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Grant Leads Gamecocks Past Paladins, 72-33


COLUMBIA, 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.

“Markeshia [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.

The 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.

Walker 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.

The 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.



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