USC Women's Basketball

Alaina Coates posts triple-double in USC’s rout of Winthrop

South Carolina's Alaina Coates (41) blocks a shot by Winthrop's Ezinne Mbamalu (44) during the first half Sunday.
South Carolina's Alaina Coates (41) blocks a shot by Winthrop's Ezinne Mbamalu (44) during the first half Sunday. tglantz@thestate.com

As good as Alaina Coates has been, the South Carolina junior has gone through lulls in her career. She would have five monster games and then two where she was an afterthought.

Winthrop caught her on the upswing.

The No. 2 Gamecocks’ center dominated the Eagles in an 86-37 rout on Sunday, recording a triple-double on her school-record 10th block with 18 seconds to play. Left in the game because of how close she was to the accomplishment, Coates stretched her arms as Arianne Whitaker attempted to shoot, put her palms on leather and watched USC’s bench explode.

“I knew how close I was,” she said. “Toward the end of the third quarter, a couple of my teammates were saying, ‘You need three more, you need two more.’ Four fouls later, I finally got it.”

Coates finished with a career-high 29 points on 13-of-15 shooting and was a rebound short of tying her career-high in rebounds (17). It was the Gamecocks’ first triple-double since December 2006.

“We wanted it to happen for her,” coach Dawn Staley said. “You get a little antsy about keeping her in being up so big, but she was that close, might as well allow her to try and get it because that’s not something that happens very often.”

Facing a team with nobody taller than 6-foot-3, guarded by a freshman center and knowing she was going to get most of the targets with A’ja Wilson taking the day off, Coates quickly let Winthrop know things were about to get ugly. She scored USC’s first basket, had 14 at the half and tied her personal career-high with five blocks in the first two periods.

USC (9-0) had harped on defense since it returned from the West Coast, and that also sparkled against the Eagles. The Gamecocks had 10 steals and Winthrop (2-7) shot 25 percent from the field.

“We’re getting better,” Staley said. “Every player that steps on the floor has to be committed to it.”

Coates was looking forward to the next game. She has to wait until Wednesday, although she wanted to play again right away.

“I just don’t want to be in that position where I’m having lulls again,” she said. “I’m going to try not to have it happen any more this season.”

USC women's basketball coach Dawn Staley addresses the media following the Gamecocks' big win over Winthrop

TURNING POINT

Tiffany Mitchell swished a 3-pointer for a 9-2 lead with over six minutes to play in the first quarter. That ended any tiny hope of hanging around Winthrop may have had.

THREE POINTS

Star of the game: Coates. Games half as good as Sunday going forward spells bad news for the SEC.

Play of the game: With the crowd pleading for USC to shoot quickly so Coates could get more chances to block her 10th shot, India Farmer’s shot was blocked by Whitaker – who wound up getting her shot blocked by Coates.

Stat of the game: 25 assists on 34 USC field goals. Khadijah Sessions had six dimes to one turnover.

FROM THE BASELINE

No A’ja, no problem?: The Gamecocks didn’t need Wilson as the Eagles aren’t exactly the best team in the country. But despite Wilson and Staley brushing aside the absence as just a day off, USC tweeted that it was under “doctor’s orders.” Wilson has been fighting shin splints and with her workload, they’ve been flaring up.

The White Stuff: Jatarie White received more playing time because of Wilson’s absence and scored four points with nine boards. The 6-foot-4 sophomore is adept from the high post and can add a dimension to USC’s inside game.

UP NEXT

Who: South Carolina vs. Hampton

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Colonial Life Arena, Columbia

Follow on Twitter at @DCTheState

Winthrop

7

6

14

10

37

South Carolina

26

21

20

19

86

WIN

Min

FGM-A

FTM-A

OR-TR

A

PF

PT

Kilpatrick

36

1-11

0-0

2-5

1

4

2

Banks

27

2-5

0-1

1-1

4

2

4

Whitaker

38

3-13

1-4

5-8

0

3

7

Williams

37

4-18

1-4

1-4

3

2

10

Mbamalu

30

3-11

1-4

4-7

0

3

7

Nu Jacksn

26

3-6

1-2

0-2

1

2

7

Na Jacksn

6

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Totals

200

16-64

4-15

17-32

9

16

37

Percentages: FG .250, FT .267. 3-Point Goals: 1-9, .111 (Williams 1-3, Nu. Jackson 0-1, Kilpatrick 0-2, Banks 0-3). Team Rebounds: 5. Blocked Shots: 4 (Whitaker 4). Turnovers: 14 (Banks 5, Williams 2, Nu. Jackson 2, Mbamalu 2, Kilpatrick 2, Whitaker). Steals: 9 (Whitaker 3, Williams 2, Mbamalu, Nu. Jackson, Kilpatrick, Banks). Technical Fouls: None.

USC

Min

FGM-A

FTM-A

OR-TR

A

PF

PT

Sessions

15

2-3

0-0

0-1

6

2

4

Roy

11

1-6

0-0

0-0

3

0

3

Imvbioh

22

3-3

1-1

1-4

1

0

7

Mitchell

22

4-8

1-2

1-5

3

0

12

Coates

30

13-15

3-5

6-16

0

4

29

Colley

24

1-4

0-0

1-4

4

1

3

Cuevas

22

4-11

4-4

0-2

1

2

13

Duckett

15

1-4

0-0

0-2

3

1

2

Dozier

18

3-4

0-0

0-2

3

0

9

White

18

2-2

0-0

1-9

1

3

4

Farmer

3

0-2

0-0

1-1

0

0

0

Totals

200

34-62

9-12

12-48

25

13

86

Percentages: FG .548, FT .750. 3-Point Goals: 9-24, .375 (Dozier 3-4, Mitchell 3-6, Cuevas 1-2, Colley 1-3, Roy 1-6, Sessions 0-1, Farmer 0-1, Duckett 0-1). Team Rebounds: 2. Blocked Shots: 16 (Coates 10, White 4, Colley, Imovbioh). Turnovers: 13 (Mitchell 4, Dozier 2, Cuevas 2, Colley 2, Coates, Imovbioh, Sessions). Steals: 10 (Colley 3, Mitchell, Dozier, Cuevas, Duckett, White, Sessions, Coates). Technical Fouls: None.

A—NA. Officials—Dee Kantner, Laura Morris, Chaney Muench.

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