Tag Archives: post-game blog

WBB Post-Game Blog: A Hard Lesson

It was another hard lesson for this young women’s basketball team.

After a hard-earned road win against No. 14 Georgia, the Gamecocks stumbled at home against Mississippi State, falling 55-53 on Thursday night.

South Carolina turned the ball over 18 times (their highest total in eight games) and shot just 34.9% from the field (their lowest in their last five games).

“It was a very winnable game, but we didn’t deserve to win,” said South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley. “We lost this game with our preparation.”

In a game that featured a series of mini-runs by each team, it was the Bulldogs who managed to pull away with the win.

South Carolina had an opportunity to tie the game with the final possession of regulation, but Kelsey Bone’s lay-up attempt with a second to go failed to drop.

Staley had been unhappy with the team’s effort in practice in the days leading up to the match-up with Mississippi State.

“It’s my job to get them right and they weren’t right coming into the game,” she said. “Our players have a responsibility too. They have to get themselves in a position to get up and play basketball games.”

An instant reaction might point to Gamecock miscues in the final minute of action as crucial, but Staley and La’Keisha Sutton said the issues were apparent throughout the contest.

“It didn’t come down to those plays,” Staley said. “It came down to plays where things broke down.”

“Throughout the whole game, different people made different mistakes,” said Sutton. “It wasn’t any one mistake.”

Key Box Score

Total FG-FGA 3 pt FG-FGA FT-FTA Rebs Pts Assts TO Blk Stl Min
G Ieasia Walker 4-10 2-4 0-0 5 10 2 4 0 2 27

The freshman guard recorded an SEC-season high in minutes played with 27. Walker had her highest point output since a 10-point effort against Kentucky.

Walker shot 4-of-10 from the field, including 2-of-4 from behind the arc.


Key Stats

  • The Gamecocks out-rebounded the Bulldogs 41-29. Kelsey Bone (13) and Charenee Stephens (10) each had double-digit rebound totals.
  • The Gamecocks had their highest positive rebound margin (+12) since out-rebounding Brown by 20.
  • Stephens recorded her first double-double of SEC play and her second of the season with 10 rebounds and 10 points.
  • South Carolina turned the ball over 18 times, their highest total since 18 turnovers against Kentucky on Jan. 14.

Key Quote

“We lost as a team, we won as a team. Hopefully, we’ll come back better as a team on Sunday.” – La’Keisha Sutton

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WBB Post-Game Blog: Tough Lessons

Dawn Staley’s young Gamecocks learned another valuable lesson in  Sunday afternoon’s narrow 60-55 loss to No. 5 Tennessee.

“We played a good 37 minutes, but to beat a team like Tennessee, you have to play a full 40,” she said.

The Gamecocks blitzed the Lady Vols from the opening tip, jumping out to a 13-2 advantage at the first media break.

“We started the game really well,” said Staley. “We played off being in an exciting atmosphere.”

However, Tennessee’s experience helped them settle into the game in the second half and the teams began trading baskets for much of the second half. South Carolina would stretch their lead to as much as six points before Tennessee would claw back to within one or two.

“We knew this would be a real test for our team on the road today,” said Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt. “Coach Staley’s done a great job with this program.”

Tennessee tied it with 2:47 left and then took the lead for good with two minutes to play. The Gamecocks struggled to score at the end, missing three field goals and three free throws.

“We’ve got young players who’ve never been in that type of situation before,” said Staley. “Sometimes when you get that close, you start thinking instead of just reacting and playing. You have to execute at the end.”

Despite the loss, the team can take away positives to build on for the rest of the season and the future.

“This is the best team, as far as in wins and losses, in our conference,” said Staley. “If we can clean up the last three minutes of the game, we’re goin to win a whole lot more games left in this season.”

South Carolina’s leading scorer La’Keisha Sutton said the lessons of Sunday will carry on past the sting of the loss.

“It feels bad right now, but overall it was a good game,” she said. “We did a lot of good things and we came together as a team today. That’s all that matters.”

Junior guard Valerie Nainima said the Gamecocks need to apply these lessons at the next opportunity.

“We’re still learning from these types of experiences,” she said. “We just have to take back what we learned today for the next close game.”

Key Box Score

Total FG-FGA 3 pt FG-FGA FT-FTA Rebs Pts Assts TO Blk Stl Min
G La’Keisha Sutton 7-12 3-3 2-4 2 19 3 5 0 1 38

Sutton was an offensive presence all afternoon – hitting outside shots and driving inside. The sophomore guard had her best offensive output in SEC play this season, scoring 19 points. Her previous high in SEC play this year was a 15-point effort against Florida.

Key Stats

  • Bench scoring was a key factor in game as Tennessee’s bench contributed 32 points. South Carolina’s bench scored 6.
  • The Gamecocks handed out 12 assists today. South Carolina lost for just the 3rd time this season when they dish out more than 10.
  • Seven of South Carolina’s 10 losses have come to ranked teams.
  • Sutton led the Gamecocks in scoring for the third time this season and the 12th time in her career.
  • Nainima scored in double digits for the 20th time in 21 career games.

