Sara Yang/The Daily Gamecock

Despite offensive surge in first half, Gamecocks fall to Huskies 97-79

After a first quarter filled with offensive play from the Gamecocks, it appeared that South Carolina was on its way to its first win over the UConn Huskies in women's basketball program history. However, that would not be the case. 

In a rematch of the Elite Eight game from last year, South Carolina (17-6, 9-1 SEC) fell to the the No. 4/5 UConn Huskies (22-2, 10-0 American) by a score of 97-79. 

Even with a loss, the Gamecocks were able to have some strong offensive plays against a team that South Carolina has never beaten. Monday’s 79 points were the most points scored against UConn in series history.

Redshirt senior guard Bianca Cuevas-Moore finished the game with a team high of 25 points, which is the second-most points scored by a South Carolina player against the Huskies in program history.

In addition, she shot eight for 18 from the field, was four for nine in 3-pointers and made five of six free throw attempts. 

Junior guard Te’a Cooper also had a productive night on the court, scoring 20 against the Huskies while shooting eight for 10 from the field, and making all of her 3-pointers and free throws. 

During a halftime interview with ESPN2, UConn head coach Geno Auriemma was impressed with the style of play from Moore and Cooper. 

"Their guards are so quick that every time they get in the lane they put us in jail," Auriemma said during the television broadcast. 

However, it was a different story after halftime. Even though the Gamecocks were only down by one and had the approval of UConn's Auriemma, the third quarter changed the outcome of the game.

The Huskies came out of halftime outscoring the Gamecocks 29-12 in the third quarter to all but put the game out of reach for South Carolina. 

UConn senior forward Napheesa Collier led the way for the Huskies with 31 points, the most of a single player from either team, while making 15 of her 23 field goals. She was also one for two from the free throw line but missed all three of her 3-pointers. 

Cooper and Moore were unable to get rebounds consistently all night, adding to the Gamecocks’ second half struggles. Moore didn't record any rebounds, while Cooper’s only two rebounds were on defense. 

South Carolina will return to the court, and to SEC play, on Feb. 14 when they take on the Georgia Bulldogs at Colonial Life Arena. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. and can also be seen on the SEC Network. 

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