The scoreboard at Colonial Life Arena said that South Carolina defeated in-state rival Clemson by a score of 69-57, but it would have been difficult to tell by just looking at the game statistics or from listening to head coach Dawn Staley after the game.
The Gamecocks won their second game of the season, but it was also their sloppiest. It was South Carolina’s ninth-straight win over in-state rival Clemson, but it did not come easy with the amount of turnovers by the Gamecocks.
Staley was pleased with how her defense performed against the Tigers for the most part, but the team's 27 turnovers were a statistic that stood out to her, and she said it's an area of concern for her and her team.
“I thought [Clemson] disrupted us and we couldn’t get in a flow from an offensive standpoint,” Staley said. “When you throw the ball away 27 times, that’s pretty uncharacteristic and unexpected ... A lot of those came from our experienced players and we have to do better.”
With top-ranked teams such as Maryland, Baylor and UConn on the schedule as the season ramps up, Staley said limiting fouls and other mistakes is something that needs to change for this team.
“I think they had a huge part of making it ugly because we didn’t handle their zone very well,” Staley said after the game. “I don’t think we were good in sharing the ball when we had opportunities in transition to make the right play. That’s something that we've addressed and will continue to address.”
Sophomore guard Bianca Jackson and junior guard Tyasha Harris committed the most turnovers on the team, with each racking up six.
Even with all of the mistakes and mishaps, the Gamecocks did come out victorious in their first home game of the season. That being said, Staley said she knows her team can and will perform better if they can return to the fundamentals, despite their mistakes in front of a home crowd.
“At some point, you get back to basketball. You get back to who you are. We have to create better habits for ourselves,” Staley said.
One bright spot, however, was that the Gamecocks blocked 16 shots against the Tigers. Staley hopes that blocked shots become a trend for this team, especially with the quality of teams they will face.
“I mean it’s something we have done well the past two games,” Staley said. "We’ll see how well we can block shots on Sunday. The competition will be a real challenge for us. That's going to be part of our game, and I hope it continues because it was pretty impressive today.
Of those 16 blocked shots for the Gamecocks, junior forward Mikiah Herbert Harrigan led the team with four, while junior guard Te’a Cooper was just behind her with three blocked shots against the Tigers.
The Gamecocks will have very little time for rest until their next game. South Carolina will take on the No. 9 Maryland Terrapins on Nov. 18 at Colonial Life Arena. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN.