The #5 South Carolina Gamecocks nearly dropped their first SEC game in almost two years with their leading scorer, A’ja Wilson, sidelined with a sprained ankle. But a career-high 25 points by Bianca Cuevas-Moore, coupled with two clutch free throws by Allisha Gray with under four seconds left, helped the Gamecocks slip past Georgia, 66-63, at Colonial Life Arena.
The Bulldogs held a 55-53 lead with 4:51 left following a three-pointer by Caliya Robinson. But a three on the other end by Tyasha Harris, her third of the contest, gave the Gamecocks a 56-55 lead, an advantage they would not relinquish the rest of the way. But Georgia wouldn’t go away easily, cutting it to 64-62 with less than five seconds remaining before Haley Clark was fouled by Doniyah Cliney. After Clark hit the first and missed the second, Gray was fouled on the rebound attempt, sending her to the line where she made both attempts. A last-second three-point attempt by Stephanie Paul was off-target and the Gamecocks would escape the upset-minded Dawgs.
South Carolina needed a player to step up in Wilson’s absence, and they got the production they needed from Cuevas-Moore. The junior enjoyed her best performance as a Gamecock, going 10-17 from the floor and sinking two threes. Gray chipped in 14 points, while Alaina Coates registered another double-double with 12 points and eleven rebounds. Harris showed well in her fifth career start, scoring 11 points and going 3-7 from beyond the arc. Carolina was able to squeak out a win despite being outshot 42%-37% and lacking Wilson’s presence inside to help down low (the teams tied 24-24 in points in the paint) and on the boards (the Gamecocks were outrebounded 40-34).
The Gamecocks look to make it nine in a row as they travel to LSU on Sunday afternoon. Tip off for that one is set for 3pm ET on SEC Network+.