Carolina's Five-Game Win Streak Snapped At No. 24 Vanderbilt, 88-71
Feb. 26, 2006
Nashville, Tenn. - The South Carolina women's basketball team saw its five-game winning streak come to an end Sunday, as No. 24 Vanderbilt handed the Gamecocks an 88-71 defeat at Memorial Gymnasium. Even in defeat Sunday, Carolina finished the regular season with wins in seven of its last nine games.
With the loss, the Gamecocks finished the regular season with a 17-10 overall record and a 7-7 mark in Southeastern Conference play. The Commodores improved to 19-9 overall and 8-6 in the SEC.
Key players getting into foul trouble plagued both teams early on, as Carolina's Demetress Adams went to the bench with her second foul at the 16:46 mark of the first half, with Lakesha Tolliver picking up a pair of quick offensive fouls shortly after entering the game. For Vanderbilt, both Nicole Jules and Carla Thomas were on the bench with foul trouble seven minutes into the contest. Both Adams and Tolliver picked up a third foul prior to halftime and neither player was able to get into any kind of rhythm during the opening stanza. Tolliver eventually fouled out of the game with 4:58 remaining, with Melanie Johnson fouling out as well. As a team, South Carolina was whistled for 12 fouls during the first half and 27 fouls in the game.
Vanderbilt's defense shut down Carolina's offense midway through the first half, holding the Gamecocks scoreless for a span of five minutes and 49 seconds. During that timeframe, the Commodores went on a 10-0 run to turn a 22-17 advantage into a 32-17 cushion. That stretch of time allowed Vanderbilt to build a lead that Carolina would not be able to overcome. The two teams basically traded baskets for the remainder of the half, with Commodore forward Rachel Brockman scoring from underneath with time expiring to give Vanderbilt a 38-24 halftime advantage. Vanderbilt forced South Carolina into committing 16 turnovers in the first half.
Carolina shaved the deficit to single digits after Melanie Johnson scored on a put-back at the 11:51 mark to cut Vanderbilt's lead to 55-47, but the Commodores were able to keep the Gamecocks at arm's length for the remainder of the game to seal the victory.
Iva Sliskovic led the way for South Carolina, matching a career high with 20 points and grabbing six rebounds. Melanie Johnson posted her fourth double-double of the year with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Dee Davis led the way for Vanderbilt with 14 points and 10 assists.
Sunday's game was a rematch of a Jan. 15 game played at the Colonial Center that saw Vanderbilt claim a 67-59 win. Entering Sunday's game, South Carolina and Vanderbilt had split their previous two meetings played in Nashville, with the Gamecocks claiming a 66-57 win in 2003 and the Commodores rolling to an 88-43 win last season.
The Gamecocks return to action when they compete at the 2006 SEC Tournament played at Alltel Arena in North Little Rock, Ark., from March 2-5.