Top-ranked Gamecocks bludgeon Tigers

The Tigers had no answer for the length and skill of the top-ranked Gamecocks.
Missouri forward Hayley Frank tries to work her way around a South Carolina defender in the Tigers' Thursday night loss at Mizzou Arena.

Fourteen minutes into Missouri women’s basketball’s clash with the best team in the country, the Tigers kept the score close. From there on, South Carolina (17-1, 5-0 SEC) flipped a switch, demolishing Missouri (4-14, 1-4 SEC) 78-45.

The Tigers opened the game pacing the Gamecocks, trailing by just five points heading into the second quarter. Missouri held the No. 1 team to 23% shooting in the first quarter. It kept close for most of the second, cutting the lead to three, 17-14 halfway through the third quarter.

Missouri proceeded to fall apart, conceding an 18-3 run to end the quarter. South Carolina shot 60% from the floor in the second, leading Missouri 35-17 at the end of the half.

In the first half, the Tigers coughed up the ball 11 times and only generated four assists. They shot 7-27 from the floor and 0-1 from the free-throw line. On the season, the Tigers attempted 13 free throws per contest. Junior guard Nadia Green led Missouri in scoring for the first half with four points.

In the second half, the Gamecocks kept their foot on the gas, increasing their lead over the Tigers to 18 heading into the final period.

Aijha Blackwell scored Missouri’s first field goal of the half with four and a half minutes left in the third. The only Tiger to score in double figures, she ended the night with 13 points, 10 of them coming in the second half. Conversely, five Gamecocks scored in double figures.

The fourth brought more of the same, Missouri unable to find a crack in South Carolina’s offense or defense.

The Tigers’ leading scorer on the season, Amber Smith, didn’t make an appearance on the stat sheet until the very end of the third quarter. Averaging 13 points per game on the season, Smith scored four on Thursday, shooting 1-8 from the field and 2-2 from the line.

In the first half, South Carolina recorded more offensive rebounds (14) than Missouri had total rebounds (12). The Tigers finished with 31 total rebounds to the Gamecocks’ 62 (25 offensive).

The Tigers will look for their second SEC win on Sunday at Ole Miss.

Edited by Eli Hoff | ehoff@themaneater.com

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