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#3 South Carolina sinks #14 Texas 76-67 behind career night for A’ja Wilson

A’ja went off in this one.

NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-South Carolina vs Jacksonville Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

A’ja Wilson picked the right time to have a big night. With Alaina Coates, Allisha Gray and Kaela Davis struggling against a stingy Texas D, Wilson dropped a career-high 31 points on the #14 Longhorns to lead the #3 Gamecocks to a 76-67 victory in Austin.

Wilson added 11 rebounds to her statline and blocked four shots as Texas had no answers for the junior. It offset an evening where Coates finished well below her 16.6 ppg and 12.8 rpg averages with just six points and seven rebounds, despite reaching the 1,000 rebound plateau. In fact, besides Wilson, only three Gamecocks players, Kaela Davis (12) and Tyasha Harris (10), reached double digits.

Things got off to a slow start for the Gamecocks as they trailed 16-14 after one quarter of play, but Carolina ended the half on a 12-5 run to take a 33-30 lead into the locker room. The Longhorns would grab a 47-45 lead with 2:22 left in the third, their last one of the contest as the Gamecocks used a 10-2 run - all ten points coming via free throws - to go ahead by a 55-49 margin. The story of this one: free throws, and a lot of them; Carolina was 30-40 for the night from the stripe. For some perspective, A’ja Wilson had been to the line 35 times before this evening.

Another tough game awaits the Gamecocks as they travel to Duke on Sunday. Tip time is 2pm from Cameron Indoor.