Fresh off their biggest win of the season over fellow top-ten team Kentucky, the Lady Gamecocks had to travel to Auburn to take on the Lady Tigers today. Auburn was gunning for an upset and built a double-digit lead during the first half, but Carolina retook the lead early in the second half and held on for a hard-fought 72-66 win. Tiffany Mitchell led the Gamecocks with 18 points and six steals. Alaina Coates also continued her torrid play with another double-digit points performance.
Defense was key to Carolina's comeback effort. Coming into the game, Carolina boasted the nation's third-ranked scoring defense, and while the Lady Gamecocks gave up 39 points to Auburn in the first half, Auburn was able to score only 27 in the second half.
This Thursday brings the Lady Gamecocks to College Station. Typically strong Texas A&M started slowly after breaking in a new lineup (no more Kelsey Bone to terrorize Carolina!); the Lady Aggies were 7-4 at one point with three losses to unranked teams. Lately, though, they've returned to their winning ways, with two straight road victories over ranked SEC opponents LSU and UGA. This is by far the Lady Gamecocks' toughest game before the final five games of the regular season, when Carolina will take on four currently ranked opponents and a solid Florida team. The game provides an opportunity for revenge, too, after TAMU beat Carolina twice last year, including in the SEC Tournament.
Be on the lookout for the release of rankings and RPI tomorrow. Carolina should benefit from a strong week. A win in College Station would make an eventual march to the top five heading into the final weeks a strong possibility.