Wilson Leads No. 4 South Carolina To 61-59 Win Over Aggies
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – A’ja Wilson scored 25 points, including the go-ahead basket with 1.3 seconds left, as No. 4 South Carolina rallied from 11 points down in the final 13 minutes to upend No. 22 Texas A&M 61-59 to open Southeastern Conference play Sunday.
The Gamecocks (12-1) looked like they were finished as the Aggies (11-4) took a 47-36 lead on Chennedy Carter’s 3-pointer with 2:32 to play in the third quarter. But South Carolina, behind their 6-foot-5 All-American in Wilson, used a 15-2 spurt to go up 51-49.
Texas A&M was not done. Danni Williams’ jumper with 1:05 to go gave the Aggies a final lead, 59-57, before Wilson tied things with a short jumper in the lane.
After two bad turnovers by the Aggies – a 10-second call and a double-dribble violation by Williams’ as she tried to gather in the ball – Wilson came through once more. She drove across the lane and banked in a short basket for the winning points.
Carter finished with 36 points – 19 of those in the third quarter – but was clearly out of gas as the game wound down. She was 1 of 7 in the final period.
Doniyah Cliney had a career high 16 points and Wilson added 15 rebounds, four assists and three blocks as the Gamecocks won their fifth straight over Texas A&M.
QUOTABLE SOUTH CAROLINA COACH DAWN STALEY
On the play of senior forward A’ja Wilson
“As for as A’ja Wilson, it’s bittersweet. I see a tremendous player who has developed into somebody who is really special. She’s reading the defense a lot quicker. She’s very complete. I don’t think there’s another player in the country like her from a collegiate or pro standpoint. Her ability to dribble the basketball, consistently make outside shots, rebound the basketball on both sides of the court. Now’s just her hopefully taking us to another championship.”
- The Gamecocks have won each of their last five SEC openers. Five of the victories have come at Colonial Life Arena.
- Carolina’s victorySundaymarked its largest comeback of the season. Texas A&M led by as many as 11 in the second half.
- With her second field goal of the game, Gamecock senior forward A’ja Wilson moved into fourth on South Carolina’s all-time scoring list. Her 1,961 total points stand 21 away from third place.
- Twelve of Carolina guard Doniyah Cliney’s career-high 16 points came in the second half. The junior has now reached double figures in five games this season.
Gamecock senior forward A’ja Wilson delivered the go-ahead bucket with 1.1 seconds left after converting a tough basket from inside the paint off an in-bounds play. Wilson accounted for 10 of Carolina’s 20 points in the final period.
Carolina’s defense was the difference down the stretch as Texas A&M shot just 28.6 percent (4-of-14) from the floor in the fourth quarter. The Aggies entered the final period with an eight-point lead after shooting 52.6 percent in the third quarter.
Carolina continues SEC play on Thu., Jan. 4, when it faces Ole Miss on the road in Oxford, Miss. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. ET, and the game can be seen on SEC Network+.