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February 2, 2012
At Knoxville, Tenn., South Carolina pulled the biggest upset in its program history on Thursday, rallying past No. 8 Tennessee 64-60 for its first win over the Lady Volunteers since 1980. Coach Dawn Staley got her first win over a Top-10 opponent since arriving at USC and the Gamecocks (18-5, 7-3 SEC) broke a 40-game losing streak in the series.
Down five points with five minutes to play, USC rallied behind more of Markeisha Grant's career-high 27 points. Ieasia Walker hit a layup to put the Gamecocks ahead 61-60, and after Ariel Massengale missed a shot and Shekinna Stricklen missed a 3-pointer, Walker rebounded.
Walker was fouled and made one free throw, but Tennessee's Glory Johnson missed a layup and Charenee Stephens rebounded. Grant missed a 3-pointer but senior La'Keisha Sutton rebounded and was fouled.
Tennessee called timeout to ice the captain, but Sutton coolly stepped to the line after the timeout and drained two free throws for a four-point lead. All that was left was to run out the clock and celebrate with the nice chunk of USC fans who made the trip, including football coach Steve Spurrier and his wife, plus athletic director Eric Hyman and his wife.
Grant led the way, stroking seven 3-pointers (just two off the single-game school record). Walker had 11 points and Sutton had 12. USC battled past an off night in the paint from Ashley Bruner and Aleighsa Welch; the two had trouble getting past the Vols' abundance of height.
USC takes a week off before playing at Arkansas on Feb. 9.
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