The Lady Gamecocks streak of 10 straight wins is over after Carolina fell 73-61 to Tennessee in Knoxville. Aleighsa Welch, Tiffany Mitchell, and Alaina Coates all scored in double figures, but it wasn't enough to beat the Lady Vols, whose Isabelle Harrison was the star of the afternoon with a 20-point, 9-for-11 performance.
Inefficient shooting played a big role in the loss. Carolina shot only 38.5 percent for the game, often taking ill-advised shots early in the shot clock. Tennessee was successful in keeping Carolina from playing the methodical, interior-oriented style of offense the Lady Gamecocks prefer. Dawn Staley highlighted the problem in her post-game interview:
"We're a lot more efficient basketball team than we displayed," South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said. "Part of it is I thought the pace of the game was a lot quicker than we'd like to play. They forced us to play fast and probably take quicker shots than we normally take. I think Tennessee had a lot to do with it because they want to get up and down in transition. We just tried to keep up pace with them, but that's just really not our pace."
On the other end of the floor, Tennessee shot the ball much better than we did, and it was also very successful in limiting turnovers, committing only seven in the game.
It would be nice to write this loss off to Tennessee having more to play for in the game, but although Carolina indeed had already wrapped up the SEC regular season title, this is an unfortunate loss for NCAA Tournament seeding purposes. Carolina now leaves the ranks of the two-loss teams. Number three Louisville may join the Lady Gamecocks in that regard after tomorrow night's game against juggernaut number one UConn, but even if that comes to pass, it will put Carolina in competition with three-loss Baylor and Louisville for a top seed in the tournament. And that's if Carolina avoids losing another game in the SEC Tournament. The silver lining is that we can hope that the loss inspires renewed focus as Carolina enters post-season play.