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Gamecocks roll in rivalry tilt

South Carolina started out 4-0 for the first time since the start of the 2002-03 season by dispatching rival Clemson 64-43 on Sunday afternoon at the Colonial Life Arena. The Gamecocks have won three straight over the Tigers (0-3) and have won six of the last eight meetings between the two teams.

South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley and her team have won three straight against Clemson after notching a 64-43 victory over the Tigers on Sunday afternoon at the Colonial Life Arena

Player of the Game

On a night where South Carolina couldn’t score from the perimeter, all eyes are going to go towards the post players. Forward Ashley Bruner put the Gamecocks on her back dropping 16 points and grabbing eight rebounds for the game. She also chipped in three steals in 28 minutes of action.

The Gamecocks got out to a hot start jumping out to a 17-3 lead over the first 7:26 of the game. Even though the home side, looking to help head coach Dawn Staley move to 3-2 over the Tigers, climbed out to a big lead, it wasn’t because of its shooting prowess.

South Carolina made three shots in the entire game from outside of the paint, so there was a focus on offensive rebounding and scoring from the lane. That’s where Bruner stepped in. She finished the game 6-of-12 from the field and tied for the team high in points and rebounds.

It’s a will; like you want to score and want to help your team. There are going to be games where they don’t shoot well but I’m still going to do what I’m supposed to do and what they expect me to do. If that’s get offensive rebounds and kick it out, that’s what I’m going to do. - South Carolina forward Ashley Bruner

Stat of the Game

South Carolina asserted its dominance on the boards in the second half outrebounding the Tigers 17 over the final 20 minutes of play. At halftime, the Gamecocks held a narrow 19-18 rebounding margin over a Tigers squad that had some size, but was not nearly as physical or athletic as their opposition. In the second half, Staley’s club held a 27-10 margin on the boards.

Staley didn’t deliver a passionate halftime speech about the importance of rebounding but it is an aspect of the game that was stressed throughout the week. In the second half, the team responded with a lopsided margin on the boards. The Gamecocks had 13 second chance points in the game.

I know we’re going to be able to defend. Whether or not we’re going to be able to hit any shots, that’s a different story. At the beginning of games, we’re pretty ready to rock and roll. Our players had a good attitude going into the game wanted to win. Holding them to without a field goal for a few minutes plays to our part. - South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley

Moment of the Game

South Carolina controlled the game for most of the afternoon but Clemson continued to hang around. The deficit hovered between 12 and 16 points most of the second half but what could have been a 30-point blowout was not to be as the Tigers were able to hang around.

The Gamecocks took firm control of the game with 4:24 remaining in the game. The crowd rose to its feet when senior Ieasia Walker dropped in a put-back basket and drew a foul for a three-point play to give the Gamecocks a 59-39 lead. There was some chirping between the teams that caused guard USC Tiffany Mitchell and Clemson guard Nikki Dixon to earn double technical. Dixon was causing the Gamecocks some problems in the game with her five steals but the technical foul was also her fifth personal, so it ended the game for her.

We knew we were going to be challenged a lot different than we were the first three games of the season. It’s a rivalry game. They came in ready to play and ready to challenge us. … It was an ugly game. It really was. But we’ll take the win. - South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley

And one …

-- USC Sports Information confirmed that freshman guard Tiffany Davis will miss the remainder of the season with a ligament injury that will require season-ending surgery. She played in the first three games and averaged 4.0 points per game. She was rated as the 29th-best point guard in the 2012 class by ESPN Hoopgurlz.

-- South Carolina and Clemson combined to shoot just 1-of-24 from behind the three-point line. Tigers guard Aisha Turner made the only triple of the game but Staley wasn’t overly concerned about her team’s lack of makes from distance. She said a little bit more practice in the Colonial Life Arena versus at the practice facility may help the cause.

“No, because we don’t rely on (three-point shooting),” Staley said, when asked if she was concerned. “I think it’s icing on the cake if we’re able to knock down some threes. It’s still very early. The people who are shooting them are three-point shooters. Ieasia can knock them down, Asia can knock them down - we’re just finding it hard. We’re just finding it hard.”

-- The Gamecocks will depart on Tuesday for a tournament in the U.S. Virgin Islands over Thanksgiving. South Carolina will face Hampton on Thursday at 1:15 p.m. and conclude the tournament over the next two days with games against Florida Gulf Coast and DePaul. The team returns home to face Drexel on Wednesday, November 28 at the Colonial Life Arena.

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