clear
Monday July 6th, 2015 7:30AM

South Carolina knocks out Lady Dogs to advance to SEC semifinals

By The Associated Press
DULUTH -- It's not every year that South Carolina arrives at the SEC tournament as the favorite.

Junior center Elem Ibiam says coach Dawn Staley and her staff have kept the No. 5 Gamecocks focused after leading the school to its first regular-season title.

"Our coaches always tell us not to get too high or too low," Ibiam said. "That keeps us balanced and focused on the next team, at the task at hand."

Alaina Coates scored 13 points, Ibiam added 12 points and South Carolina took an easy 67-48 victory over Georgia in the third round of the Southeastern Conference tournament on Friday.

The top-seeded Gamecocks (27-3) advanced to the tournament semifinals for the second time in three years. Before 2011, South Carolina had never played past the quarterfinals.

SEC player of the year Tiffany Mitchell finished with 11 points for South Carolina, which led the entire game.

South Carolina filled Georgia's passing lanes, ran through screens to pressure the perimeter and essentially never gave the ninth-seeded Lady Bulldogs (20-11) much of a chance.

Offensively, the Gamecocks' 6-foot-4 tandem of Ibiam and Coates proved too tough for Georgia.

"I thought they played with renewed energy coming off the Tennessee loss, and it was great to get back to playing efficient basketball," Staley said of the loss on Sunday. "I thought the perimeter players played a little bit fast today - had a lot of energy.

"But it was good to pound that ball inside and allow our post players to go to work and let everyone exhale a little bit to get their nerves right."

The Gamecocks were particularly efficient at getting their offense in transition, scoring often and easily as Georgia failed to defend in a timely fashion.

"It had nothing to do with size advantage or any of the other things that impress you about South Carolina," Lady Bulldogs coach Andy Landers said. "It was about transitioning, get back on defense, get under the ball, get it stopped, know where their shooters are. We didn't know where Mitchell was the first 10 minutes of the game, and she got 25 on us last time."

Erika Ford, with 10 points, was the only Georgia player in double figures. Krista Donald pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds

Tina Roy's putback gave the Gamecocks their first double-digit lead midway through the first half. They were up by 17 at halftime and 25 after Asia Dozier's layup with 16:43 remaining.

Georgia missed 33 of its first 42 shots and was nearly 40 percentage points worse from the field than the Gamecocks when Tiara Griffin's 3-point attempt fell short at the 13:08 mark.

Ibiam's layup at the 10:04 mark gave South Carolina its biggest lead at 27. Coates, the SEC freshman of the year, combined with Aleighsa Welch for 17 rebounds. Welch finished with a nine boards.

South Carolina's thorough performance looked like a team trying to impress the NCAA tournament selection committee and earn a No. 1 seed. The Gamecocks, who won their first SEC regular season title last week with a victory over Georgia in Columbia, S.C., improved to 77-21 over the last three seasons.

"I think that was very important for us to just establish ourselves early in the paint," Ibiam said. "Whenever we're not on our guards, they're there for us. For us to be there for our guards, be a cushion, bring some confidence out to the perimeter. It was a good feeling. I think that's what happened today."

Added Coates, "It's a confidence-booster when your bigs have your back."
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
2014 Top 10: Looking back at the top sports stories of the year
It was another year for the record books in 2014, mostly for the right reasons -- state championships, new challenges and new stars taking their turn to shine. But there were also plenty of big stories that reminded us that sports -- like life -- isn
11:55PM ( 6 months ago )
NASCAR K&N Pro Series schedules set for 2015
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - NASCAR announced recently the 2015 schedules for its top developmental regional touring series, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
2:00PM ( 6 months ago )
Lanierland boys final: Johnson makes history with win over Red Elephants <b> (VIDEO) </b>
Ever the aggressor on the court, Johnson
8:55AM ( 6 months ago )
Sports
Jackets, Mississippi St. clash in Orange Bowl
No. 10 Georgia Tech has the nation's second-ranked rushing offense. No. 8 Mississippi State has held seven of its 12 opponents under 125 yards on the ground.
5:04PM ( 6 months ago )
Ole Miss defense braces for TCU offense in Peach Bowl
Mississippi and TCU were part of the playoffs story in 2014. Each team was part of the chase. Each team fell short of the coveted semifinals.
5:01PM ( 6 months ago )
Kiffin shining again after season of redemption
Lane Kiffin was modest in his goals and complimentary about the team he'll be facing in the Sugar Bowl. He went on and on about how much he's learned from Nick Saban, while insisting it's no big deal when his boss yells at him. Very un-Kiffin-like, you might say.
11:02PM ( 6 months ago )
College Sports
Earnhardt, Jr. wins, Austin Dillon crashes hard at Daytona
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. endured a weekend of rain, a three-hour-plus pre-race delay, and nine caution flags to win the Coke-Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway early Monday morning.
By Bill Speros-NASCAR Wire Service
3:15AM ( 4 hours ago )
Lloyd hat trick leads US over Japan 5-2 for World Cup title
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Carli Lloyd lives for the big moment. She had her biggest on Sunday night — and gave the United States its record third Women's World Cup title.Lloyd scored three ti...
1:06AM ( 6 hours ago )
Braves shake up bullpen after 4-0 loss to Phillies in 10
A 10th-inning meltdown set the stage for a postgame shake-up of Atlanta's bullpen...
10:43PM ( 8 hours ago )
U.S. women hope history does not repeat itself
Abby Wambach remembers the date by heart: July 17, 2011. That was the day the United States lost to Japan in the Women's World Cup title match in Germany.
By The Associated Press
6:45PM ( 12 hours ago )
Maybin stays hot, paces Braves to 2nd straight win over Phillies
Cameron Maybin had three hits, including a home run, and the Atlanta Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies 9-5 on Saturday night in their best offensive showing in six weeks.
By The Associated Press
9:32AM ( 21 hours ago )