basketball

Bigs dominate as Gamecocks trounce Alabama

There was no New Year’s hangover for the A’ja Wilson, Alaina Coates and the Gamecock women’s basketball team. South Carolina began 2017 how they spent the majority of 2016: celebrating wins.

In their first game since Dec. 21 and first conference contest, the Gamecocks dismantled Alabama 93-45 to win their 17th consecutive SEC regular season game.

Click for more photos from Sunday's game

The Gamecocks (11-1, 1-0 SEC) started quick, draining a three pointer on their first possession of the game and jumping out to a 7-2 lead in the first three minutes. They kept that pace throughout the entire game, boat racing the Tide behind dominant inside play.

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Going against undersized forwards, bigs Coates and Wilson were able to set up inside and stay there all afternoon. The two combined for had 16 points and seven rebounds in the Gamecocks’ 27-point first quarter.

Wilson finished with 23 points and Coates had 19. Starting guard Kaela Davis finished with 16, 10 coming in the first half. Coates also had 11 rebounds, notching her eighth double-double of the season.

Alabama was outscored in the paint 54-14. The Tide shot 27 percent from the field (16-of-59) and 25 percent from beyond the arc.

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The lead grew to 20 in the second quarter after a Wilson bucket and the Gamecocks didn’t let up entering the half. Alabama was smothered defensively, unable to penetrate the Gamecocks’ zone, turning the ball over 13 times in the first half en route to a 41-22 deficit.

In the second half, the Gamecocks didn’t waste any time, going on a 19-9 run in the third quarter, sparked by the tag-team inside. It was 72-33 after three quarters, and Alabama did not lead through the first 30 minutes and were outscored by 20 points in the third quarter.

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Bench players picking up valuable minutes as the Gamecocks outscored the Tide by eight to end the game headlined the fourth quarter. Eleven players scored today for the Gamecocks. South Carolina led for 39:36, and the score was only tied for 24 seconds.

The Gamecocks will have four days off to celebrate the calendar changing to 2017 before taking on Auburn on the road Jan. 5.

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