Kentucky Escapes South Carolina With 75-71 Victory
Feb. 9, 2006
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Kentucky outlasted South Carolina, 75-71, in Southeastern Conference women's basketball action on Thursday night inside the Colonial Center. In a game that featured five ties and six lead changes, Samantha Mahoney's pair of free throws with 13 seconds remaining secured the win for the Wildcats. Carolina's record slipped to 12-9 overall and 3-6 in league action while the Wildcats improved to 16-6 in all games and moved above .500 in SEC games to 5-4.
Freshman Demetress Adams poured a season-high 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the field and 4-of-6 shooting from the free throw line to lead the Gamecocks. Adams has hit 22-of-29 field goal attempts in the last five games.
The Gamecocks and Wildcats virtually traded baskets for the first eight minutes of the game before Carolina mustered a 10-4 run to pull ahead, 21-13, at the 8:57 mark. UK battled back, and kept the lead within reach. South Carolina carried a 33-31 lead into the locker room at the half.
USC shot 41.4 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes and held UK to 34.1 percent. Carolina displayed its shot-blocking ability, returning eight of the Wildcats' attempts. Kentucky grabbed 25 rebounds, more than half of which came from Jennifer Humphrey, who led the `Cats with 13 caroms, including seven on the offensive end of the floor. Humphrey's 13 boards exceeded the Gamecocks' opponent-high for rebounds in a game this season, set by LSU's Sylvia Fowles on Jan. 12.
Sarah Elliot sparked the Wildcats in the early going of the second half. Elliot scored back-to-back baskets in the paint and sank a free throw, to give her team the lead, 36-33, for the first time since the game's opening minute. Carolina surged back in front and took a four-point lead, 48-44, on a three-pointer by Stacy Booker. UK responded by scoring the game's next 13 points, including seven from Samantha Mahoney, to build a 57-48 lead, the largest of the game for either team.
Adams stepped up for South Carolina. The freshman snapped Kentucky's scoring run and put six straight points on the board for USC.
The Gamecocks continued to claw back, keeping it close down the stretch. UK pulled ahead by six with 2:33 to play on a steal and a lay-up by Mahoney, but Booker promptly drained a three on the next possession to cut the advantage in half, 71-68.
Eleia Roddy hit a pair of free throws for Kentucky with 20 seconds to play. Carolina drove the length of the floor , and Lea Fabbri knocked down her first three-pointer of the game. On the ensuing possession, the Gamecocks immediately fouled, sending Mahoney to the charity stripe with 13 seconds remaining. Mahoney sank both attempts to seal the win.
Booker finished in double figures for Carolina with 11 points. Melanie Johnson added nine points and a team-best six rebounds. Fabbri dished out a season-high seven assists. Kentucky finished with a 45-35 rebounding advantage and was bolstered by a 59.3 shooting percentage in the second half.
Mahoney led Kentucky with 17 points. Humphrey finished with nine points and 18 rebounds. Carly Ormerod chipped with 12 points and Nastassia Alscius had 11.
The Gamecocks return to action on Sunday, Feb. 12, when they travel to Gainesville, Fla., to take on the Florida Gators. Tip time is set for 3 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on in Columbia WISW 1320 AM and on the world wide web at www.uscsports.com.