The Daily Gamecock

Analysis: Gamecock women's basketball dominates Ole Miss 68-43

Sophomore guard Zia Cooke shoots the ball during the game against Ole Miss. South Carolina won 68-43.
Sophomore guard Zia Cooke shoots the ball during the game against Ole Miss. South Carolina won 68-43.

The No. 5 South Carolina Gamecock women’s basketball team defeated the Ole Miss Rebels 68-43 in its final home game of the season on Thursday. 

South Carolina controlled the rebounding game in the first quarter, outrebounding Ole Miss 7-5. It also took advantage of the free-throw line, hitting 5-7. The Gamecocks' ability to force the Rebels to foul was a key factor in building its lead. 

Five minutes into the first quarter, both teams were shooting above 50% from the field. 

A 9-0 Gamecock run that lasted more than three minutes allowed the team to pull ahead late in the first quarter. The Gamecocks held a 6-point lead by the end of the first.

Both teams picked up the intensity on defense in the second quarter. 

The Rebels shooting percentage dropped to 27.6% by halftime. The team missed 12 consecutive shots to end the half and only managed to make one field goal the whole quarter. Ole Miss added two free-throws giving the team 4 points for the quarter.

The Gamecocks shooting also dropped to 40% on 12 for 30 shooting. South Carolina struggled from behind the 3-point line hitting only 1-5. Despite this, South Carolina expanded on its lead to go into halftime up 13 points.

Sophomore guard Zia Cooke held the team together in the first half by leading the players in scoring with 14 points. 

“I get in my modes where I’m able to do things like that,” Cooke said. “It was just coming to me. It happened so fast.”

South Carolina continued to force Ole Miss to take tough shots in the third quarter. The Gamecocks played tough on-ball defense and played physical in the paint. The Rebels shot 15.8% from the floor in the third. 

“I do think we've upped the ante when it comes to, you know, just playing grittier and just playing in the moment,” head coach Dawn Staley said.

The Gamecocks drained two 3-point shots in the quarter, and with a little over five minutes left, South Carolina went on an 11-4 run to finish the third quarter. 

From there South Carolina coasted to the finish line. The Gamecocks extended its lead to over 20 in the final quarter and put Ole Miss away. 

The Gamecocks shot 41.4% from the field in the game. The team also hit 17-24 free throws. It finished the game outrebounding the Rebels 43-28. Still, Staley felt like the team could have done better on the boards.

“We outrebounded them by 15, but I’m like, if we give, you know, another effort, you know, we may have a lot more,” Staley said. 

Ole Miss finished the game shooting 26% out of 61 shots. The team shot even worse from the 3-point line, going 2-12. The Gamecocks' defense did not let them get good looks at the basket. When Ole Miss did get good looks, it could not convert. You could tell from the start the Rebels were outmatched.

“This was the game I was more concerned of,” Ole Miss head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin said. “There hadn't been one game on the schedule that concerned me but this.”

Cooke ended with 17 points for the Gamecocks. Sophomore forward Aliyah Boston finished with 7 points and 11 rebounds. 

The Gamecocks are now 19-3 in the season and 14-1 in SEC play. The team ends its regular season with a shot at the regular season championship on Sunday with a tough match-up against No. 3 Texas A&M at 2:00 p.m. on ESPN2.


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