The #2 South Carolina Gamecocks didn't have to shake off a slow start in this one. With a double-digit lead for the majority of the game, Dawn Staley's bunch took advantage of Missouri's poor first half jump shooting and pounced on the Tigers early en route to an 83-58 victory Sunday afternoon in the CLA.
South Carolina led 17-5 after one thanks in large part to rim protection on one end and penetrating the paint on the other. The South Carolina bigs didn't let Missouri inside early and forced the Tigers to settle for jump shots, most of which they missed in the first half. If the Tigers were able to get inside, their shot was probably going to get blocked. A'ja Wilson finished the first quarter with three blocks and the Gamecocks' suffocating defense held Missouri to just 19 percent shooting in the first half and forced 10 steals, six blocks and 12 turnovers.
Meanwhile, the South Carolina guards were to get by their defenders on offense to force fouls and get layups. While the Gamecocks didn't shot it particularly well themselves, their aggressive attitude returned 20+ first half attempts from the foul line and built up an 18 point lead to end the first half.
The Tigers were able to get it down to 10 in the third, but a nine-point run fueled by Senior guard Tiffany Mitchell's seven straight points put the game away for good. Mitchell finished with a team high 19 points. And yes, you guessed it, the best frontcourt in America, A'ja Wilson and Alaina Coates, posted double-doubles.
While the Gamecocks' defensive intensity lessened in the second half, they held off the #20 Missouri Tigers without much trouble to stamp their 42 straight home victory.
The Gamecocks return to action against Kentucky in Lexington Thursday night.