Dec. 20, 2015
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — No. 2/2 South Carolina got a third-straight double-double from junior center Alaina Coates and a season-high 18 points from senior guard Tiffany Mitchell to collect an 88-57 win over East Carolina Sunday afternoon at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. The Pirates (6-6) got into foul trouble early against the inside action by the Gamecocks (11-0), and South Carolina out-scored them by 12 in the second quarter to take an 18-point halftime lead that would only grow in the second period.
The Gamecock seniors got the offense going early with Tiffany Mitchell, Asia Dozier and Khadijah Sessions scoring eight of South Carolina’s first 10 points to open a quick 10-4 lead in the first three minutes of action. From there, the inside game took over, scoring 20 points in the paint in the first half and making a steady parade to the free throw line.
East Carolina kept the Gamecocks within striking distance through the first quarter, trailing by just six, 21-15, after the opening 10 minutes. South Carolina got on track with a 15-3 run, though to create separation early in the second quarter. Alaina Coates got things going with a free throw and an athletic runner in the lane to make it 24-15 with 8:18 to play before halftime. Two one-and-done possessions for the Pirates led to a pull-up jumper from Mitchell on the first possession and a pair of free throws from the Gamecock senior on the next trip down the floor.
ECU’s Alex Frazier converted a traditional three-point play, but South Carolina went right back to work. Dozier drained her second 3-pointer of the game from the left wing, and Coates’ defensive rebound led to an A’ja Wilson bucket on the other end as she put back her own miss. A Pirate turnover, one of their 10 in the first half, prompted a Shay Colley 3-pointer that made it a 36-18 Gamecock lead with 5:49 left in the period. ECU center Marina Laramie looked to get her team going with a 3-pointer, but Jatarie White scored the Gamecocks’ next six points in just over 90 seconds on a variety of inside moves, helping South Carolina take a 44-26 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The teams played a tight third quarter with ECU allowing South Carolina to add just three points to its lead as I’Tiana Taylor netted 10 of her team-high 16 points in the period after playing just seven minutes of the first half due to foul trouble. Coates and Wilson did their share early in the period, and Mitchell closed the quarter with five of the last seven points to establish a 69-48 advantage.
In the fourth quarter, East Carolina offense struggled to get on track as the Gamecock defense held them scoreless through the first 5:17 of the period, allowing the Gamecocks to go on a 13-0 run that put the game well out of reach.
Mitchell led all scorers with 18 points, matching her season high and coming on more efficient shooting from the field (5-of-9) to go with 7-of-8 accuracy from the free throw line. Coates dominated the glass with 15 rebounds add completed her third-straight double early in the fourth quarter with 10 points. Wilson returned to action with her sixth double-double of the season, netting 15 points and 10 rebounds. Colley led the way with four assists
South Carolina opened the second quarter on a 15-3 run in the first four minutes with five different Gamecocks scoring during the surge.
South Carolina shot 52.9 percent (9-of-17) in the second quarter while holding the Pirates to just 3-of-15 (.200) from the field, allowing the Gamecocks to stretch at six-point first-quarter lead into an 18-point halftime advantage.
- Senior guard Tiffany Mitchell had her most efficient shooting night of the season, hitting 55.6 percent from the field (5-of-9) as she tied her season high with 18 points.
- Sophomore center Jatarie White scored a career-high 14 points, including six straight points late in the first half.
- Two Gamecocks posted double-doubles for the fourth time this season with Alaina Coates and A’ja Wilson combining on three games (Ohio State, UCLA, East Carolina) and Sarah Imovbioh and Wilson combining on the fourth (UNCG).
- Five Gamecocks finished in double-figure points for the second time this season (UNCG).
- With two blocks in the game, junior center Alaina Coates moved into third place in school history in career blocks with 149. She needs 28 to reach the school record of 177.
South Carolina closes out its pre-holiday schedule with one more home game as the Gamecocks host Elon on Tue., Dec. 22. Tipoff at Colonial Life Arena is set for 7 p.m. Gamecock alumae Elem Ibiam and Aleighsa Welch will be on hand to receive their SEC Championship and NCAA Final Four rings prior to the game.