South Carolina dispatched Missouri with little difficulty on Sunday, pulling away from the Tigers late in the first half to ultimately win by a 78-60 margin that got as wide as 25 points. The Gamecocks move to 20-2 on the season and 8-1 in conference play, seizing sole possession of first place in the SEC.
South Carolina had six players reach double digits and continue to be a very well-balanced team. Sophomore guard Tiffany Mitchell led the way with 20 points, nine rebounds, three assists and four steals. She and fellow guard Khadijah Sessions wreaked havoc on Missouri all game long, combining to pick the Tigers off eight times and doing more than their fair share to force 19 turnovers. Even when Mizzou was able to get through the first line of defense, it's incredibly difficult to get anything past South Carolina in the post thanks to real-life cheat codes Elem Ibiam and Alaina Coates.
Coates already owned South Carolina's freshman record for blocks in a season and added four more against the Tigers. The 6'4 freshman looks like she's just toying with her opponents when she swats their field goal attempts out of the sky. She oftentimes doesn't even need to leave her feet. It's like playing against an older sibling who won't let you win--not even just once to let you feel good about yourself.
Even when sloppy ball handling by the Gamecocks' guards results in missed lay-ups or strips underneath the basket, South Carolina's tandem of 6'4 centers always seem to be in position to clean up the trash and either put back the easy basket or draw contact and head to the charity stripe. The duo combined for 23 points and 11 rebounds in 40 minutes of play.
The Gamecocks got some help from No. 16 Vanderbilt on Sunday. The Commodores knocked off No. 17 Texas A&M by a score of 71-69, dropping the Aggies to 7-2 and allowing South Carolina to take control of their own destiny in the SEC. The Gamecocks fell to Texas A&M in overtime on Jan. 16 and would, therefore, lose a tiebreaker with the Aggies, who they will not play again in the regular season.
Chants of "We want A'ja! We want A'ja!" could be heard through the CCTV broadcast late in the game while Khadijah Sessions was attempting a pair of late-game free throws. Fans were expressing their appreciation for A'ja Wilson of Columbia (S.C.) Heathwood Hall, the No. 1 overall prospect in the 2014 class. A'ja was in attendance at Sunday's game as part of her official visit to Columbia.
A'ja Wilson with a big smile, her father too, as the chant continues and the big head bounces. USC certainly repped itself well today.— GoGamecocks.com (@gogamecocks) February 2, 2014
The spring signing period for women's basketball begins April 16.
- Super Bowl 2014 kickoff time, live stream, stats, and halftime show
- Gamecock football recruiting: Blake McClain commits to Nebraska over South Carolina
- South Carolina vs. Ole Miss 2014 final score: Rebels hold off Gamecocks 75-71
- 2014 South Carolina baseball: Gamecocks ranked No. 14 in preseason USA TODAY Coaches Poll Top 25
- South Carolina Football: Will the Belk Bowl Be a Common Desination for South Carolina in Future Seasons?