WBB: USC blasts Maine
South Carolina made easy work of Maine with a 79-42 win. Alaina Coates led the way with 12 points and 14 rebounds.
Unlike the first quarter of Sunday's game against Hampton, in which South Carolina's play was "disgraceful," according to Dawn Staley, South Carolina wasted no time taking over Monday night's game. A'ja Wilson won the opening tip, and then scored the first three baskets for South Carolina. Kaela Davis added a free throw and after a blocked shot by Wilson, Coates scored on a layup. Down 9-0, Maine had to call a timeout just three minutes into the game.
The pause didn't help much. Coates scored another basket out of the timeout, followed by scores from Allisha Gray and Tyasha Harris to make it 15-0. After missing its first eight shots, Maine finally got on the board with a basket by Fanny Walding almost six minutes into the game.
South Carolina held Maine to just five points in the first quarter. There was little let up the rest of the game as Maine was held scoreless for the first 5:30 of the third quarter and shot just 27 percent for the game. South Carolina held a 42-27 rebounding edge and a 20-7 advantage in points off turnovers.
Coates had a double-double by halftime and was able to rest most of the second half. She has registered a double-double in all three games this season and has looked unstoppable at times. Granted her dominance has come against smaller, weaker opponents, but she has taken advantage of the matchups the way a top player should.
"We have a team that understands that points in the paint are very important, if it's coming from us or if it's coming from the guards driving," Wilson said. "It's something that we're very good at and it's something we can attack with our opponent, especially if they're undersized."
Coates led a balanced effort by the Gamecocks. Five players scored in double figures, led by Wilson's 14. Mikiah Herbert Harrigan chipped in 13 off the bench, and Kaela Davis and Gray each had 10. Herbert Harrigan has been a pleasant surprise during the early part of the season with her talent and versatility. She played 24 minutes, second most on the team, as Staley rested the starters in the fourth quarter.
"When I think of KeKe I think of myself freshman year," Wilson says. "She loves to take in information."
Notes: About the only thing that could delay South Carolina's blowout was Hampton and St. Peter's. The first game of the doubleheader ran long, delaying the tipoff for South Carolina's game by about 20 minutes. ... Julie Brosseau led Maine with 11 points. ... South Carolina finishes off the three-game homestand Tuesday night against Saint Peter's. Maine and Hampton play game one of the double-header at 5 p.m., with the main attraction to follow.