Well, that was close for a while, but it will do. The Gamecocks moved to 8-1 on the season by putting away a pesky Clemson team by a score of 83-61.
South Carolina held a 22-12 lead with 2:06 remaining in the first quarter following a Doniyah Cliney free throw. But the Tigers fought back with a 9-0 run, cutting it to a 22-21 game with 54 seconds gone by in the second. Carolina would then stretch its lead on the strength of a 16-7 run the rest of a way to take a 38-28 lead into the locker room, then scored 13 of the first 17 points in the second half to open up a 51-32 advantage with 5:23 remaining in the third quarter - a quarter that didn’t see the Tigers hit a field goal for the final 5:07. The two teams traded baskets for most of the fourth as the Gamecocks were able to nurse their double-digit lead the rest of the way.
Tonight was a far cry from the game against Minnesota that saw the Gamecocks knock down a historic amount of threes, as Dawn Staley’s game plan this evening returned to a familiar diet of strong interior play. South Carolina held a 50-26 advantage in the paint, led 21-8 in second chance points, and held a convincing 19-11 edge on the offensive glass. They pummeled the Tigers in the rebounding department by a 49-30 count and ended the night with 11 blocks, four by Alaina Coates.
Clemson had no answer for the height of Coates and front court mate A’ja Wilson, who finished with 19 and 20 points, respectively. The duo found themselves with double-doubles as well after recording ten rebounds a piece (Clemson’s entire starting lineup alone finished with a total of 14), with Coates moving into second on the program’s all-time rebounding list.
With her 10th rebound of the night, Alaina Coates has moved to second in school history in career rebounds with 1,027. #Gamecocks— Adam Orfinger (@AOrfinger) December 16, 2016
Next up for the Gamecocks: a Sunday matinee with #9 UCLA on ESPN2. Game time is set for 2pm at the CLA.