On an emotional Senior Night, the best player in South Carolina women’s basketball history turned in a fitting performance, as A’ja Wilson scored 27 points and grabbed a career-high 24 rebounds during the No. 7 Gamecocks’ 57-48 victory over No. 24 LSU on Thursday.
Wilson, who scored South Carolina’s first seven points of the game, is now second on the program’s all-time scoring list with 2,237 points, and put up the first 20-20 since Sheila Foster’s 29-point, 22-rebound showing against UCLA in 1981. She now needs just 30 points to surpass Foster at the top of the scoring list.
As for LSU, the Gamecocks never trailed, but also never quite gained a comfortable separation from the Tigers. LSU preyed on South Carolina’s guards, especially after Ty Harris went out with a twisted ankle, and scored 22 points off of 14 turnovers. It was a cold shooting night for South Carolina as well, with the Gamecocks shooting 40%, and Alexis Jennings was the only player to join Wilson in double figures with 10 points.
South Carolina (23-5, 12-3 SEC) clinched a top-four seed in the SEC Tournament and can secure the No. 2 seed on Sunday with a win at No. 15 Tennessee.
The school distributed fake pearl necklaces to the crowd to honor Wilson, as it’s her favorite accessory to wear off the court. Coach Dawn Staley’s insanely adorable dog got in on the action, which served as the cherry on top of a nice evening:
Even @dawnstaley's boy Champ got in on the pearls today to celebrate @_ajawilson22 Senior Day! #Gamecocks pic.twitter.com/ihuegSjQsX— GamecockWBB (@GamecockWBB) February 23, 2018
Since this likely wasn’t Wilson’s final home game because of the NCAA Tournament, I’m just going to avoid thinking about life without her in Colonial Life Arena for now.
Up next: The Gamecocks travel to Knoxville for a showdown with the Lady Vols in their regular-season finale on Sunday at 4 p.m.