South Carolina Falls to No. 23 Vanderbilt, 67-59|
Jan. 15, 2006
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The University of South Carolina women's basketball team dropped a 67-59 decision to No. 23 Vanderbilt in a Southeastern Conference game on Sunday afternoon at the Colonial Center. The Commodores improved to 13-4 overall and 2-1 in SEC play. The loss left South Carolina still searching for its first conference victory. USC is 9-7 overall and 0-4 in league play, including losses to No. 1 Tennessee and on the road at No. 3 LSU.
For South Carolina, Ilona Burgrova scored in double-figures for the third time this season, finishing with 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field. She also grabbed six rebounds. Lauren Simms was the only other Gamecock in double figures, finishing with 10 points, the sixth time in the last eight games she has reached double-digits. Melanie Johnson chipped in with nine points and Stacy Booker had eight. Iva Sliskovic led the Gamecocks with a game-high nine rebounds to go with three blocks.
Vanderbilt held the lead from the opening minutes of the game and pushed its advantage to as many as 11 (28-17) in the first half on a basket by Liz Sherwood, the nation's field goal percentage leader (.697), with 3:47 to play. Melanie Johnson responded for Carolina by scoring six straight points to cut into the gap. The Commodores headed to the locker room with a 32-25 advantage at the half. Vanderbilt out-scored Carolina in the paint, 18-10, and collected 12 second-chance points to just two for USC. Dee Davis led Vandy with 10 points. Johnson scored eight to lead South Carolina.
The Gamecocks continued to whittle away at the Commodores' lead early in the second half behind strong play from their inside players. USC tied the game at 42 on a putback by Sliskovic with 11:52 remaining. From there, Carla Thomas and Christina Wirth stepped up for Vanderbilt. Thomas scored nine points down the stretch and Wirth hit a pair of key three-pointers. Vandy extended its lead back to double-digits and then hit free throws in the waning minutes to seal the win.
Thomas led four Vandy players in double-figures with 16 points, including a 4-of-4 showing at the charity stripe, and added seven rebounds. Davis totaled in 15 points, Sherwood scored 11 and Caroline Williams finished with 10.
South Carolina and Vanderbilt had nearly identical shooting percentages. The Gamecocks hit 38.9 percent from the field and the Commodores were close behind at 38.7. Vanderbilt came into the game hitting 50.2 percent from the field on the season. USC also won the battle on the glass, 40-34, but turned the ball over 16 times to the Commodores' eight.
Carolina is idle until Sunday, Jan. 22, when it travels to Alabama. Tip is set for 3 p.m. EST.