From staff reports/Photo by Jenny Dilworth
Seven Gamecocks scored in double figures as No. 10/11 South Carolina topped Lander 100-62 in an exhibition game at Colonial Life Arena Friday night. Redshirt junior Te’a Cooper led all scorers with 20 points, while freshman Victaria Saxton picked up a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The game was fast-paced throughout with South Carolina committed to the tempo on both sides of the ball. Lander used three first-quarter 3-pointers to stay within striking distance as the Gamecocks led just 23-17 through the opening 10 minutes.
The Gamecock point guards did the most damage in the second quarter with Destanni Henderson hitting back-to-back buckets in the lane early in the quarter to give South Carolina a 30-17 advantage. After the Bearcats capitalized on a pair of Gamecock turnovers, Tyasha Harris cut through the lane on back-to-back possessions to again put the Gamecocks up double digits and force Lander to call timeout.
South Carolina picked up its shooting percentage in the second quarter, hitting 45.0 percent from the field but saw the Bearcats match their increase with 56.3 percent accuracy to trail just 51-41 at the half.
After Lander’s Jessica Harris hit a jumper to open the third quarter, it was all South Carolina as the Gamecocks finally pulled away from the Bearcats, outscoring them 20-8 in the period. The frontcourt got this started with Mikiah Herbert Harrigan scoring twice around a layup from LaDazhia Williams to make it 57-43 South Carolina with 7:21 left in the quarter. The Gamecocks took advantage of 11 third-quarter turnovers and dominated the paint with 14 of their 20 third-quarter points coming at close range.
“We wanted to force the pace a lot more than we have in the past," head coach Dawn Staley said. "Obviously, we have some really young post players that we don’t want our opponents to pick on in the half-court set. So, if we can turn some people over early in their offense, it’s only going to help us get easy buckets at the basket. Obviously, we want to shoot the three ball a little bit more; hopefully we can get more consistent with it, but our players needed to see where they are open and where they will get open shots. Now that they know, because we had a real game to look at and scrutinize, we just need to worry about getting more efficient with it.”
Harris finished the game with 16 points and four assists, while Henderson added six assists to her 13 points. Herbert Harrigan was active on both sides of the ball, posting 11 points, five steals and two blocks. Bianca Jackson and Williams each contributed 11 points to the offensive effort as well.
South Carolina scored 35 points off 29 Lander turnovers and dominated the paint 54-22. South Carolina has scored at least 100 points in four of its last five exhibition games in a stretch that dates back to 2014.
South Carolina will open the regular season on the road at Alabama State, which is coached by sophomore guard Bianca Jackson’s mother, Freda Freeman-Jackson. Tipoff on Sunday Nov. 11, will be at 4 p.m.