COLUMBIA, S.C. – The Clemson women’s basketball team played with a tremendous amount of fight and a tremendous amount of heart, but shooting woes and the Gamecocks’ All-American forward-center duo of A’ja Wilson and Alaina Coates were too much, as South Carolina prevailed, 83-61, over the Tigers in Columbia on Thursday night. The loss was just the second of the season for Clemson, which fell to 8-2, while South Carolina, ranked sixth by both AP and USA Today, improved to 8-1.
South Carolina shot well to start the game, building up a 22-12 lead with two minutes remaining in the first quarter. The Tigers fought back, cutting the lead to two points (25-23) with under eight minutes to go in the second period after a three-pointer by Victoria Cardaci and back-to-back buckets by Jaia Alexander and Danielle Edwards. After that, the Gamecocks’ combination of 6’5” Wilson and 6’4” Coates took over, scoring 22 of South Carolina’s 38 points in the first half.
If the Gamecocks shot well in the first quarter, they were hot to start the third, shooting 8-for-11 from field goal range to start the quarter. The Tigers struggled shooting in the third quarter at just 20% (3-for-15). Wilson and Coates both finished with double-doubles (20 and 10 for Wilson and 19 and 10 for Coates), while Georgia Tech transfer Kaela Davis added 17 to the South Carolina cause.
Junior Nelly Perry finished the game with 20 points for the Tigers, while freshman Jaia Alexander picked up 11 points and five rebounds, and was 7-for-8 from the free throw line. Sophomore Danielle Edwards and junior Alexis Carter were also in double figures, with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Clemson returns to action on Dec. 18 when it hosts South Carolina State. The game between the Tigers and Bulldogs tips at 2 p.m. on Sunday at Littlejohn Coliseum.
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