Post Play Delivers 65-53 Win at Alabama
Feb. 7, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Three forwards for No. 15/12 South Carolina combined for 43 points in the Gamecocks' 65-53 win at Alabama Thursday night. Ashley Bruner and Aleighsa Welch each posted a double-double as South Carolina picked up its 20th win of the season and improved to 8-2 in the SEC. Elem Ibiam added a career-high 12 points, all scored in an eight-minute span in the second half to help hold off a charge from the Crimson Tide. The Gamecocks were dominant on the glass, out-rebounding Alabama 53-24, including 28 second-chance points on 24 offensive boards.
Both teams shot the ball well in the first half, and long offensive surges defined the first 20 minutes of play. The Gamecocks had things humming along early with Ashley Bruner putting quick moves on defenders in the paint to get open for basket after basket. A Khadijah Sessions pull-up jumper gave South Carolina a 13-3 lead with 13:29 left in the half. The Crimson Tide answered with a barrage of 3-pointers to close within three at 17-14 midway through the period.
Bruner and Aleighsa Welch went to work in the post, and Asia Dozier added five points on a 3-pointer from the top of the arc and a put back as the Gamecocks stretched their lead back to nine points with 6:31 to play in the half. The Crimson Tide crashed the glass and took advantage of Gamecock turnovers to post an 8-2 run that cut the South Carolina lead to two at 29-27. Bruner's putback ended the half, sending the Gamecocks into the locker room with a 31-27 lead.
Welch came out of the locker room on fire, aggressive on the glass and in going to the basket. She scored the first six points of the half and grabbing every rebound available. The run stretched into a 13-2 surge that put the Gamecocks up 44-29 with 13:25 left on the clock. After Welch's eight points, White and Bruner each added a free throw. Alabama scored its first basket of the half on a putback from Briana Hutchen. Ieasia Walker answered with a 3-pointer from the right side after an offensive rebound, and Sancheon White capped the run with a jumper from the free throw line.
The Crimson Tide had one more run in them, but it was turned away almost single-handedly by Ibiam. The sophomore scored eight straight points to match Alabama shot-for-shot. Tiffany Mitchell's transition layup finished off the stretch for the Gamecocks' largest lead of the game 57-37 with 7:47 to play.
Welch's 16 points led the offense, and she added 10 rebounds - seven offensive to her effort. Bruner joined her in double-double honors with 15 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Ibiam's 12 points came with five rebounds, including three offensive. Walker and Bruner tied for team-high honors with four assists each. The Gamecocks out-scored the Crimson Tied 42-22 in the paint and turned 12 Alabama turnovers into 18 points.
South Carolina returns to Colonial Life Arena this weekend for a 3:30 p.m. game against #14/16 Texas A&M on Sun., Feb. 10.