Inefficient shooting from the field and the free-throw line did not help the South Carolina women’s basketball team on Thursday night as the No. 1 Gamecocks fell to the No. 8 NC State Wolfpack 54-46 at Colonial Life Arena. The loss snapped South Carolina's 29-game win streak that dated back to last season’s loss to Indiana.
The Gamecocks were plagued by poor shooting throughout the game, finishing the night shooting 27% from the floor, including 17% from beyond the arc. The Wolfpack also had their struggles as they shot 29% from the court.
However, one aspect that ultimately set NC State apart from South Carolina was free-throw shooting. The Gamecocks shot only 36% in 11 attempts from the penalty stripe compared to the Wolfpack’s 83% at the line. This included South Carolina going 0-for-6 on free throws in the second half.
“I think that we let the game get to us, the fatigue and just the intensity of the game get to us,” sophomore forward Laeticia Amihere said. “We’re going to keep working on [free throws] and we got to bring that percentage up.”
Despite its shooting struggles, South Carolina did have players lead the way on the court with Amihere capturing a double-double with 11 points and 15 rebounds. Sophomore guard Zia Cooke also scored in double figures with 11 points and five rebounds.
The Gamecocks had most of their shooting troubles in the second quarter, shooting 10.5% from the court in a quarter where the Wolfpack outscored South Carolina by 4 and shot 21.7%.
NC State went on a 10-0 run in the second quarter in a span where the Gamecocks shot just 0-for-14 from the court and ultimately finished the quarter making one basket in their last 18 attempts.
Despite this, the Gamecocks were able to remain competitive throughout the ball game, securing a 44-43 lead with a little over five minutes left. But the Wolfpack clawed back into the lead and expanded on it, going on a 10-2 run to end the game.
“We just had no flow,” head coach Dawn Staley said. “We were a team that I’ve never seen before. I’ve never coached a team that performed that way. It was pick-up basketball. I’m just not used to it, so we’re going to have to figure some things out.”
The Gamecocks will now turn their attention to Iowa State for their game in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. The Cyclones are coming off of a 91-68 win over the TCU Horned Frogs last Wednesday and are 2-1 on the season.
South Carolina and Iowa State are set to tip-off at noon EST on Sunday in Ames, Iowa, and the game will be broadcast on ESPNU.
“‘It’s 24 hours,’ coach [Staley] says. We got to turn the page, we got other games coming up this weekend that we got to prepare for,” Amihere said. “It’s tough. We got to go back, we got to watch film, we got to go back in practice and fix all the kinks that we need to fix and then attack the weekend strong.”