The 16,815 fans that filled Colonial Life Arena on Friday night for the women's basketball season opener were treated to a Gamecock victory after an exciting game that came down to the final minutes.
The Gamecocks had a fast start and jumped out to a 17-5 lead midway through the 1st quarter, but Ohio State fought their way back in and took their first lead of the game less than a minute before halftime. The Gamecocks struggled to score coming out of the half and the Buckeyes stretched the lead to 53-47. But the Gamecocks stayed in it, tying the game a couple of times before finally retaking the lead with two minutes left in the 3rd quarter. The final quarter was an intense back-and-forth affair. The Gamecocks had a 78-71 lead with 3:30 left, but the Buckeyes tied it back up within a minute. Carolina finally pulled away, with A'ja Wilson scoring three times in the final two minutes to help seal the 88-80 Gamecock victory.
The Gamecocks were able to overcome a fantastic performance by a formidable player in Ohio State's Kelsey Mitchell, who led the Buckeyes in scoring with 36 points. Sophomore A'ja Wilson led the Gamecocks in scoring with 20 points, following by Alaina Coates with 17 and Tiffany Mitchell with 15. Both Wilson and Coates had double-doubles.
There is certainly room for improvement for Carolina, but most of what the Gamecocks did worked and the talent of this team is obvious. South Carolina is impressive when things are clicking and it's a lot of fun to watch. Overall it was a good performance for the Gamecocks and a victory over a top ten team is a great way to start the season.
The Gamecocks will be back in action on Sunday when they host UNC Greensboro at the Colonial Life Arena at 3 p.m.