RUSTON, La. - South Carolina used aggressive inside play and timely outside shooting to earn an 82-58 win at Louisiana Tech in women's basketball action at Thomas Assembly Center Monday night. Five Gamecocks finished the night in double figures, led by Ashley Bruner's 17, as South Carolina shot 48.3 percent from the field, including six 3-pointers, and won the rebound battle 43-26. Senior Ieasia Walker stuffed the stat sheet, including a career-best eight assists.
"Overall it was a great game. Our players really executed what we planned to execute. But, the entire game I never felt like we could get away. LA Tech was around and into the game. In the end, we pulled out the win."
The Gamecocks worked from the inside out early in the game, going to Aleighsa Welch and Bruner early and often en route to a 17-8 advantage seven minutes into the game. From there, the outside shooting took over with Ieasia Walker, who opened with five assists on the first seven baskets, and Asia Dozier combining for the next nine points all from 3-point range as the lead stretched to 26-12 midway through the period.
The lead grew to 19 as the defense forced the Lady Techsters into tough shots and cleaned up the rebounds. Freshman Tiffany Mitchell pressed the action on the other end, converting a pair of traditional three-point plays, and Welch capped the 7-0 run with a free throw for a 33-14 Gamecock lead with seven minutes left in the half. LA Tech closed the gap to 13 at halftime as substitutions had the Gamecock defense on its heels late in the period.
A quick five points from LA Tech's Lulu Perry opened the second half and cut the Gamecock lead to nine points, but interior play got South Carolina settled again. The Gamecocks pounded the ball inside, looking for high percentage shots or fouls, and they ended up with both. The Lady Techsters continued to battle, but Wilka Montout put the game all but out of reach as she scored eight points of an 11-5 run that stretched the Gamecocks' lead to 71-53. South Carolina did not allow LA Tech to get any closer.
Joining Bruner in double-figure points were Welch with 14, Mitchell with 13, Montout with 12 and Walker with 10. It was a full team effort on the boards as well with Sancheon White, Welch and Mitcchell all tying for team-high honors with eight.
South Carolina returns to Colonial Life Arena for a pair of games, beginning with Savannah State on Thu., Nov. 15, and closing with archrival Clemson on Sun., Nov. 18.