basketball Edit

WBB: Gamecocks pull away in the fourth quarter

SOUTH CAROLINA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

South Carolina used a 12-0 fourth quarter run to pull away from Auburn and win 73-66 Thursday night in Auburn, Ala.

South Carolina had led the entire game, but turnovers and poor shooting let Auburn hang around and then make a run. Auburn battled back to tie the game at 47 with 7:43 to play, the first tie since 0-0. Mikiah Herbert Harrigan made a free throw, and then Daisa Alexander made a three to give Auburn its first lead of the game. The success was short-lived, as South Carolina answered with a 12-0 run over the next 3:13 to regain control of the game.

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Herbert Harrigan scored on a baseline drive to retie the game, and then Auburn missed a jumper. South Carolina went inside to Alexis Jennings for the go-ahead basket.The teams traded misses, but then Doniyah Cliney stole an outlet pass, and fed Herbert Harrigan for a layup and the foul. She made the free throw for the three-point play. Unique Thompson missed a pair of free throws, and then Tyasha Harris converted a three-point play. Harris added two more free throws to put South Carolina up 10 and cap the run.

Gamecock head coach Dawn Staley expressed concern that, with Sunday’s huge game against Mississippi State looming, South Carolina might be looking past Auburn. The team heard her concern, and started the game on fire.

The Gamecocks made their first five shots and raced out to a 10-0 lead just over three minutes into the game. The lead was 18-8 by the end of the first quarter, with the Gamecocks shooting 8-of-13 from the floor. But then the defenses took over. Both teams struggled to make baskets in the second quarter, but the Gamecocks, who shot 4-of-13 in the quarter, managed to stretch the lead to 15 with a minute left in the half. The Tigers then made back to back three-pointers, their first two of the game to trim the lead to nine at the break.

The poor shooting carried into the third quarter, as South Carolina went just 4-of-14. But Auburn, behind Alexander, found its shooting touch. Alexander averaged over 20 points in the previous four games, but started 0-of-8 Thursday. She made one of those late second quarter threes, and then scored nine points in the third as Auburn cut the lead to just three points.

South Carolina shot 53.8 percent in the fourth quarter, and 43.4 percent for the game. Auburn shot just 34.4 percent, but forced 19 South Carolina turnovers.

Herbert Harrigan, who had scored in double figures just once in the last seven games, finished with 18 points and five rebounds, including 12 in the fourth quarter. Alexis Jennings finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out. She was dominant inside, when South Carolina could get her the ball, going 5-of-6 from the floor and 5-of-5 from the line.

Notes:

Harris reached double-digit assists for the third time in the past four games. She finished with 12 points and 10 assists, her third double-double of the season. … Bianca Cuevas-Moore scored eight points in the first half, but barely played in the second half. … Alexander finished with 15 points. … South Carolina held a 42-29 rebounding advantage. … South Carolina went 24-of-30 from the free throw line. Auburn was 18-of-25, but missed several early in the fourth quarter with the game in the balance. … South Carolina’s next game is Sunday against Mississippi State with a share of the SEC Championship at stake.