The Daily Gamecock

No. 5 South Carolina hands Alabama its first loss, winning 77-60

No. 5 South Carolina women's basketball team gave Alabama its first loss of the season, defeating the Crimson Tide by 77-60 Monday night.

Opening the game was back-and-forth as Alabama answered every time South Carolina made a shot. Alabama senior forward Jasmine Walker led the way in the first quarter, making three of six shots, including two 3-pointers. 

After missing her first five shots at the start, Gamecock sophomore guard Zia Cooke nailed a buzzer-beating mid-range shot, putting the team ahead by 3 points. 

In the second quarter, the South Carolina defense began to gain control holding the opposition to 3-of-15 shooting. The team took advantage of the Crimson Tide’s unsuccessful shooting, going on a 9-2 run in the closing minutes.

While the Gamecocks did not find much success from the 3-point line, they managed to find success in the paint, scoring 37 points. There was a combined effort of good shooting from the team to close out the half as they shot 41.9% from the field. Junior guard Destanni Henderson was the leading scorer, earning 11 points. 

South Carolina was leading 37-26 at the break. 

Alabama senior guard Jordan Lewis began to heat up as the second half began by scoring 13 of the team's 19 points. Despite missing all of her 3-point attempts in the game, she went 7-16 shooting from the field and knocked down eight free throws in the three quarters. 

With the final seconds of the third quarter winding down, South Carolina junior guard Victaria Saxton made a buzzer-beating put back shot placing the team up by 14 heading into the final ten minutes of play.

“I mean [Saxton], that’s her specialty. I mean, she rebounds the basketball,” head coach Dawn Staley said after the game. 

In the fourth quarter, the Gamecocks continued to grow their lead reaching a game-high of 18 points. Despite Alabama’s Lewis, who scored a career-high of 28 points, South Carolina won 77-60. With the win, they will move to 2-0 in the SEC.

South Carolina had three players score in the double-digits, Henderson with 20, Cooke with 18, and Saxton with 15. The Gamecocks also out-rebounded Alabama 55 to 24. 

When asked about the team's rebounding performance, Staley said they "are a really good rebounding team, bar none." 

"We got players who crash the boards, we got players who box out and get defensive rebounds," Staley said.

On Thursday night, South Carolina will be back at home to face the Georgia Bulldogs at Colonial Life Arena. Tipoff begins at 7 p.m. and can be viewed on SEC Network+.