Dawn Staley wins 400th career game, as USC tops W. Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A’ja Wilson scored 29 points and Alexis Jennings had 19 as No. 5 South Carolina bounced back from its first loss of the season with a 101-43 pummeling of Western Carolina on Thursday night.

The Gamecocks (7-1) fell behind 2-0, then broke off a 17-0 run powered by the 6-foot-5 Wilson and 6-2 Jennings that put the game out of reach for the Catamounts (1-5) of the Southern Conference.

Wilson and Jennings combined to score the team’s first eight points then never let up against their overmatched opponent. It was a welcome beatdown for South Carolina, which fell to No. 3 Notre Dame 92-85 in the finals of the Gulf Coast Showcase.

Wilson, the two-time defending Southeastern Conference player of the year, has turned her scoring up for the defending national champions, scoring 33, 17, 34 and 29 points her past four games. She came close to her third 30-point game of the season, but was taken out for good with five minutes remaining.

Wilson made 13 of 19 shots and grabbed seven rebounds.

Lauren Laplant, Sherae Bonner and Nikki Johnson had eight points each to lead Western Carolina.

It was South Carolina’s first time hitting the century mark since last year’s NCAA Tournament run as it defeated Quinnipiac 100-58 in the round of 16. It was the Gamecocks’ biggest margin of victory since topping Savannah State 111-49 in December 2014.

The Associated Press contributed to the writing of this article.

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