Thursday, December 17, 2015
Despite Offensive Struggles, Gamecocks Pull Away From Pirates
Coming off a very impressive 86-37 win over Winthrop on Sunday, which included the Gamecocks leading at the half 47-13 over an Eagles team with a similar record at 2-7, you would think they would not have much trouble with a 1-7 Pirates team that lost five of its seven games by twenty one points or more.
But that's why the game is played and not left to statistical programs.
The Gamecocks seemed frustrated on offense. Seemingly easy layups just went off the rim, In one first half possession, the Gamecocks fired two consecutive jumpers off the backboard never hitting a rim. Even a three point attempt from the corner hit the side of the backboard. Staley was none too pleased with her offense in the first half of the game.
But once again, South Carolina went into a drought as the Pirates continued to play hard on the defensive end. Hampton would hold South Carolina to two points in the last three and a half minutes of the second quarter, while scoring seven points of their own in that span. The Gamecocks only led 30-18 after shooting just 30 percent in the first half.
After a three point play by Tate-DeFreitas cut the lead back to sixteen, 45-29, the Gamecocks would extend the lead over the five final minutes of the quarter to take a 59-38 lead after three quarters. The Gamecocks nearly scored as many points in the third quarter, twenty nine, than they did in the first twenty minutes of the first half. They did this despite committing seven turnovers in the quarter. They also extended their lead despite Hampton scoring more points in the third quarter, twenty, than they did in the first half. What helped was that South Carolina shot seven of eight from the field in the third quarter.
Coming off her triple double against Winthrop, Coates had to settle for a double double with twenty two points and twelve rebounds. Sarah Imovbioh added nineteen points and seven rebounds, while Mitchell chipped in with seventeen points and six rebounds. South Carolina nearly had as many offensive rebounds, eighteen, as Hampton had total rebounds, nineteen. The Gamecocks outrebounded the Pirates 52-19. Tate-DeFreitas led the Pirates with fourteen while Ryan Jordan had nine points.
By resting Wilson, Staley has been able to reach into her bench and ten of her players played eight minutes or more last night. That will give them experience heading into SEC games where four of the other teams are ranked; #8 Kentucky, #9 Mississippi State, #14 Tennessee and #18 Texas A&M. Plus you have 10-0 Missouri, 9-1 Georgia, 9-1 Florida and 8-2 Vanderbilt waiting for the Gamecocks as well.
Hope Wilson has got a lot of rest. She's going to need it come January.