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No. 11 South Carolina powers past Florida

29 days ago
South Carolina Athletics
Photo: South Carolina Athletics

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - No. 11 South Carolina women's basketball used an explosive second quarter to take down Florida 96-77 on the road on Sunday afternoon. The Gamecocks (19-6, 11-1 SEC) exploded for 30 points in the second period led by Destanni Henderson, who scored 12 in the quarter, to run away with the victory.

Senior forward Alexis Jennings scored a season-high 22 points, including 17 in the third quarter, to lead the Gamecocks. Henderson poured in 18 points in her return to her home state with 12 coming in the second quarter. Bianca Cuevas-Moore turned in another great performance with 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting, including three from beyond the arc. Junior guard Tyasha Harris notched her first double-double of the season with 11 points and a season-high 10 assists.

Carolina jumped out to a hot start with the starters running out to a 9-2 lead on the Gators. Mikiah Herbert Harrigan sank the first basket of the game with an and-one, and Cuevas-Moore sank a three to give the Gamecocks the early seven-point advantage. With the Gamecocks in control 14-7, Florida's offense came alive. The Gators used an 18-4 run to end the quarter to hold a 25-18 lead over Carolina after 10 minutes.

The second quarter turned into Henderson's personal highlight reel, scoring 12 of her 14 first-half points in the period. The freshman's offense was contagious, with Carolina hitting seven shots in a row, including threes from Henderson and Harris to tie the game at 32 with 5:26 to go in the half. Henderson officially gave the Gamecocks the lead back just moments later with a gorgeous move on a solo fastbreak. With a 30-15 advantage in the quarter, the Gamecocks were able to take a 48-40 lead into the locker room.

Early in the third quarter, the Gators and Gamecocks scored evenly back-and-forth, but then the Gamecocks locked in on Jennings. The senior dropped her first three of the season, and that seemed to open her offensive game. She went on to score 17 points in the quarter, the third-most points in a quarter in South Carolina history. She netted seven points in a row during the quarter to help hold a seven-point lead over the Gators and then spark a 12-2 run that gave Carolina a 71-56 lead with 1:47 left. Jennings wrapped up her impressive quarter with a pair from the charity stripe, giving the Gamecocks a 73-60 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Carolina continued to pressure Florida in the fourth, extending its lead to as much as 22 points. Nelly Perry scored all seven of her points of the game in the fourth. She sank an and-one with 1:43 to go, and helped Carolina coast to a 96-77 victory.

GAMECHANGER

During Jennings' third quarter barrage, she shot a perfect 6-of-6, including her first 3-pointer of the season, to help the Gamecocks extend their lead and hold off the Gators on the road.

KEY STAT

The Gamecocks turned in their best 3-point shooting performance in SEC action this season, hitting 47.4 percent (9-of-19) from beyond the arc, while holding Florida to just 16.1 percent (5-of-31).

NOTABLES

- Tyasha Harris' first double-double of the season and seventh of her career included six second quarter assists. Her last double-double came at Kentucky on Jan. 21, 2018. Carolina's 10 turnovers matches its low in SEC play, matching the mark set against #25/- Missouri (Jan. 21).

- With another fast paced victory, Carolina pushes its record to 8-0 when scoring 80 or more points this season.

- Despite the high pace, the Gamecocks held Florida to just four fastbreak points and moved their record to 14-1 this season when scoring more fastbreak points than their opponent and 8-0 in SEC play.