Columbia, S.C. – Five-and-a-half minutes into its game on Sunday, the Gophers women’s basketball team trailed 15-0 on the road against the sixth-ranked team in the country. A tall order just got taller.
The Gophers (7-4) lost 98-58 to South Carolina at Colonial Life Arena, its worst defeat since losing 103-56 at Baylor on Dec. 5, 2010.
The Gamecocks (7-1) finished with 16 three-pointers, the most in coach Dawn Staley’s nine seasons and the second most in program history behind the 17 against Western Carolina in 1994. Twelve of those threes came in the first half.
Kaela Davis, a Georgia Tech transfer who came off the bench for the first time this season, was a big reason for South Carolina’s outside success. She hit five of her first six shots from behind the arc as the Gamecocks built a 57-27 halftime lead. Davis finished with 22 points and six threes on 10 attempts.
The Gamecocks shot 52.8 percent from the field (including 48.5 percent from three-point range), while the Gophers shot 28.6 percent. That included a combined 9-for-43 day for Kenisha Bell (5-for-18), Carlie Wagner (1-for-12) and Gadiva Hubbard (3-for-13).
Wagner, the Gophers’ leading scorer, missed her first nine shots and finished with only six points. She had scored in double figures in 44 consecutive games.
South Carolina led by as many as 49 points, 89-40 in the fourth quarter. In addition to their 15-0 run to begin the game, the Gamecocks had an 18-0 run in the second quarter and a 12-0 run in the third.
Alaina Coates had 16 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks for South Carolina, which was playing the Gophers for the first time since December 2005. The Gamecocks had 29 assists, also the most in the Staley era.