Defense Delivers First Win of Staley Era

South Carolina women's basketball used a smothering defense early and a quick-strike offense late to post a 68-47 win over Davidson Monday night at Colonial Life Arena.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The first Gamecock win for head coach Dawn Staley came with leadership from senior Demetress Adams and double-digit scoring from freshmen Lakeisha Sutton and Miranda Tate. South Carolina (1-2) held the Wildcats (1-3) to just 30.2 percent shooting in the game and forced 31 turnovers, including 20 in the first half alone.

The Gamecocks were defensive minded early, building a nine-point lead five minutes into the game as Davidson committed five turnovers in its first 11 possessions. Meanwhile, the Carolina interior went to work with Adams and Jewel May combining for nine of the team's first 13 points.

The Wildcats bounced back and managed to tie the score at 13-13 with 10:53 left in the first half with a 9-0 run behind offensive rebounding and their own interior power. Tate hit a long jumper from the right wing to put the Gamecocks back on top on the next possession, and the lead quickly grew to 13 points as the Gamecocks once again turned up the defensive pressure to go on a 19-6 run.

After holding a 32-23 lead at the break, South Carolina wasted little time extending its lead to 20 with Tate guiding the team with eight straight points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Despite the sizable deficit, the Wildcats would not go quietly, hounding the Gamecocks into a series of turnovers and crashing the defensive boards to pull within 10 points at 48-38 with 6:41 left to play.

Sophomore guard Lauren Falohun stopped the Wildcats' surge with a quick layup up after driving up the left side against defensive pressure. With that example, the Gamecocks worked to exploit the aggressive Davidson defense and found a series of quick-strike layups allowed them to regain a 20-point margin with 3:44 left to play.

Tate's 13 points was a game high and included three 3-pointers, while Sutton added 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting. Adams rounded out the trio of double-digit scorers for Carolina with 10 points to go with eight rebounds, including four on the offensive glass. Adams also swiped four steals, and Samone Kennedy handed out a game-high seven assists. Mercedes Robinson led the Davidson offense with nine points and 11 rebounds to go with her five steals.

South Carolina plays its next three games on the road, beginning Fri., Nov. 28, against Ohio in the Cancun Thanksgiving Classic.

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