South Carolina led 13-11 after the first quarter after trailing 9-3 in the early going. But the defense clamped down on the Tigers in the second frame, outscoring them 19-5 to open up a 32-16 lead at the break. The advantage grew to as much as 20 in the third quarter and shrunk to as much as nine with 42 seconds left in the game, but Carolina made the most of its chances while holding their opponent at arm's length.
The Gamecocks overcame a off day by Tiffany Mitchell and A'ja Wilson - eight points each - but Wilson recorded three blocked shots and eight boards. Alaina Coates recorded yet another double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds; Bianca Cuevas chipped in 10 off the bench. The Gamecocks' inside attack allowed them to get to the line all afternoon long, attempting 29 free throws (making 22) to just nine for Auburn (who made five).
Next up for the Gamecocks: fifth-seeded Kentucky. The Wildcats stormed past the fourth-seeded Florida Gators, 92-69, and will face off against South Carolina tomorrow afternoon at 5:00.