Strong post defense was the emphasis for the Gamecocks as they prepared for Sunday’s game against Auburn.
The big reason?
Auburn’s 6’7 center KeKe Carrier.
“We had to win the post battle tonight,” said freshman Kelsey Bone. “I’d never played anyone that size before, so it was something new for me.”
Bone and Charenee Stephens caused problems for Carrier in the paint all afternoon – winning that post battle to guide South Carolina to a 63-49 win against the Tigers.
“They played really well defensively,” said Carrier. “We tried to take it to them, but they kept giving it back. They did a good job dropping down other players to defend me.”
Bone also made another strong impact offensively, scoring 15 points for the Gamecocks.
“Tonight was one of her best performances,” said South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley. “She played at a different pace where she can do a lot more. ”
Bone finished the game with 9 rebounds, falling a rebound shy of her sixth double-double of the season.
Key Box Score
|Total FG-FGA||3 pt FG-FGA||FT-FTA||Rebs||Pts||Assts||TO||Blk||Stl||Min|
|G Valerie Nainima||7-14||6-9||0-0||1||20||4||1||0||1||36|
Nainima maintained her streak of scoring in double figures in every game this season and also hit a career-high six 3-pointers tonight.
“She’s just such a dangerous player from anywhere on the floor,” said Auburn head coach Nell Fortner of Nainima.
“We’ve talked to Val about sometimes sneaking around the offense,” said Staley. “We want her to get the defense not thinking about her and then all of a sudden get more aggressive. ”
- South Carolina hit eight 3-pointers Sunday, equaling their season-high. The Gamecocks had eight 3-pointers against Alabama.
- The Gamecocks continue to be sharp from behind the arc, shooting above 50% for the third straight game.
- The Gamecocks only turned the ball over 11 times, a season-low.
- South Carolina out-rebounded an opponent for their third time in a row – pulling down 38 to Auburn’s 31.
- It was another double-digit assist game for South Carolina (third straight). The Gamecocks dished out 13 against the Tigers.
“It feels good because of the way we’re winning – we’re playing more disciplined basketball, we’re out-hustling to get the wins,” – Head Coach Dawn Staley.
“It’s really exciting to see the tide changing and the building of a tradition and this being the foundation for it,” – Kelsey Bone.