On Saturday, The Wildcats were too much for the Gamecocks on Saturday. Kentucky's size thwarted any inside play that South Carolina could muster and the Gamecocks outside shooting woes continued in a Wildcats 58-43 victory.
The Aggies however are one of the few teams that can match the size of Dawn Staley's Gamecocks, who have four players six foot four or taller; Alaina Coates, A'ja Wilson, Elem Ibiam and Jatarie White. Texas A&M has a six foot seven center in junior Rachel Mitchell, a six foot five freshman in Khaalia Hillsman and six foot three Jada Terry.
Then just like that, the Gamecocks came alive. They went on a 14-0 run over the next four and half plus minutes. It was sparked by the six foot four freshman guard Wilson. Yes, Wilson is listed as a guard and she drives and runs the court like a guard. Wilson had four points and an assist during that span. Her assist on an Ibiam layup capped the run and put the Gamecocks up 34-24.
The Gamecocks would end up leading at halftime 39-31. At halftime, the University celebrated all its 3.0 scholar athletes with a parade around the court of all the players on the teams with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. After the parade, there wasn't enough time left for the usual Cocky dance with the kids, since they couldn't assemble the kids that quickly after the parade. Thus Cocky was left to dance with himself and you could dance in your seats with Cocky. Matthew had no interest in dancing to the Chicken Dance in his seat.
Meanwhile, Jordan Jones was going to work for the Aggies. She scored five points during this span, including a three pointer to cut the Gamecocks lead to 40-38. The South Carolina faithful starting getting antsy as the Gamecocks lead was being challenged.
South Carolina answered the bell. Tiffany Mitchell was able to get to the foul line in the Gamecocks' next two possessions. She nailed all four free throws to put South Carolina up six, 44-38. Mitchell then found Welch on a nice pass for a layup for the first basket for the Gamecocks in the second half. Then Coates made two free throws to put South Carolina back up ten 48-38.
Courtney Walker would hit two jumpers in a row to get Texas A&M back within six, 48-42. But after that, the Gamecocks clamped down on the Aggies. Over the span of the next six and a half minutes, South Carolina held Texas A&M to two free throws and a layup. Meanwhile, the Gamecocks did a great job of sharing the basketball, with assists on four baskets during the span. The small but feisty point guard Bianca Cuevas capped the the 19-4 Gamecocks' run with a layup to put South Carolina up 67-46 with 6:46 left in the game.
The Aggies were held to thirty eight percent from the field and they were fortunate they shot that well. Texas A&M's second leading scorer on the season, Courtney Williams was 3 for 21 from the field. The Aggies leading scorer on the season, Courtney Walker, was held four points under her season average of fourteen. South Carolina out-rebounded Texas A&M 43-29.
Unlike Saturday, the Gamecock crowd went home happy. Their #1 team again showed their dominance against a very good SEC opponent. A lot of talk around the college basketball world is whether the Kentucky men's team can go through the season undefeated or at least through the SEC conference.
After last night's performance at Colonial Life Arena, I expect the same talk to pick up about the South Carolina women's team.
Yes, they're that dominant.