The Gamecocks (0-1) struggled shooting the ball throughout the game, but it was second-half turnovers that helped the Lady Lions (1-0) first recover then extend their 10-point halftime lead. Senior Demetress Adams recorded a double-double in the outing with 11 points and 12 rebounds, eight of which came in the first half.
"Coming into the season, I knew we would struggle to score," South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley said. "We have to find scoring from somewhere because I knew they (Penn State) would neutralize Demetress' (Adams) contributions to our team. We have to find people to help with that load, but we also have to find ways to get Demetress the ball in positions where she can score and not have to create on her own all the time."
The first half was marked by poor shooting from both teams, although the Gamecocks suffered more, hitting just 5-of-28 from the field. Things started well for South Carolina as Adams netted the game's first three points. She scored first on a put-back of a Brionna Dickerson missed 3-pointer and scored again on a free throw moments later. Penn State got its forward Evelyn Lewis going as she also scored the Lady Lions' first three points to tie the game with 16:46 on the clock.
Penn State claimed the lead on a Brianne O'Rourke 3-pointer from the top of the key, putting the Lady Lions up 7-5. South Carolina freshman Tonia Williams scored her first career point on a free throw, but the Lady Lions scored the next six points for a 13-6 margin. The Gamecocks pulled back within two as freshman Sada Wheeler hit a short jumper from the right block and C.J. Pace sank a 3-pointer from the right wing.
The Lady Lions rattled off eight straight points as the Gamecock shooting cooled off further and the turnovers began to mount. Pace ended the half on a high note for the Gamecocks as she hit a 3-pointer from the right side just before halftime.
Carolina opened the second half on a defensive tear, scoring the first four points on steals and the resulting layups. The first came from Jewel May and the second from Adams. Mashea Williams stopped the run for Penn State with a bucket from the left block, which the Gamecocks answered with a similar lay-up from May for a 27-21 Lady Lion lead at the 15:58 mark.
A spate of turnovers, however, helped Penn State to a 9-0 run and a 15-point lead at 36-21 with 11:25 left in the half. LaKeisha Sutton stopped the spurt with a free throw, and Adams stepped out for a 15-foot jump shot on the right side to cut the Gamecocks' deficit to 24-36. After a Penn State steal and layup, Dickerson's 3-pointer from the right wing brought Carolina within 11 points.
Another Lady Lion 9-0 pushed the lead back to a comfortable margin, which also improved Penn State's shooting percentage for the rest of the half.
Lady Gamecocks Fall in Season Opener 56-42
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