South Carolina's top-ranked women's basketball team had no trouble taking out one-win Charlotte, whipping the 49ers by a score of 82-61. The win brings Carolina to 7-0 on the year.
The Gamecocks gave up 61 points in the game, which ties their second-worst performance in that category this season and nearly ties their worst, which was 63 points against Syracuse. The Gamecocks gave up 45.3% from the field, which was their worst defensive FG% performance of the season. During the portion of the game that I watched, Carolina's failure to maintain disciplined perimeter defense and to clog passing lanes had Dawn Staley yelling at her team frequently.
Those failures didn't hurt Carolina too much in this game, though. With their commanding size advantage, the Gamecocks were able to shoot an astounding 55.6% from the floor. Despite missing several fewer shots, the Gamecocks also far outperformed the 49ers on the offensive glass. Charlotte simply had no answer for Carolina in the front court, where Carolina has not only a good group of starters but a deep bench. A'ja Wilson, Elem Ibiam, Aleighsa Welch, and Alaina Coates could all start virtually anywhere in the country.
I was only able to watch the end of the game, but while I did, I kept a close eye on Wilson. This was my first opportunity to watch the highly touted freshman. To saw I was impressed would be an understatement. Wilson is the total package: She has the size to dominate down low, she is comfortable handling the ball in the open court or on the wing, and she has good court presence on defense. I'm excited to see her play against elite competition.
We'll get the chance to do just that this weekend, when the Gamecocks travel to Cameron to take on Duke this coming Sunday. The game is at 1 ET and will be aired on ESPN2.