Grant Leads Gamecocks Past Paladins, 72-33
S.C. – Senior guard Markeshia Grant scored 14 of her career-high 22
points in the first eight minutes of the game, setting the tone for a
72-33 South Carolina win over Furman (5-3) in women’s basketball action
at Colonial Life Arena Sunday afternoon. The Gamecocks (7-2) turned in
a solid effort on both sides of the ball as 21 steals – 10th-most in
school history – helped the offense to a season-high 44.4 percent
shooting, including 50.0 percent in the first half. Junior guard Ieasia
Walker reeled in a career-high six of the 21 steals to set the tone.
[Grant is] one that works,” South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley said.
“She’s a tireless worker, and she wants to do well. So, for her to come
out and jump-start our offense like she did is a wonderful thing.
She helped some of our other players get on board and get their offense
jump-started as well.”
The Gamecocks started the game hot and
took an early 11-3 lead into the first media timeout, thanks to nine
early points from Grant. The Tampa, Fla., native would continue her hot
shooting, pacing the Gamecocks to a 21-5 lead with 14 points in the
games first eight minutes. Grant finished the game hitting 10-of-13
from the field and tying for team-high honors on the glass with eight
rebounds, one shy of her career high.
With 8:00 left in the
half, the Garnet and Black had a 27-7 lead. Freshman guard Tina Roy
further stretched the advantage with a mid-range jumper from just
behind the free throw line, and Walker followed with a 3-pointer from
the right wing to push the lead to 25. The Gamecock defense was
suffocating in the first half, forcing 13 steals and limiting the
Paladins to 5-of-19 shooting. Carolina took a 40-11 lead into the break.
second half started out with more of the same as Carolina went on an
early 12-2 run. Grant broke her previous career high of 18 points with
just over 17:30 left in the game on a fluid transition layup. The
Gamecocks ran out the clock and notch their seventh victory of the year.
and senior guard La’Keisha Sutton joined Grant in double figures,
adding 10 and 11 respectively. Walker handed out a team-high four
assists for a balanced all-around effort. Aleighsa Welch matched Grant
on the boards with eight rebounds, including six on the offensive end.
Gamecocks are back in action on Wed., Dec. 14, as they take on in state
foe South Carolina State at Colonial Life Arena at noon. The winners of
the first segment of the Read with the Gamecocks program will be
honored at halftime of the game.