NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Visiting No. 4 South Carolina used a lightning strike of a scoring run to close out the first half then dominated the third quarter en route to a 93-57 win inside Memorial Gymnasium on Sunday.
The Gamecocks (16-1, 4-0 SEC) led just 27-24 just before halftime, then exploded for 11 straight going into the break. In the third quarter they outscored Vandy 36-14 to record an 11th-straight victory over their SEC rivals.
“They just have the ability to come out in waves and make runs – and they did that,” Vanderbilt head coach Stephanie White said. “I’m disappointed for us because I felt like we didn’t have out normal fight. I felt like we had a little bit of fear in us and we talk all the time about respecting everyone and fearing no one. I thought there were times when we played scared. That’s not who we are.”
The Commodores (12-5, 2-2 SEC) had a six-game home winning streak broken. They turned the ball over 16 times and were limited to only eight assists.
Vanderbilt returns to action at 5 p.m. Jan. 19 to host No. 21 Arkansas (14-3, 2-2).
“That wasn’t the team that we usually are,” Hall said. “They’re a tough team and we knew that coming in, but that’s just not how we wanted to go out. But now we’re just focused on getting better and seeing what we have to improve on and we’ll play them again.
“You can prepare but when you’re actually playing them it’s kind of different. I think going in we wanted to execute a certain gameplay but we just didn’t have enough energy to do what we needed to do. They’re a great team to hat’s off to them.
South Carolina came out hot and took a 9-0 lead on a Tyasha Harris 3. It took Vandy three minutes to score, and when it did to poured in six straight, but the Gamecocks punched back with eight in a row to go up 17-6 on Victaria Sexton’s putback.
Vandy trailed 21-9 going into the second quarter and USC extended that margin to 25-12 three minutes into the period. But the Commodores woke up a bit and got within 25-20 on a Love bucket and 27-22 on a Fasoula turn and scoop shot in the lane.
The Gamecocks put together a 11-0 run to end the half and went into the locker room up 38-24. Vandy went the final 3:06 scoreless.
South Carolina had 12 points off nine Vanderbilt turnovers and led for all but 49 seconds of the first half.
Zia Cooke’s 3 two minutes into the third quarter extended that run from the first half to 21-0. That gave the Gamecocks a 48-24 lead.
Mikian Herbert Harrigan’s jumper at the 5:29 mark made it 58-28 – and Vanderbilt didn’t have an answer the rest of the way.
Cooke led South Carolina with 17.
“Offensive execution has to be your best transition defense and we had a period we were taking quick shots, bad shots, were turning the ball over where they just got out and made us pay every time,” White said. “We had sixteen turnovers which has been a low for us, but they killed you on every one. And that’s what great teams do.”
• Junior forward Autumn Newby reached the 500 rebound mark for her Vanderbilt career during Sunday’s game.
• Vanderbilt is now 21-17 against South Carolina dating back at 1990. It’s also 11-7 against USC at home having lost six straight in Nashville.
• The Dores’ last win over South Carolina came Feb. 7, 2011.
• Vandy’s last win over a top-five team came Feb. 19, 2009 (No. 3 Auburn).
• The Commodores have lost 25 straight games against ranked opponents.
• Vanderbilt has won the rebounding battle in 15 of 17 games this season.
• The Commodores had outscored their opponents 289-197 in the third quarter this season before losing Sunday’s third period 36-14.
• Attendance on Sunday was announced as 2,447.