It wasn't pretty, but, no one said it had to be. Especially, when you're going up against an opponent who you've only beaten four times in the total 49 meetings. Couple that with playing on the road against your fifth straight ranked opponent, and Dawn Staley and the Gamecocks will be smiling all the way back to Columbia.
Tennessee gave South Carolina a night-long fit, but it wasn't enough as the Gamecocks were able to hold off the Vols for a 62-56 victory Monday night inside Thompson-Boling Arena to clinch at least a share of the regular season SEC title. Tonight's win for the Gamecocks marked their 12th conference win and clinched their third straight regular season conference championship.
On the other side, Tennessee dropped their 6th SEC game of the season, their most in program history. The loss also puts the #25 ranked Volunteers in jeopardy of dropping out of the AP poll and ending a 564 week streak that dates back to 1985.
Both teams got off to a fairly slow start as Tennessee led 12-8 after the first quarter. South Carolina started to warm up in the second to outscore the Vols by seven and take a three point lead into the locker room. Both teams lit up the score board in the third and sophomore guard A'ja Wilson started feeling it from the field.
Wilson's silky lefty jump shot helped produce a game high 25 points on 8-15 shooting. She also shot 9-11 from the charity strike. Senior guards Tiffany Mitchell and Khadijah Sessions backed up the sophomore forward, chipping in 12 and 13 respectively.
The Gamecocks were able to create some separation as the second half wore on, building up a lead to as much as 11 even as they were held to 18-49 shooting on the night. It wasn't the best night for the Gamecocks offensively, but they'll take it as they can now call themselves SEC champs once again.