South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley and her staff knew the key to picking up a second straight win against an ACC opponent would be shutting down Wake Forest’s Brittany Waters and Sandra Garcia.
Waters entered the game averaging 19.9 points per game while Garcia was averaging close to a double-double (10.3 points and 9.8 rebounds per game).
“We made a conscious effort to cut Brittany Waters and Sandra Garcia’s production in half,” said Staley.
That effort paid off in South Carolina’s 62-52 win against Wake Forest on Thursday night at Colonial Life Arena.
Neither player ever got comfortable on the offensive end as they combined for just 4 points on 2-of-17 shooting. Wake Forest shot 29% from the floor and were 7-of-32 (22%) from behind the arc.
“In practice, we emphasized stopping the ball, transition D and cutting down their two leading scorers and I think we did a good job of executing the game plan tonight,” said guard La’Keisha Sutton.
The Gamecocks held Wake nearly ten points below their season average. The 52 points allowed tied the Gamecocks’ season low (they held High Point to 52 points on Dec. 2).
Staley was pleased with the team’s effort on defense against the Demon Deacons.
“This was one of our better defensive games,” she said. “When the people that aren’t supposed to score are [the ones that have to score], you’re doing your job. Fortunately for us, it wasn’t enough for them to win the game. We certainly made a conscious effort to take their leading scorers out of the game.”
Key Box Score
|Total FG-FGA||3 pt FG-FGA||FT-FTA||Rebs||Pts||Assts||TO||Blk||Stl||Min|
|G La’Keisha Sutton||5-10||1-1||7-11||3||18||0||3||1||0||37|
Sutton led the team in scoring for the first time this season, scoring 18 points and shooting 50% from the field.
“It was a great game for Keisha,” said Staley. “It was one we needed from a coaching and team standpoint and one she needed from a confidence standpoint. I was really proud of the way she defended tonight.”
“My goal this year is to be a defensive stopper,” said Sutton.
- The win was South Carolina’s fourth straight – a record in the Dawn Staley era.
- The Gamecocks improved to 6-1 when three players score in double figures. Sutton had 18, Valerie Nainima scored 13 and Kelsey Bone added 11.
- Bone recorded her third double-double of the season, adding 13 rebounds to her 11 points.
- Ieasia Walker scored a career high 7 points. Her previous high was 6 points against Oklahoma on Nov. 26.
- South Carolina tied their season high for turnovers with 24. The Gamecocks turned the ball over 24 times against San Diego State and Charlotte.
- The Gamecocks outscored the Deacons 28-16 in the paint.
“It’s never about scoring. I could score 20 points or 2 points. As long as we win, that’s all that matters.”
-Guard La’Keisha Sutton