Second Half Charge Leads Gamecocks Past Cougars
S.C. – South Carolina ramped up the defense in the second half, which
sparked a sluggish offense, as the Gamecocks topped College of
Charleston 59-40 Wednesday night in women’s basketball action at
Colonial Life Arena. Taking a one-point lead into the locker room at
halftime, the Gamecocks (4-1) exploded in the second half with
persistent full-court pressure that unhinged the Cougars (1-3).
Markeshia Grant led the way with 14 points, including eight of the
team’s first 10 in the second half.
“It was good to see
[Markeshia and Ashley Bruner play so well together],” head coach Dawn
Staley said. “We needed somebody to step up and take charge on the
offensive end. We had too many turnovers in the first half. It was
uncharacteristic of our basketball team to play that kind of half. To
have Markeshia and Ashley come out the way we did, we needed that kind
of boost from the offensive standpoint.”
The first half was a
sloppy one for both teams, which combined for 31 turnovers and just 43
points in the first 20 minutes. Long scoring droughts plagued both
sides, and the Gamecocks’ shooting woes continued.
a 7-3 lead on a Grant transition layup, South Carolina saw the Cougars
battle back with six of the game’s next eight points. With the game
knotted at 9-9, Tina Roy drained a 3-pointer from the left wing, but it
was the last lead the Gamecocks would see until just before the end of
the period. The Cougars took advantage of a spate of South Carolina
turnovers to open a 19-15 edge with 5:22 left in the period.
there, it was the Gamecocks who capitalized on miscues as consecutive
trips to the free throw line for Aleighsa Welch cut the lead to one.
After a right hook from Deidre Ramer, Grant hit a pair of free throws
and Welch put the Gamecocks on top 22-21 with a put-back just before
The story was much different in the second half as
Staley and the Gamecocks unleashed their full-court pressure, which
proved highly disruptive to the Cougars. The turnovers, mostly around
half-court also allowed South Carolina to speed up its offense,
attacking the basket right away.
Grant was the primary
beneficiary of the tempo change as she netted eight of the Gamecocks’
first 10 points for a 32-23 lead just three minutes into the half.
South Carolina did not let up at all from there with Grant and Ashley
Bruner combining for six straight points as the lead stretched to 40-25.
buckets from Brittany Johnson brought CofC within 29-42 with 13:47 on
the clock, but an eight-minute scoring drought was the Cougars’
ultimate demise as the Gamecocks extended their advantage to 55-30 by
the time Cathryn Hardy hit a free throw to end the skid.
narrowly missed her first double-double of the season, finishing with
13 points and nine boards, eight of which came in the second half when
the Gamecocks as a whole were much more active on the glass. Welch
matched Bruner for team-high honors on the glass, including five on the