Columbia, S.C. -
The South Carolina women's basketball team is one step closer to the NCAA Tournament after picking up a 99-48 win over Longwood University Tuesday at the Colonial Center. With the win, the Gamecocks improved to 16-9 overall, with the Lancers dipping to 9-18 overall. Tuesday's game put a cap on the non-conference portion of Carolina's schedule, with the Gamecocks compiling a 10-3 record during the non-league slate.
With a pair of regular-season games remaining against Mississippi State and at Vanderbilt, South Carolina's NCAA hopes are still very much alive, as the Gamecocks can still finish as high as fifth in the final SEC regular season standings and could finish the regular season with as many as 18 wins. Besides their win total, Carolina is also enjoying a very strong finish, as the Gamecocks currently own the SEC's longest winning streak with four victories in a row and have been triumphant in six of their last seven games, including Tuesday's win over Longwood.
Including Tuesday's win, the Gamecocks have won eight more games this season than they did all of last year, marking the largest improvement among all schools in the six power conferences (SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10, Big East).
Tuesday's game was never in doubt, as the Gamecocks rolled up 64 points in the first half en route to taking a 64-28 lead into the locker room at halftime. Carolina gashed Longwood inside, scoring 48 points in the paint in the first half alone and finishing with 66 points in the paint. Clearly the most dominant player in the game, Lakesha Tolliver turned in a career performance for the Gamecocks, scoring 19 points and grabbing eight rebounds. Demetress Adams scored 15 points and collected seven boards.
There were several statistical categories in which Carolina held lopsided advantages over Longwood and there were a host of season and career highs met or passed by Gamecock players, but the overriding theme of the game was the fact that Carolina consistently forced Longwood into turnovers that resulted in the Gamecocks holding a 45-6 advantage in points off turnovers and a 28-2 advantage in fast break points.
The Gamecocks return to action when they host Mississippi State at 7 p.m. Thursday in the regular-season home finale. The game will be broadcast live on WISW 1320-AM Radio Columbia with Andy Demetra handling play-by-play and Robin Muller providing analysis. The game will mark the final regular-season home game in the career of Carolina senior Olga Gritsaeva, with the St. Petersburg, Russia native being recognized prior to the game.