Key Quote

“We played a good 37 minutes. But to beat a team like Tennessee, you have to play a full 40.” – Dawn Staley

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MBB Post-Game Blog: Downey Show Rolls On

Key Moment

I think we may have run out of words to describe the play of Devan Downey.

Amazing, awesome, great – those words simply don’t do it justice.

Downey put his stamp on another South Carolina win Saturday night, nailing a shot with under a minute to play to clinch a 78-77 win for the Gamecocks against Georgia.

Trailing for most of the second half, the Gamecocks began chipping away at the lead in the game’s final five minutes. Downey came alive late, scoring 9 of South Carolina’s final 11 points.

“As the clock ticks down, he plays better and better,” said Horn. “He made a lot of really tough shots again tonight.”

Shooting 60% from the floor and 57% from behind the arc for the night, Downey kept South Carolina within striking distance against the Bulldogs. And when every single person in the building knew he was the one taking the shot, Downey hit the game-winner.
Key Box Score

Total FG-FGA 3 pt FG-FGA FT-FTA Rebs Pts Assts TO Blk Stl Min
G Devan Downey 12-20 4-7 5-5 1 33 3 1 0 2 36

We may need to rename this part of the post-game blog as the “Devan Downey Box Score of the Night.” The senior guard continued his outstanding play tonight, registering his fifth SEC game with 30 or more points.

With his third-straight 30-point effort, Downey now has six career 30-point games in SEC play, equaling the total number of combined 30-point games by Gamecock players since South Carolina joined the league. Tre Kelley and BJ McKie had two apiece and Larry Davis and Carlos Powell each had one.

“He’s terrific. We don’t have a guy with his quickness so it’s hard to play man-to-man defense,” said Georgia head coach Mark Fox. “We just mixed it up a bit to keep them off balance but it wasn’t enough.”

Key Stats

  • With 19 points and 11 rebounds, Sam Muldrow picked up the first double-double of his career on Saturday night
  • Darrin Horn improves to 5-1 against Georgia and 3-0 as a Gamecock head coach.
  • South Carolina had their best SEC shooting night – making 51.8% of shots from the field and a season-high 52.9% from three-point range.
  • Lakeem Jackson had a season-high five assists.
  • Gamecocks improve to 10-4 when scoring at least 70 points.
  • Stephen Spinella hit both of his three-point attempts, a season high in three-pointers made. He also recorded his first career block.

Key Quote

“To see a guy that is THE guy that has to be stopped and is Option 1, 2, and 3 for us and still gets 30 points at this level is pretty special,” – Darrin Horn on Downey’s play in SEC games

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WBB Post-Game Blog: Starting Off on the Right Foot

Key Factor

Getting an early lead and starting things out right was crucial for the Gamecocks on Thursday as they picked up a comfortable 64-50 win over Ole Miss at Colonial Life Arena.

Facing a Rebel team fresh off a road win over No. 8 Georgia, South Carolina took a 7-6 lead three minutes into the game and never looked back. The Gamecocks would lead by as much as 20 points.

“We had to come out and start better than we’ve been known to start,” said Kelsey Bone. “We didn’t want to start out with a deficit and then have to fight our way back for the rest of the game.”

Limiting points and opportunities for Ole Miss’ Bianca Thomas was a focus for South Carolina as she averaged 21.8 points per game entering tonight’s contest.

The Gamecocks limited Thomas to just eight points in four minutes. Held scoreless in the first half, Thomas shot 2-of-10 from the field for the game. The senior guard failed to score in double digits for the first time this season.

“Keisha [Sutton] did a really good job pestering her all night,” said Bone.

South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley said Sutton relishes the opportunity to face a team’s top player.

“She was really focused for this game – she really gets up for the opponent’s top scorer,” she said. “She came in today to watch a little more film to see how she could limit [Thomas’] touches.”

Key Box Score

Total FG-FGA 3 pt FG-FGA FT-FTA Rebs Pts Assts TO Blk Stl Min
G Valerie Nainima 6-13 5-9 0-0 2 17 4 3 0 0 37

The junior guard had her best scoring night in the past three games after scoring just 5 against LSU and 12 against Florida.

“She got back on the scoring side of things and she looked pretty good,” said Staley.

Key Stats

  • Thursday’s win doubled South Carolina’s conference win total from last season.
  • The Gamecocks’ bench played a key role – contributing 15 points. The Rebels’ bench failed to register a point.
  • South Carolina shot 47% from the field and 43% from behind the arc.
  • The Gamecocks picked up their third straight win over Ole Miss in Columbia.

Key Quote

“Hopefully, we can get some of that magic that was in here on Tuesday night [at the men’s game vs. Kentucky] and do the unthinkable. If we can get that one – the sky is the limit.” – Dawn Staley on facing Tennessee this Sunday at Colonial Life Arena.

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WBB Post-Game Blog: Winning the Battle

Key Factor

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. ”

Key Stats

  • 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.

Key Quote

“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.

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