For the fourth consecutive season, No. 7 South Carolina couldn't get past No. 1 UConn as the Huskies dominated for almost the entire game to get the 83-58 win.
The Gamecocks' only lead would come in the first 30 seconds of the game, and then it was all UConn (21-0) from there. South Carolina (18-4) continued to battle in the first quarter to keep things close, and trailed by just eight after 10 minutes of play.
The Huskies started to pull away in the second quarter and led 53-24 at the half. Three Huskies were already in double-digits by that point (Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson and Kia Nurse), while A'ja Wilson was the only Gamecock to reach that mark.
The third quarter gave the Gamecocks a little bit of life, as they went on a 12-0 run, cutting the lead to 21 points. It didn't take long for the Huskies to do what they do best — tire out the Gamecocks and take over the game from there.
Head coach Dawn Staley recognized how good of an opponent UConn is and how her team needs to play smarter moving forward.
"I told our players in the locker room, in order to beat a team like UConn, you gotta do some homework yourself and figure it out," Staley said. "I told them if I'm a post player, I'm going to look at Gabby Williams and see: What are the things she does well? What are things that she doesn't do well? And try to capitalize on some of the things that she doesn't do well."
Bianca Jackson and Wilson held their own for the Gamecocks as they led in points. Jackson set a career-high in points with 20, while Wilson led the team in rebounds and blocks, and recorded her fourteenth double-double of the year. Their efforts weren't enough, as the Huskies were too strong for just the two of them to overpower.
"With me right now it's just the mental aspect of it," Wilson said. "I felt the same way I felt against Missouri; I felt like I didn't play well. I didn't play well today, and I apologize to my teammates for that."
Although the Gamecocks struggled against the No. 1 team, Staley saw progress and looked for the positives to take away.
"Obviously we didn't get the performance that we wanted ... but in these type of games you got to take away what went well," Staley said. "We all know what went wrong, but we had some things that went well."
The Gamecocks can't dwell on this loss, as they have another tough test waiting for them. The 2017 National Championship rematch is waiting for them in Starkville, Mississippi as they take on No. 2 Mississippi State on Monday.