A’ja Wilson Returns, as (5) USC Tops Ole Miss

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Alaina Coates had 15 points and 15 rebounds for her 54th career double-double, and All-America forward A’ja Wilson returned from a sprained ankle as No. 5 South Carolina defeated Mississippi 65-46 on Thursday night to stay perfect in Southeastern Conference play.

The 6-foot-5 Wilson missed the previous two games after hurting her right ankle at Florida on Jan. 8. The Gamecocks’ leading scorer got a huge cheer when she was announced in the starting lineup and played fluidly in 15 minutes of action, with six points and four rebounds.

Coates, Wilson’s 6-4 post partner, continued to dominate down low for South Carolina (16-1, 6-0 Southeastern Conference). The two fueled a 13-3 closing run in the second quarter as the Gamecocks took control.

Coates scored six points and Wilson four during the spurt to help South Carolina open a 37-22 lead at halftime.

Ole Miss (13-6, 2-4) never got within single digits the rest of the way in losing its ninth straight to the Gamecocks.

Taylor Manuel led the Rebels with 13 points, all in the final two quarters.

Kaela Davis had 14 points and Allisha Gray 11 for South Carolina.


Mississippi: The Rebels concluded their toughest stretch of the SEC season with games against Tennessee, No. 4 Mississippi State and No. 5 South Carolina. After upsetting the Lady Vols 67-62 last Thursday night, Ole Miss hung tough with its state rival before falling 72-63. The Rebels’ legs might have finally worn down against the Gamecocks in the second quarter. Ole Miss had nine turnovers in the first half, more than halfway to its average of 16 per game. The Rebels finished with 18.

South Carolina: Wilson leads the team in scoring (16.9 points a game) and blocks (31). She’s second in rebounds with 7.6 per game. South Carolina will need a productive Wilson to make it through a difficult portion of the schedule starting Monday night against No. 4 Mississippi State. The Gamecocks also play Tennessee and Kentucky before the month is out and will need to stay sharp before the season’s highlight, Feb. 13 at No. 1 UConn, where South Carolina could be on the losing end of Connecticut’s 100th straight victory.


Mississippi returns home to play Alabama on Sunday night.

South Carolina faces No. 4 Mississippi State in a showdown of the SEC’s top two teams Monday night.

Categories: Local Sports, Sports, USC Gamecocks