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January 20, 2013

WBB: USC beats Florida



At Gainesville, Fla., No. 19 South Carolina stared down its biggest enemy and won a crucial road game.

Free throws, long the Gamecocks' Achilles heel, were far more missed than made on Sunday, but USC (16-3, 4-2 SEC) made enough at the end of the game to dispatch Florida, 52-44. Tiffany Mitchell made two to take a 49-44 lead with 15 seconds to play, Ashley Bruner made one of two as the Gators tried to extend the game and Khadijah Sessions finished her game-high 15 points with two makes to clinch the game.

The Gamecocks finished a horrid 17-of-33 from the line (Bruner, who Florida tried to foul throughout the final five minutes, was 4-of-14) but still had enough to overcome. USC yanked an incredible 59 rebounds, got its post game working after a first half of being stymied by Florida's zone defense and 6-foot-7 Vicky McIntyre and got production from its bench.

That was Sessions, who played extended minutes after Mitchell hit the deck hard early and sat for a while. She nailed back-to-back 3-pointers early, then drove the lane and was fouled, and the team followed her lead.

Ahead seven at halftime, Florida tied the game at 35 but Sessions hit another 3-pointer to send the Gamecocks back in front. That started a 10-0 USC run that the Gamecocks rode to the finish.

Still, Florida made it interesting by fouling with its substitutes and forcing the Gamecocks to win it from the line. Bruner missed six straight at one point before she made one, then missed the next. She got another chance after a lane violation, missed and Aleighsa Welch got the rebound.

Sessions ended with 15 while Bruner had 14. Ieasia Walker and Welch scored eight points each.

USC hosts No. 5 Kentucky at 7 p.m. on Thursday.



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