USC Women's Basketball

Gamecocks use superior height to hammer UNCG

South Carolina's A'ja Wilson, Tina Roy, Alaina Coates and Khadijah Sessions have fun during a timeout against UNC Greensboro in the Colonial Life Arena. South Carolina won, 92-44.
South Carolina's A'ja Wilson, Tina Roy, Alaina Coates and Khadijah Sessions have fun during a timeout against UNC Greensboro in the Colonial Life Arena. South Carolina won, 92-44. tglantz@thestate.com

It was a blinking light on the scouting report, as it will be for several games this year. South Carolina has a distinct height advantage.

They’ll use it.

The second-ranked Gamecocks pounded undersized and overwhelmed UNC Greensboro 92-44 on Sunday, riding a combined 45 points from forwards A’ja Wilson, Alaina Coates and Sarah Imovbioh and 52 points in the paint.

The Spartans (1-1), with no player taller than 6-foot-2 and in heavy foul trouble from the second quarter on, had no hope of challenging players with three inches on them. They meekly left Colonial Life Arena while USC finished its second straight win and prepared for a five-game road trip. It starts at Clemson on Wednesday.

“That was the gameplan. That’s always probably going to be the gameplan from here on out with the personnel that we have,” coach Dawn Staley said. “They delivered for us.”

Coates and Wilson scored eight of the team’s first 10 points, and it was over as soon as Imovbioh cleaned up Jatarie White’s missed free throw with a putback.

“That’s something that we really focus on,” said Wilson, who led the team in points (19) and blocks (6) and tied for the lead with two steals. “We really kind of saw they had some undersized posts.”

Wilson and Coates are transitioning to starting roles, but have been in plenty of games where their height was depended on. Imovbioh, the Virginia graduate transfer, is learning a new place and new role.

“I just feel like coach does a great job with putting me in a spot where we can be successful,” she said after collecting 11 rebounds. “I’m getting there. I feel comfortable.”

Staley has no complaints thus far.

“I’m extremely pleased with Sarah. She’s the consummate team player. She’s a sacrificer,” Staley said. “She does all the blue-collar work that some of our other post players aren’t doing, and she doesn’t mind doing them. She just wants to win, wants to contribute.”

TURNING POINT

The Gamecocks won the tip and Wilson found Coates camped on the block. She spun and laid the ball in with no Spartan close to stopping it.

3 POINTS

Star of the game: Wilson continued to show why Staley wants her on the floor as much as possible. She scored 19 with 10 rebounds and tied a career-high with six blocks – and even came off the bench to dislodge a first-half ball that was wedged between the rim and the glass.

Play of the game: Wilson laid in a pass from Asia Dozier to start a 12-0 run that salted the game. It was part of eight straight points for Wilson.

Stat of the game: 52 — Gamecocks points in the paint.

FROM THE BASELINE

Good/Bad Bianca: Dawn Staley knows that Bianca Cuevas is always going to have some forehead-wrinkling moments, followed by brilliance. So when the sophomore jetted downcourt with 24 seconds on the clock and threw it away, leading to a runout, and then followed it with a 3-pointer at the buzzer, Staley could only shake her head and laugh.

Cuevas also picked up a flagrant foul when an elbow caught Bailey Williams in the nose.

The Shooter: Tina Roy has become a solid starter and not just a 3-point shooter – although that’s how she continues to score (nine points Sunday, all on 3s). She can play any guard spot and is contributing great defense.

Free throws: The Gamecocks have never been a great free-throw shooting team, spending a couple of years of Staley’s tenure either last or next to last in the country in percentage. USC finished Saturday 13-of-22 from the stripe, which makes the Gamecocks 36-of-57 for the season.

That 63.2 percentage is lower than last year’s 67.4, which ranked 215th out of 343 in the country.

UP NEXT

Who: South Carolina at Clemson

When: 7 p.m., Wednesday

Where: Jervey Gym, Clemson

UNC-Greensboro

16

9

9

10

_

44

South Carolina

27

26

27

11

_

91

FG

FT

Reb

Min

M-A

M-A

O-T

A

PF

PTS

Missouri

21

2-5

2-2

1-2

1

0

7

Mason

40

7-20

5-6

0-2

1

2

20

Scaife

26

2-5

0-1

0-2

0

3

4

Timpton

27

0-6

0-0

4-6

0

4

0

Wilson

21

1-3

0-1

2-5

0

3

2

Bearden

6

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

1

0

Foster

6

0-1

0-0

0-1

0

1

0

Penick

3

0-1

0-0

1-1

0

4

0

Williams

10

0-1

1-2

0-0

2

1

1

Bartley

4

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Luckie

6

1-3

0-0

1-1

0

1

2

Harvey

0

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Harris

30

3-17

1-3

3-6

0

1

8

Totals

200

16-62

9-15

15-36

4

21

44

Percentages: FG .258, FT .600. 3-Point Goals: 3-13, .231 (Missouri 1-2, Mason 1-5, Harris 1-5, Williams 0-1). Team Rebounds: 10. Blocked Shots: 2 (Wilson, Scaife). Turnovers: 21 (Timpton 5, Mason 3, Williams 3, Missouri 3, Scaife 2, Foster 2, Harris, Penick, Wilson). Steals: 6 (Mason 2, Wilson 2, Timpton, Scaife). Technical Fouls: None.

FG

FT

Reb

Min

M-A

M-A

O-T

A

PF

PTS

Sessions

18

1-2

0-0

0-1

4

2

2

Wilson

17

9-14

1-2

6-10

1

0

19

Roy

19

3-8

0-0

0-0

6

0

9

Mitchell

23

3-11

2-2

0-2

5

2

10

Coates

13

6-7

0-3

2-7

0

2

12

Colley

16

3-5

0-0

1-2

1

2

7

Cuevas

19

2-4

5-7

0-2

1

1

10

Duckett

10

0-0

0-0

0-1

0

1

0

Imovbioh

21

5-7

4-6

5-11

0

3

14

Dozier

26

1-4

0-0

0-2

6

2

3

White

13

2-4

1-2

0-3

1

0

5

Farmer

5

0-1

0-0

0-1

0

0

0

Totals

200

35-67

13-22

15-48

25

15

91

Percentages: FG .522, FT .591. 3-Point Goals: 8-24, .333 (Roy 3-8, Mitchell 2-7, Colley 1-1, Cuevas 1-3, Dozier 1-4, Farmer 0-1). Team Rebounds: 6. Blocked Shots: 10 (Wilson 6, Farmer 2, White, Duckett). Turnovers: 10 (Cuevas 3, Wilson 2, Colley 2, Mitchell, Duckett). Steals: 15 (Coates 3, Sessions 2, Mitchell 2, Cuevas 2, Wilson 2, Imovbioh 2, Colley, Duckett). Technical Fouls: None.

A – NA. Officials – Scott Yarbrough, Troy Winders, Nick Marshall.

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