SEC CHAMPS! Gamecock grab first conference title

02/27/2014 8:32 PM

02/28/2014 9:06 AM

South Carolina made sure the second-largest crowd to watch a women’s basketball game in Colonial Life Arena history didn’t go home disappointed on Thursday, beating Georgia 67-56 to claim the undisputed SEC regular-season championship.

The first SEC regular-season title for the program will send USC (26-2, 14-1 SEC) to the SEC tournament as the No. 1 seed. The Gamecocks will play at noon on March 7 against the winner of the eighth and ninth seeds, needing just three wins to take home the tournament title.

Tiffany Mitchell scored a career-high 25 points after carrying the Gamecocks when their inside game stagnated. Alaina Coates shook off heavy foul trouble to finish with 18 points. USC built a double-digit lead when Georgia (18-10, 6-9 SEC) couldn’t buy a basket in the first half, and was able to hit enough shots – and enough free throws, a severe weakness in the past two seasons – to overcome.

Georgia suffered just its fourth losing SEC season since the league was created and is slipping out of contention for the NCAA tournament. The Lady Bulldogs had owned a 14-3 advantage over USC in games in Columbia before Thursday.

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive attended the game and participated in a post-game ceremony honoring the champions. USC will be presented its trophy at the SEC tournament.

A complete story will be posted shortly.

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