A slow start to the first half turned the game into an uphill battle for the Gamecocks as they fell into 40-19 hole with just under four minutes to go.
South Carolina battled back from the end of the first period and into the second half, cutting the deficit to as little as nine. With eleven minutes remaining in the game, LSU led just 52-43. But the Gamecocks were unable to chip away any further than that and the Tigers held on for the 70-58 win.
It was the second time against a ranked team that the Gamecocks fell behind early and were forced to fight their way back into the game. Freshman Kelsey Bone said the team prepares hard in practice for the ranked opponents, but facing the real deal requires an adjustment.
“It’s a totally different ballgame when you have those actual players from these ranked teams that have All-Americans on the floor – it’s not the same as practice,” said Bone. “It takes us a minute to realize what we’re up against and then the game plan starts to kick in for us.”
“We’ve got to get adjusted to playing against these types of teams,” Bone said. “Our preseason schedule prepared us pretty well for what we’re going to face. It’s a matter of knowing it’s going to come and not being worried about it..I think the first ten minutes of these games are hurting us and once we get over that, we’ll be okay.”
“We have to find a way to even the playing field when we come against a team that’s very talented,” said Head Coach Dawn Staley. “We’ve got to work harder. We don’t work hard every possession and that’s what kills us. We have to scrap for 40 minutes. We tell our team all the time that we can’t have mental lapses and we have to out-work people.”
Key Box Score
|Total FG-FGA||3 pt FG-FGA||FT-FTA||Rebs||Pts||Assts||TO||Blk||Stl||Min|
|G Allison Hightower||8-16||1-2||6-8||4||23||4||1||4||4||40|
The 2010 SEC Preseason Player of the Year and candidate for 2010 National Player of the Year, Allison Hightower was a constant presence in the game for the Tigers. The senior shot 50% from the field and committed just one turnover on Sunday night.
- Despite playing most of the game in foul trouble, Valerie Nainima still managed to score 13 points to maintain her streak of scoring in double figures. The junior has reached double digits in every game this season.
- South Carolina’s bench made a strong contribution Sunday night, scoring 28 points.
- The Gamecocks only forced nine turnovers, a season-low.
-“We’re in a constant battle to figure out what works and what doesn’t work with a young basketball team like we have.” – South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley
-“[Coach Staley] has this program on the absolute right track and on the fast track. This is a great group of young players.” – LSU Head Coach Van Chancellor