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Roy carries No. 2 South Carolina past Arkansas

2336 days ago
Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Tina Roy scored a career-high 21 points off seven 3-pointers and No. 2 South Carolina opened Southeastern Conference play with an 85-32 blowout over Arkansas on Sunday.

The game was tied at 9 at the end of the first quarter before Roy and the undefeated Gamecocks (13-0) took control and put away the overmatched Razorbacks (5-9).

Two-time defending SEC player of the year Tiffany Mitchell got the rout started with a 3-pointer to open the second quarter and Roy made two straight from long range as South Carolina led 44-18.

Roy again found her stroke in the second half with five baskets from behind the arc. She surpassed her previous best of five, accomplished three times in her career -- the last in a win over UCLA in November.

Melissa Wolff had nine points to lead Arkansas, which has lost seven straight to South Carolina.

Roy, a senior, bettered her old best of 17 points set in the UCLA win.

Mitchell finished with 12 points, and South Carolina two big post players, 6-foot-5 A'ja Wilson and 6-4 Alaina Coates had double-doubles. Wilson had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Coates had 11 points and 10 boards.

Along with the South Carolina men's 13-0 start, the school set an SEC best for best combined basketball opening at 26-0. Tennessee was 25-0 -- the women were 15-0, the men 10-0 -- in 1997-98.

South Carolina stayed perfect in the pre-conference season and wanted to get off to a quick start in SEC play. And the Gamecocks did after sluggish first quarter.

South Carolina made its first five shots of the second quarter -- three of them from three-point range -- to turn the tight game into a runaway.

The Gamecocks outscored Arkansas 35-9 in the second 10 minutes to lead 44-18 at the break.

Mitchell led the way with two 3-pointers and a three-point play.

Bianca Cuevas closed the rout with a three-point play and a 3-pointer as time ran out to send the Gamecocks off the floor with its large lead.

It's not the first time Arkansas' offense struggled against South Carolina. The Razorbacks managed just 36 points in a loss to the Gamecocks last March.

Razorbacks leading scorer Jessica Jackson was held to nine points, about half her average of 17.4 points coming in.

TIP INS

Arkansas: Arkansas is struggling to win games, but has shown a penchant for defense this season. The Razorbacks have been even with or outrebounded opponents in 10 of 13 games this season. They've also held 11 of their 13 opponents below their scoring average.

South Carolina: South Carolina leads the country in average attendance this season, drawing 14,341 fans for its first six home games. Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley credits the support for her team's 41-game home win streak -- the longest active run in the country.

UP NEXT

Arkansas opens its home SEC schedule against No. 16 Texas A&M on Thursday night.

South Carolina plays its first SEC road game of the season at Vanderbilt on Thursday night.