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14 November 2017, 10:16 | Henrietta Morgan
Gamecocks, Tigers Get Prime Time Slot
Both teams have Thursday games as SC plays Clemson and Maryland plays Niagara.
No. 4 SC arrived at Xfinity Center for the first game of a home-and-home series that takes the No. 15 Terps (1-1) to Columbia next year carrying much of the momentum from last season's national championship - the first national title for Staley, who went to the Final Four three times as a player at Virginia but never won. Maryland's sophomore Blair Watson led the team with nine points at the end of the first half, and she was one of seven Terps to have points on the board.
But A'ja Wilson responded with a career-high 32 points, Tyasha Harris contributed a career-best in points and assists, and the Gamecocks (2-0) survived, claiming their first ranked win of the season despite the damage to their supporters' collective blood pressure.
"They hit every shot to start the game", Frese said. "She should be in the pros". "A'ja Wilson is a woman amongst girls. She's just that talented".
It is possible for a five-win team to make a bowl if there aren't enough.500 teams to fill all the slots, but don't expect to see the Gators - who are being led by an interim coach after the midseason firing of Jim McElwain - playing in the postseason.
The Gamecocks stretched their lead to 71-45 in the third quarter.
Maryland rallied, but couldn't finish - even though Wilson missed three free throws in the final two minutes. I thought we got a little tired and started shooting the ball too quickly, allowing them to get the ball back and play fast and downhill, like they like to play.
SC led the entire first half thanks to Wilson's 18 points and 12 from Jennings. She was the biggest player the moment she stepped on the court, yet somehow also regularly the quickest to the ball. "I thought they just controlled the tempo in the second half, in the fourth quarter".
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For a team still finding its feet after losing three key players, including two all-Americans from last year's team, Maryland could be proud of its comeback effort.
As for Maryland, sophomore Kaila Charles herself scored a career-high 31 points, including 27 in the fourth quarter alone. The Maryland squad also struggled keeping the Gamecocks out of the paint against powerhouses like SC redshirt junior Alexis Jennings and senior forward A'ja Wilson. "Once I saw that I was getting the foul calls and finishing, I just had that mentality to start attacking and not settling". You take what the game gives you and at that time that's what the game gave me. They play No. 1 CT on the road Sunday.
"They're a great team", SC guard Lindsey Spann said of Maryland. You have kind of stay in character, I told them 'you're going to be fatigue I told them this at halftime that we were going to be fatigue.
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