No. 1 South Carolina coasts to 102-59 win over Alabama
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) South Carolina’s season of milestones continued.
Alaina Coates scored 20 points and the top-ranked Gamecocks had six players in double figures in a 102-59 win over Alabama Thursday night. It’s the first time a South Carolina team has reached triple digits in a Southeastern Conference game.
”I thought we really executed from an offensive standpoint,” South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said. ”We moved the ball around and it was hard for Alabama to figure out who we were going to.
”I think that has to do with how many weapons we have on our basketball team. We went with a lot of different people.”
Mostly with the same result: Baskets.
The Gamecocks (15-0, 3-0 SEC) made 19 of 21 field goals during a couldn’t-miss stretch extending well into the second half. They have breezed to wins in their first three SEC games by a collective 86 points and have won the last 10 meetings with Alabama (11-7, 0-3).
South Carolina made 37 of 58 field goals (63.8 percent). Tiffany Mitchell scored 16 points for the Gamecocks and Asia Dozier added 15.
It was South Carolina’s third 100-point game of the season, continuing the program’s best start and longest winning streak.
Alabama leading scorer Ashley Williams was injured in the second half. She was placed on a backboard wearing a neck brace, but waved at the fans as she was being carted off. She had 10 points.
Crimson Tide coach Kristy Curry said she didn’t have an update on Williams, but planned to head to the hospital from the arena. The Alabama players and a couple from South Carolina went to her side before she was taken off.
”My first reaction was, `God I hope she’s OK,”’ Alabama’s Karlya Middlebrook said. ”That was really hard for me to sit on the bench while she’s over there almost looking unconscious from where I was sitting.”
Meoshonti Knight led Alabama with 16 points, but the Tide had no answer for South Carolina’s shooting blitz.
”Any time you shoot 63 percent and have six players in double figures, there’s not a whole lot you can do,” Curry said. ”They made open shot after open shot. Contested shot, open shot. Inside, out.”
The Gamecocks never cooled off and got 55 points off the bench, led by Coates.
Coates made 7 of 8 and blocked three shots in 21 minutes. A’ja Wilson, the reigning SEC freshman of the week, and Tina Roy each scored 11 points for the Gamecocks.
Aleighsa Welch was 5-of-6 for 10 points and has only missed two shots in the first three SEC games (14-of-16).
”When somebody has a hot hand, everybody else feels it,” Coates said.
Dozier scored South Carolina’s first eight points on two 3-pointers and a long jump shot, nearly doubling her 4.4-point average in the first five minutes.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks made 17 of 20 free throws. They committed seven turnovers and forced 17.
Alabama: The Tide was 7-of-25 shooting in the second half (28 percent). Knight was 8 of 11 from the free throw line.
HOT SHOOTING: South Carolina made its final 11 shots of the first half. The Gamecocks were 19-of-28 (67.9 percent) before halftime.
DOZIER’S START: Dozier, who came in averaging 4.4 points, carried the offensive load early for the Gamecocks. She hit her first three baskets while her teammates started 0 for 7 from the field and had 13 points by the half, ending up just shy of her career high (16).
GOOD FROM 3: Roy, Mitchell and Dozier each made three 3-pointers, and the Gamecocks were 11 of 21 from beyond the arc.
South Carolina: Hosts No. 10 Kentucky on Sunday.
Alabama: Visits Mississippi on Sunday.