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March 25, 2016

Box Score | USATSI Photo Gallery media-icon-photogallery.gif | Photo Gallery media-icon-photogallery.gif

Gamecock Stat Leaders

Points: Alaina Coates (18)

Rebounds: Alaina Coates (16)

Assists: Tiffany Mitchell (5)

Steals: A’ja Wilson (4)

Blocks: A’ja Wilson (3)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Despite 31 bench points and double-doubles from junior center Alaina Coates and sophomore forward A’ja Wilson, top-seeded South Carolina fell to fourth-seeded Syracuse, 80-72, in Friday’s NCAA Sweet 16 contest at Denny Sanford PREMIER Center. With the loss, the No. 3/2 Gamecocks ended their historic season with an overall record of 33-2.

South Carolina, which entered the fourth quarter with a 56-50 lead, was outscored, 30-16, over the final 10 minutes of the game. Syracuse grabbed its first lead of the second half after a jumper by guard Cornelia Fondren made it 63-61, but the Gamecocks would battle back, and two baskets down low from Coates put South Carolina back in front, 65-63. The Orange responded with an 8-1 run to give them a five-point advantage before Coates’ fourth field goal of the period cut the deficit to 71-68. A layup by Wilson and two free throws from Coates brought the Gamecocks to within four at 76-72, but South Carolina wouldn’t get any closer the rest of the way.

Coates scored a team-high 18 points to go along with 16 rebounds, as she notched her third-straight double-double. Wilson added 15 points and 10 boards, while senior guard Tina Roy finished with 17 points and five 3-pointers, all of which came in the first half. Senior forward Sarah Imovbioh was efficient in nine minutes of action, boasting totals of eight points and five rebounds, and sophomore guard Bianca Cuevas knocked down two 3-pointers and dished out four assists on the night.

Wilson provided the scoring in the early going for the Gamecocks, tallying each of their first four points. The forward knocked down South Carolina’s first field goal of the contest to cut the Syracuse lead to 6-4 midway through the opening period, and her first assist of the night led to a three-point play by Coates that brought the Gamecocks to within one at 8-7. Another nice pass by Wilson setup Roy for a 3-pointer that evened the game at 10 on South Carolina’s next trip down the floor, and the Gamecocks headed to the first break trailing, 16-15.

Syracuse’s zone defense created many open looks for South Carolina’s shooters, and 3-pointers from Roy and Cuevas gave the Gamecocks their first lead of the game at 23-20 less than three minutes into the second quarter. Imovbioh’s put-back stretched the advantage to 27-22 before Roy took the game over for the remainder of the half. The senior caught fire from behind the arc over the next few minutes, connecting on three 3-pointers over the final 3:44 of the period to help South Carolina build a 43-33 halftime lead. Roy tallied 14 second-quarter points and headed to the half with a game-high 17 points after going 6-of-9 from the floor over the first 20 minutes. The Gamecocks, who totaled seven 3-pointers through the first two quarters, received 27 points from its bench in the first half.

Senior guard Tiffany Mitchell became the third Gamecock to connect from behind the arc, and her 3-pointer pushed the lead to 46-35 out of the half. Syracuse scored eight of the game’s next 10 points to make it 48-43 before the Gamecocks responded with a 6-0 run to extend their cushion back to double-digits at 54-43. Mitchell, who notched seven points in the period, capped the scoring run with her third field goal of the quarter. The Orange answered with seven of the quarter’s final nine points, and a 3-pointer by forward Brianna Butler cut their deficit to 56-50 as the two teams entered the final break.

Butler and guard Brittney Sykes combined for 35 points and 14 field goals for the Orange, who shot 50.0 percent from the 3-point line in the second half. The Gamecocks held a 40-18 advantage in points in the paint and finished the night 44.4 percent from the floor.


After junior center Alaina Coates’ layup gave the Gamecocks a 65-63 lead with 3:28 left to play, the Orange responded with an 8-1 run to make it 71-66. South Carolina didn’t get any closer to four of the lead for the remainder of the contest.


The Gamecocks, who converted seven 3-pointers in the first half, went just 1-of-16 from behind the arc over the final 20 minutes of the game.


  • South Carolina’s eight field goals from behind the arc on Friday matched its record for the most 3-pointers in an NCAA Tournament game.
  • Center Alaina Coates has nearly averaged a double-double in NCAA Tournament play in her career, as the junior sports marks of 13.6 points and 9.7 rebounds per game.
  • Friday was the third time this season that senior guard Tina Roy finished a game with at least five 3-pointers. She led the Gamecocks with 67 3-pointers on the season.
  • The Gamecock bench totaled at least 30 points for the eighth time this season in the loss to the Orange. South Carolina’s bench averaged just over 20 points (20.6) per game heading into the Sweet 16.