Gamecocks Drop Tough Game at Georgia
COLUMBIA, S.C. - No.
18/16 South Carolina dropped a hard-fought 42-40 decision to No. 13/12
Georgia at Stegeman Coliseum Sunday afternoon as both teams struggled
to shoot the ball against active, aggressive defensive efforts. The
game came down to the final possessions as neither team found much
offense in the second half. The Gamecocks (14-3, 2-2 SEC) saw their
final shot attempt to tie the game go long in the waning seconds after
the Lady Bulldogs left the door open from the free throw line.
Carolina got 19 points from Aleighsa Welch, which tied her career high,
and 10 rebounds from Tiffany Mitchell in the tough loss. Senior Ieasia
Walker closed her all-around performance with seven points, seven
rebounds, six steals, tying her career high, and three assists.
teams played to a tie at halftime in a back-and-forth affair. Each team
had a double-digit scorer, and the Gamecocks led for much of the period
behind Aleighsa Welch’s 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting. South Carolina
leapt out to an 8-2 lead before the Lady Bulldog offense got going.
Welch’s second, third and fourth efforts on a rebound between a pair of
Georgia defenders put the Gamecocks up 12-10 with 13:08 left in the
half, South Carolina suffered a rash of turnovers, committing seven in
a seven-minute span to help the Lady Bulldogs take an 18-15 lead. The
Gamecocks had another offensive surge in them, though, and pressed
ahead 21-18 behind a pair of baskets from Welch and a pull-up jumper
from Tiffany Mitchell with 4:55 left in the period. South Carolina was
poised to carry a three-point advantage into the locker room, but
Khaalida Miller’s traditional three-point play with 12 seconds left in
the half knotted things up at 25-25.
The second half began much
like the first in that both teams made separate mini-runs to trade the
lead. The Gamecocks came out first with a pair of baskets from Welch,
but Georgia answered with six straight points, four coming off South
Carolina turnovers, to take a 31-29 lead 16:30 on the clock. The
Gamecocks came out of the media timeout and answered with a 5-0 run,
keyed by the hard-nosed play of Ieasia Walker who swiped back-to-back
steals in the backcourt by out-muscling the offensive player.
35-31, Georgia snapped a six-minute drought with a pair of free throws
from Jasmine Hassell to start a 5-0 run that would put the Lady
Bulldogs in front 36-35 as the Gamecocks committed four turnovers
during the two-minute span. The lid went on both baskets after that
with the teams combining for a pair of free throws over the next six
Jasmine James ended the dry spell for Georgia, hitting
a tough shot from the right block on an out-of-bounds play to put the
Lady Bulldogs up 39-36 with 2:13 to play. The Gamecocks called a
timeout, looking for an answer to a nearly 13-minute stretch without a
field goal. After Georgia got another basket, Mitchell finally broke
through for the Gamecocks with a mid-range jumper on the baseline.
Ashley Bruner fought out a steal on an entry pass into the post. She
went on a break with Welch, who was fouled hard on the layup attempt.
Welch went to the bench, Sancheon White hit both the resulting free
throws to draw within 40-41 with 44 seconds on the clock. The Lady
Bulldogs ran down the clock before putting up a miss that Hassell
rebounded. After a Gamecock foul, she hit one of two free throws to
stretch it to a 42-40 game. South Carolina took a timeout to set up a
final shot, but could not connect.