The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
Thompson-Boling Arena - Knoxville, TN

No. 3 Gamecocks outlast No. 24 Vols 62-56

2288 days ago
Associated Press

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- A'ja Wilson scored 25 points and had five blocks as No. 3 South Carolina beat No. 24 Tennessee 62-56 on Monday night to clinch at least a share of its third straight Southeastern Conference women's basketball title.

South Carolina (24-1, 12-0) won the SEC regular-season championship outright in 2014 and tied Tennessee for first place last season. The Gamecocks can clinch the championship outright Thursday by beating Georgia.

Tennessee (15-10, 6-6) led 35-32 in the third quarter before South Carolina's Tiffany Mitchell scored six straight points to help the Gamecocks take control. After hitting a game-tying 3-pointer, Mitchell made a basket that put South Carolina ahead for good with 2:47 left in the third.

The Lady Vols were within three points with seven minutes left before South Carolina went on a 12-2 run to seal the victory.

Diamond DeShields scored 21 points and Bashaara Graves had 13 points and 10 rebounds for Tennessee. Khadijah Sessions had 13 points and Mitchell added 12 for South Carolina

South Carolina has won its last three games with Tennessee, the program that has traditionally ruled the SEC. South Carolina won the only regular-season meeting between these two teams last year in Columbia and also knocked off the Lady Volunteers in the SEC tournament championship game.

But the Gamecocks hadn't had much success in Knoxville before Monday. This marked only the second time in 23 attempts that South Carolina has beaten the Lady Vols in Knoxville. The other South Carolina victory over Tennessee in Knoxville was a 64-60 decision in 2012.

South Carolina withstood a scoreless performance from Alaina Coates, who entered the night averaging 12.5 points per game. Coates did have 10 rebounds.

Tennessee led for most of a first half that was dominated by defense before South Carolina rallied to pull ahead 24-21 at the intermission. The two teams combined for 17 turnovers and just seven assists in the first half, as both shot below 33 percent from the floor.

Tennessee regained the lead by scoring the first six points of the third quarter during a stretch in which Coates picked up her third foul and a technical foul was called on the Gamecocks' bench.

The game continued going back and forth the rest of the third quarter until Mitchell's spurt helped South Carolina take command.


South Carolina: The Gamecocks set a school record by earning their 11th win over a ranked foe this season.

Tennessee: Graves made her first start since Jan. 28. She had missed two games with a sprained ankle and came off the bench for two games after returning to action. Reserve guard Alexa Middleton missed a second straight game with a sprained ankle.


South Carolina: Hosts Georgia on Thursday

Tennessee: Hosts Ole Miss on Thursday