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(1) South Carolina drops (16) Jacksonville, 77-41, in NCAA tournament first round

The Gamecocks hold off a pesky Dolphins team to advance to the next round.

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

A shaky start ultimately turned the South Carolina Gamecocks' way as they advanced past the Jacksonville Dolphins, 77-41, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

This one certainly was a lot closer than the score would indicate as the Carolina offense struggled to get going. However, the Dolphins were unable to get off the mat themselves, and despite attempting to go blow-for-blow early on, they still trailed 32-21 at the halftime break. But the Gamecocks' defense turned it up a notch over the final 20 minutes - at one point scoring fifteen straight - and held the Dolphins to 20 second-half points to ice the game away.

Alaina Coates - no surprise - registered yet another double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds. A'ja Wilson shook off a rough beginning to finish with her own double-double (15 and 11), while Tiffany Mitchell ended with 14. The Gamecocks forced Jacksonville into 22 turnovers and held the Dolphins to just 20 second-half points to take control of the contest, despite shooting just 3-15 for three.

Next up for the Gamecocks: ninth-seeded Kansas State on Sunday at the Colonial Life Arena. The winner advances to next week's Sweet 16 in Sioux Falls.