The Elon Phoenix had their eyes set on what would have been one of the big upsets of the 2015-16 women's basketball season, but the South Carolina Gamecocks found their legs and ended non-conference play with a 78-63 win - their 40th straight at Colonial Life Arena.
The Gamecocks trailed 18-13 after a quarter of play before grabbing a 35-31 halftime lead thanks to a 22-point second stanza. That was despite outshooting the Phoenix 50%-41.4% in the opening two frames. Half number two was slanted more toward the Gamecocks as they took a 19-9 edge on the boards and saw Alaina Coates come alive, scoring twelve of her sixteen points in the final two quarters. Carolina also shot 5 for 9 from three in the third and fourth quarters after a 3 of 10 showing in the first and second.
Three Gamecocks found themselves in double figures, including Tiffany Mitchell (18), Coates (16), and A'ja Wilson (12). Coates and Wilson shared a game-high eight rebounds on the evening. Elon's Jenifer Rhodes led all scorers with 19, two points short of her career high.
While it wasn't the best showing for the Gamecocks, the team hits the Christmas break knowing that they have much to work on if they are to both repeat as SEC champions and put themselves into position to win their first national championship. That quest continues twelve days from now as they open SEC play at home against the Arkansas Razorbacks on January 3.