South Carolina routed Benedict 120-49 in the first game of a women’s/men’s exhibition double-header on Sunday. Three Gamecocks scored twenty points or more, led by freshman Mikiah Herbert Harrigan’s 23.
Division II Benedict was never going to present a threat for South Carolina. The numbers bore out that fact: 35-13 after the first quarter, 72-23 at halftime, and it took a pair of blown layups to keep South Carolina from reaching 100 points by the end of the third quarter.
The game was about self-scouting for South Carolina. How would the newcomers – four freshmen and two junior transfers – fit in with the returning talent? How good would A’ja Wilson and Alaina Coates be? Could South Carolina make its free throws?
The newcomers integrated themselves brilliantly. The two transfers lived up to their promise. Sharpshooter Allisha Gray scored 15 points and grabbed five rebounds. Kaela Davis, who was mostly a scorer at Georgia Tech, had 20 points, but it was the way she filled up the stat sheet that was most encouraging. She had eight rebounds, three assists, and two steals and got her shots without taking over the offense. Davis also played three different positions, in a way taking over the role played by Aleighsa Welch when South Carolina went to the Final Four.
“We’ve been doing it a lot in practice,” Davis said. “When coach said, ‘We need you to go in at the four,’ it was an easy adjustment.”
Staley was excited by the ease with which Davis has made the transition from a score-first player to a complete player.
“She’s so versatile,” Staley said. “She brings so much more to the table.”
Wilson scored 22 points on 10-11 shooting and played just 24 minutes. Coates had a double-double with 16 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks. Herbert Harrigan’s 23 points came on 7-8 shooting and she led all players with 11 rebounds.
“I felt great,” Herbert Harrigan said. “It’s great getting to go out there and play with great players.”
“She’s got potential to be a really good player,” Staley said.
But Herbert Harrigan shot just 9-16 from the free throw line, the worst culprit on a Gamecocks team that was a dismal 27-48 (56.3 percent) from the stripe.