Columbia, S.C. -
Despite a season-high 16 points from Lauren Simms, the South Carolina women's basketball team suffered a 66-51 defeat at the hands of No. 1 Tennessee at the Colonial Center Wednesday.
The Gamecocks hung around in the first half and trailed by only three points at in the early moments of the second half, but a 22-7 Lady Vol run extended their lead to 54-36 at the 6:45 mark and essentially put the game out of reach.
Lady Vol center Tye'sha Fluker came off the bench to lead all scorers with 18 points, with Lakesha Tolliver scoring a career-high 11 points in the Gamecock effort. Alexis Hornbuckle finished with 13 points, five rebounds and five assists and Candace Parker added 10 points and nine rebounds to bolster the Tennessee effort.
Spurred by solid defense, Carolina got out to a 10-4 lead to start the game after holding Tennessee scoreless for a span of more than five minutes. The Gamecocks forced Tennessee into committing eight turnovers in the first nine minutes of the game. The Lady Vols responded, however, with a 14-0 run in the next five minutes to take a 23-17 lead. Carolina held Tennessee without a field goal for the rest of the half, with the Lady Vols taking a 25-21 lead into the locker room. Tennessee's 25 first-half points marked a season-low halftime total for the Lady Vols. Lauren Simms led all players with nine points in the first half, with Sidney Spencer pacing a balanced Tennessee attack with six first-half points.
Wednesday's game marked the seventh time in the history of the program that Carolina faced the No. 1 team in the nation, and only the third time that the Gamecocks hosted No. 1 in Columbia.
Carolina returns to action when it travels to Lexington, Ky., to face Kentucky at 1 p.m. ET Sunday at Memorial Coliseum. Please note that the tipoff time was moved from 2 p.m. to 1 p.m. to accommodate television. The game will be televised locally in Lexington by the Big Blue Sports Network. As always, the game will be broadcast live on the radio on AM 1320 WISW in Columbia and worldwide on www.uscsports.com, with Andy Demetra handling play-by-play and Robin Muller providing analysis.