left in the opening quarter. The South Carolina shooters went cold for the remainder of the period, and Hampton took advantage, closing the period on a 5-0 run to cut its deficit to 14-9.
The teams traded buckets out of the first break before sophomore guard Kaydra Duckett’s first career 3-pointer extended the lead back to double-digits at 21-11 and forced a Hampton timeout. Coates’ fourth field goal of the night made it 28-11 and put the junior in double figures, but the South Carolina offense once again struggled to produce points in the final minutes of a quarter.
The Gamecocks took a 30-18 lead into the locker room, despite going 1-of-9 from the floor over the remaining 4:17 of the first half. Both teams shot 30 percent in the opening 20 minutes, while Coates and Imovbioh combined for 19 points and seven of South Carolina’s 10 field goals in the first half.
Mitchell sparked the South Carolina offense out of the break, tallying six points over the first three minutes of the third quarter. Her second 3-pointer of the half gave her nine points for the quarter and extended South Carolina’s lead to 44-26 with 6:32 left in the period. Imovbioh continued to produce in the paint, and her third free throw of the night put her in double figures for the second time this season.
Coates helped South Carolina put the game out of reach for good, as she scored each of the Gamecocks’ final six points of the third quarter to give them a 59-38 lead after 30 minutes of play. The Lady Pirates didn’t get any closer the rest of the way, and back-to-back buckets from Imovbioh in the paint pushed the advantage to 69-41 with 6:41 left in the contest. Mitchell’s game-high third 3-pointer less than two minutes later provided the exclamation point and gave the senior 17 points for the game.
Coates, Imovbioh and Mitchell combined for 19 made free throws on Wednesday for a South Carolina team that went 23-of-30 from the line and boasted a 52-19 rebound advantage in the victory. Guard Malia Tate-DeFreitas notched 14 points for the Lady Pirates, who shot just 31.1 percent from the floor.
Mitchell gave the Gamecocks some breathing room out of halftime, contributing two 3-pointers and a three-point play over the first four minutes of the second half. The senior connected on all four of her field goal attempts in the second half.
After a slow start on the offensive end, the Gamecocks responded out of the break, shooting 72.0 percent from the floor over the final 20 minutes. Mitchell, Coates and Imovbioh combined to go 11-of-11 from the field during that stretch.
- Wednesday marked the second-straight game that South Carolina held its opponent to single-digits in the first quarter. Hampton netted just nine points tonight after Winthrop tallied just seven points against the Gamecocks on Sunday.
- In addition to a career-high 19 points, forward Sarah Imovbioh also sported career bests in field goals (6) and free throws (7).
- South Carolina’s 52-19 rebound advantage gave the Gamecocks their largest rebounding margin (+33) of the season.
- Senior guard Asia Dozier earned her first start of the year and led the Gamecocks in assists (5) for the third time this season.
South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley
“Rebounding puts you in a position to win every night. Whether it’s offensive or defensive rebounding, it means you’re diminishing the amount of times an opponent can score. For us, it’s always a point of emphasis to outrebound our opponent and box out. That’s something we’re going to have to continue to do.”
South Carolina resumes its non-conference schedule on Sun., Dec. 20, when it faces East Carolina in Myrtle Beach for the CresCom Bank Carolinas College Women’s Challenge. Tipoff from the Myrtle Beach Convention Center is set for 1 p.m.