No. 1 South Carolina rallies to beat No. 24 UNC
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Bree Hall scored 15 points and top-ranked South Carolina rallied from 11 down in the second quarter to push past No. 24 North Carolina 65-58 in Thursday night’s ACC/SEC Challenge.
Te-Hina Paopao added 14 points for the Gamecocks (6-0), who ended up facing their toughest challenge in an early season slate of high-scoring blowouts — including against two ranked teams. South Carolina came in ranked second nationally in scoring offense at 100.4 points and leading the country with an average victory margin of 51.6 points.
But the Gamecocks ended up in a fight to the final seconds with the Tar Heels (5-3), who got off to a quick start and then stayed within reach even after South Carolina pushed ahead midway through the third.
Paopao hit three second-half 3-pointers, while Hall added a huge one from the left wing with 2:08 left that pushed the Gamecocks to their biggest lead at 60-52. South Carolina also got four straight free throws from Chloe Kitts and Ashlyn Watkins in the final 25 seconds to stay in control.
That would ultimately help them hang on despite shooting a season-low 39% and battling early turnover problems.
- The Gamecocks shot their best from behind the arc so far this season, finishing 6-for-11 (54.5%) with newcomer Te-Hina Paopao and Bree Hall accounting for three each.
- After facing a deficit of 11 in the first quarter, South Carolina battled back outscoring the Tar Heels 16-10 in the second to bring things within three at the break.
- The Gamecocks came out of the half with a 7-0 run to put themselves on top 41-37, outscoring North Carolina 21-12 in the third quarter.
- Breezy Ball: Hall had a standout night on both sides of the ball, finishing with a block and a team-high 15 points (her most this season). Hall threw down a key three in the fourth quarter with two minutes left to give the Gamecocks their biggest lead of the game at eight.
- Te-Hina Paopao ended with her fifth consecutive game in double digits, putting up 14 points with nine coming from three 3s in the second half to give South Carolina the lead. She also handed out a team-high four assists.
- Kamilla Cardoso was dominant once again on the glass, grabbing 16 of the team’s 39 rebounds to tie her career high.