Top-seeded South Carolina turned a close one against 16th seeded UNC Asheville into an absolute blowout as they pummeled the Bulldogs by a score of 90-40.
Three quick thoughts from tonight’s victory:
- The first quarter was a little tight as South Carolina didn’t get off to the best start, but that all changed in the second quarter: the Gamecocks held the Bulldogs scoreless for the final 6:03 and ended the first half on a 22-5 run, scoring the final 12 points. They made 10 of 15 second-quarter field goals to offset UNC Asheville’s 3-10 mark. After scoring fifteen in the opening frame, the Bulldogs were held to just 25 the rest of the way.
- Carolina needed players to step up after Alaina Coates was ruled out of the tournament, and they got that in the person of Allisha Gray and Bianca Cuevas-Moore. Gray had a strong first half with 14 points and eight rebounds. Cuevas-Moore added twelve points on 5-7 shooting, including three steals that helped pace the Gamecocks during their dominant run in the second frame. And of course, A’ja Wilson was in the middle of the action as she added 12 points on 4-6 shooting in the opening 20 minutes. Gray finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds (her first career double-double) on 11-13 shooting, while Wilson and Cuevas-Moore ended with 18 each.
- The Gamecocks didn’t need a strong perimeter performance to run away with this game. They literally ran away with it as their transition game was no match for the Bulldogs. Their size, led by Wilson up front, was no match for the undersized UNC Asheville team. They dominated the glass by a wide margin (45-26) and tuned it over just five times in what was probably one of their most complete wire-to-wire performances of the season.
Next up: The winner of the (8) Arizona State vs. (9) Michigan State matchup, Sunday at 7:30 at Colonial Life Arena.