Gamecocks Fall to No. 11/12 Penn State, 55-50
S.C. – Despite 25 offensive rebounds that helped South Carolina to 34
more shots, No. 11/12 Penn State escaped Colonial Life Arena with a
55-50 victory in women’s basketball action Sunday afternoon. The
Gamecocks led much of the game, including an eight-point margin in the
final six minutes, before the Lady Lions’ frontcourt wore them down.
Nine of junior Ashley Bruner’s career-high 18 rebounds came on the
offensive end, and junior Ieasia Walker added 15 points and five steals
to the Gamecocks’ solid team effort.
“We knew [Penn State’s
height] would be their advantage,” South Carolina head coach Dawn
Staley said. “They certainly took up a lot of space. I thought our kids
fought. I thought we did as best we could with the height advantage. We
look forward to playing them because we know we’re going to be
challenged in that way.”
Penn State’s offense was efficient
early in the game for a quick 8-5 lead, but the Gamecocks’ aggressive
guard play sparked a 9-2 rally that put the Gamecocks up 14-10 five
minutes into the game. Walker got the spurt going with a pull-up jump
shot, and La’Keisha Sutton put back her own miss for a 9-8 Gamecock
lead. After Talia East hit a jumper in the lane for the Lady Lions,
Bruner scored and Sutton drilled a three from the right wing for a
14-10 South Carolina advantage.
Missed shots and turnovers led
to a three-minute offensive stall for both teams. The Lady Lions
righted the ship first, scoring the games next six points to reclaim
the lead midway through the period. Turnovers on Penn State’s next two
possessions let the Gamecocks get back in the scoring column. Sutton’s
free throws broke a 16-16 tie and after three more Penn State turnovers
Markeshia Grant’s transition jumper from the right wing put the
Gamecocks up 20-18 with 3:26 left in the half. Penn State closed
the first half on a 10-2 run to take a 26-22 lead into the locker room.
Gamecocks started the second half with two free throws from Charenee
Stephens and a 3-pointer from Grant to take a 27-26 lead. Penn State
quickly answered back with six straight points, capitalizing on a pair
of South Carolina turnovers. The Gamecocks worked inside-out to tie the
game at 34-34 with 14 minutes left to play as Walker hit a driving
layup and spinning jump shot followed by a put back from Stephens and a
Bruner free throw.
Walker’s big 3-pointer from the right corner
kicked off a 16-6 Gamecock surge that spanned the next nine minutes.
Aleighsa Welch added two more points, and Walker hit another three to
give South Carolina a 42-36 advantage. Tina Roy came off the bench with
back-to-back buckets, and Sancheon White and Bruner combined for three
more points to give the Gamecocks a 50-42 lead with 5:47 left to play.
the Gamecocks had handled Penn State’s height advantage through much of
the game, the Lady Lions ramped up the interior defense down the
stretch. South Carolina continued to attack the basket but found open
looks more difficult to come by, which switched momentum into Penn
State’s favor. Maggie Lucas netted eight of the Lady Lions’ final 13
points to propel her team to the victory.
struggled with offensive efficiency, hitting just 25.0 percent from the
field, compared to 50.0 percent for Penn State. The Gamecocks
out-rebounded the taller Lady Lions, however, 40-39, including a 25-5
advantage in offensive boards. Defensively, South Carolina forced 23
turnovers, which it turned into 17 points.
Walker was the only
Gamecock in double figures, but Bruner narrowly missed her first
double-double of the season with nine points. Bruner’s 18 rebounds were
a game high, as were her nine offensive boards. Sutton handed out a
team-high three assists.
The South Carolina women’s basketball
team continues its three-game home stand next week, opening and closing
the Thanksgiving weekend of Gamecock home events with a Wed., Nov. 23
matchup with College of Charleston at 7 p.m. and a Sun., Nov. 27
contest with Presbyterian at 1 p.m.