SDSU season ends to South Carolina
BOULDER, Colo. – South Carolina shot 60.7 percent from the field in the first half and placed four players in double figures, defeating South Dakota State, 74-52, Saturday afternoon in the opening round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament at the Coors Events Center.
The Gamecocks, a Sweet 16 qualifier a year ago and ranked 14th in the USA Today coaches' poll, improved to 25-7 overall and will face the winner of Saturday’s late game between host Colorado and Kansas on Monday. SDSU ended its season 25-8 overall.
The two squads were locked in a tight contest for the first 10 minutes as the lead changed eight times with six ties. SDSU’s largest lead was 5-2 in the opening minute after a three-pointer by Ashley Eide and jumper by Leah Dietel.
South Carolina gained the lead for good at 15-14 on an Ashley Bruner basket that sparked a 6-0 run. The Jackrabbits drew back to within a basket at 21-19 on a Tara Heiser three-pointer with 9 minutes, 31 seconds to play in the first half, but South Carolina began to pull away with a 10-2 run over the next three-plus minutes. SDSU hit another drought over the final five minutes of the first half as South Carolina took a 44-26 lead into intermission.
Gabby Boever connected on a three-pointer from the left corner to open the scoring in the second half, but the Jackrabbits could get no closer than 15 points the rest of the way. Another 9-0 run by the Gamecocks gave them their largest lead of the afternoon at 27 points, 61-34, with 11:39 to play.
Bruner and Ieashia Walker shared game-high honors with 15 points, while Bruner completed a double-double with 11 rebounds. Elem Ibian tallied 13 points off the bench and Tiffany Mitchell added 11.
The Gamecocks cooled off in the second half, finishing the game 25-of-52 from the field for 48.1 percent, including a 4-for-11 effort from behind the arc. USC made 20-of-26 free throw attempts, 76.9 percent, and held a 40-28 rebounding advantage.
SDSU ended the afternoon 17-of-52 from the field, 32.7 percent, including 3-of-14 from three-point range. The Jackrabbits converted 15-of-18 attempts at the line, 83.3 percent.
NOTES: The Jackrabbits dropped to 1-5 in NCAA Tournament games … SDSU lost to a Southeastern Conference opponent for the first time, falling to 4-1 against teams from one of the premier leagues in the country and 3-15 against ranked opponents in the Division I era … the Jackrabbits’ 52 points marked their third-lowest output of the season and fewest since a 60-50 loss at nationally ranked Penn State on Dec. 16 … SDSU committed 16 turnovers, compared to 15 by the Gamecocks … Eide finished her Jackrabbit career 30th in scoring with 1,095 points … Eide reached double figures for the 26th time this season, finishing with a team-best 461 points (14.0 ppg) … Lingle ended her career tied with Tara Tessier for eighth place in career blocked shots with 97 … Boever ended the season with 79 steals -- sixth-most ever in a season by a Jackrabbit player and the most in the Division I era