South Carolina Falls to No. 9/8 Kentucky 66-58
S.C. – No. 24 South Carolina dropped a 66-58 decision to No. 9/8
Kentucky Sunday afternoon in SEC women’s basketball action at Colonial
Life Arena. The Gamecocks (14-4, 3-2 SEC) out-rebounded the Wildcats
(16-2, 5-0 SEC) on the afternoon but saw Kentucky’s 11 second-half
offensive rebounds help them to the comeback victory. South Carolina
was led by junior Ieasia Walker, who posted 14 points. Senior La'Keisha
Sutton added 12 points, while Charenee Stephens pulled down a
season-high eight rebounds.
After facing an early 7-0 deficit
created by Kentucky’s press, Sutton used two steals to net the
Gamecocks’ first six points of the game to help South Carolina get on
“I thought we did a pretty good job with [Kentucky’s
pressure], considering they went to a zone to change it up. We have to
take some good from [how we handled it]. They don’t really play zone a
lot, but we saw some zone today. So you kind of attribute that to us
being able to drive to the basket. We just couldn’t overcome our
turnovers,” said South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley.
Carolina out rebounded the Wildcats 22-11 in the first half, led by
Stephens who grabbed seven in the period. The momentum coming from the
rebounds helped the Gamecocks take the lead over Kentucky before
After Sutton’s six points got the offense on track,
freshman Aleighsa Welch was the beneficiary of some good interior
passing from the Gamecocks’ driving guards. Walker found her alone on
the right block after a hard drive through the lane, and Welch made
brought her team within 12-10 midway through the period with a putback.
Walker’s 3-pointer from the right wing made it a 14-13 affair with
10:11 to go before the break. Two possessions later, her 3 from the
opposite wing knotted things up at 18-18. The teams traded baskets down
the stretch, before Kentucky got a stop for a 28-23 lead. Welch’s
traditional three-point play and Sancheon White’s 3-pointer from the
right win just before the buzzer sent the Gamecocks into the locker
room with a 29-28 advantage.
Coming out of the halftime South
Carolina maintained some of its momentum from the first half to
continue to build on its lead, thanks to limiting turnovers for the
first 10 minutes of the half. During the stretch, the offense was
clicking and the Gamecocks were all over Kentucky’s misses, which
established a 45-36 edge with 10:01 left to play. Ashley Bruner needed
five points during the surge, and Sutton and Walker added the rest.
Wildcats had one final push in them, especially on the defensive end
where they turned up the pressure another notch. Eight of the
Gamecocks’ 28 turnovers in the game came in the closing minutes of the
half, helping Kentucky to a 58-51 advantage with three minutes to go.
From there, the Wildcats held off a late South Carolina charge, which
included five quick points from Tina Roy, to pick up the victory.
eight rebounds led three players with six or more, including Welch who
added seven to her 11 points. Walker pulled down six while handing out
a team-high five assists and picking up three steals. The Gamecocks
held Kentucky 15 points below its season average of 81.1 but yielded 30
points off their 29 turnovers.
The Gamecocks are back on the
road for their next two games, traveling to Auburn for a Thursday night
contest before heading to Nashville, Tenn., for a rematch with
Vanderbilt on Sunday