USC Women's Basketball

No. 3 Gamecocks rout Maine, play St. Peter’s Tuesday

Coach Dawn Staley after game against Maine

Veteran players set the stage for freshmen to play fourth quarter against Maine
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Veteran players set the stage for freshmen to play fourth quarter against Maine

That’s how it’s supposed to look.

Third-ranked South Carolina has stars, but everybody plays. The idea is to dominate early behind what they know works – the post game – and then let the others do what they do best.

Monday’s 79-42 romp over Maine was the perfect structure built from that blueprint. USC jumped on top 15-0, led by the game’s first six points from A’ja Wilson and her soft 5-foot jump shot, and then let the others contribute what they could.

“I think that’s something we take pride in. I think we have a team that understands points in the paint are very important,” Wilson said. “I think it’s what we’re good at.”

Alaina Coates posted her third double-double in three games in the first 18 minutes and finished with 12 and 14 rebounds, while Wilson scored 14. Kaela Davis and Allisha Gray added 10 points apiece, Mikiah Herbert Harrigan had 13 and the bench played the entire fourth quarter.

It was a chance for USC’s four freshmen to continue learning and growing before they wade back into the waters of the nonconference games that aren’t just stuffing the schedule. Even with three games in three days, finished by hosting St. Peter’s (0-3) at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, the first three quarters of the Basketball Hall of Fame Women’s Challenge are against less-than-good competition.

The fourth quarter, waiting Sunday in Springfield, Mass., is No. 4 Louisville.

“We know Louisville’s out there,” Coates said. “But we got to get ready for St. Peter’s first.”

USC coach Dawn Staley was pleased.

“When our starters do their job, that’s a luxury,” Staley said of the extended bench minutes. “They did a great job of getting out to a big lead and giving an opportunity for some of those young ones to grow up.”

Five of the six bench players scored, led by Herbert Harrigan, who also had eight rebounds and two assists. Herbert Harrigan had 24 minutes, bested only by Davis’ 26.

Maine was scoreless in the first five minutes of each half. USC (3-0) ended with five blocks, seven steals and 21 assists on 33 field goals while shooting 55.9 percent.

“I like for us to get off to quicker starts, on both sides of the ball,” Staley said. “When we’re playing like that, it just feels good. It just has a different feel for the game and hopefully we can continue that.”

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1st

2nd

3rd

4th

FINAL

South Carolina

19

24

19

17

79

Maine

5

14

10

13

42

South Carolina (3-0)

Wilson 7-8 0-2 14, Herbert Harrigan 5-8 3-5 13, Coates 6-7 0-1 12, Davis 3-11 3-4 10, Gray 5-9 0-0 10, Cuevas-Moore 2-4 2-2 7, Cliney 1-2 2-2 4, Harris 2-4 0-0 4, Patrick 1-3 0-0 3, Davis 1-2 0-0 2, Bradshaw 0-1 0-0 0, Totals 33-59 10-16 79.

Maine (2-3)

Brosseau 4-5 0-0 11, Caceres 3-5 1-2 7, Kelava 3-8 0-0 7, Johnson 1-3 2-2 4, Koizar 2-6 0-0 4, Millan 1-8 0-0 3, Stojsavljevic 0-2 2-3 2, Sutton 0-3 2-2 2, Wadling 1-5 0-0 2, Hernandez Pepe 0-2 0-0 0, Jones 0-1 0-0 0, McVicar 0-1 0-0 0, Sole 0-7 0-0 0, Totals 15-56 7-9 42.

ST. PETER’S (0-3) at NO. 3 USC (3-0)

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Colonial Life Arena

TV: SEC Network Plus

Radio: 107.5 FM

St. Peter’s probable starters: G Sammy Lochner 5-7 Fr. (4.3 ppg, 0.3 rpg); G Janelle Mullen 5-10 So. (5.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg); G/F Talah Hughes 5-10 Jr. (11.0 ppg, 9.3 rpg); F Sajanna Bethea 5-11 Jr. (5.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg); F/C Samantha Meier 6-0 Jr. (1.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg)

South Carolina’s probable starters: G Bianca Cuevas-Moore 5-6 Jr. (6.7 ppg, 1.3 rpg); G Allisha Gray 6-0 Jr. (16.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg); G Kaela Davis 6-2 Jr. (16.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg); F A’ja Wilson 6-5 Jr. (13.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg); C Alaina Coates 6-4 Sr. (16.7 ppg, 14.3 rpg)

Next game: South Carolina plays No. 4 Louisville at 1 p.m. on Sunday in Springfield, Mass.

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