HIGHLIGHTS: (7) Gamecocks beat (24) LSU on “A’ja Wilson Day”
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – A’ja Wilson scored 27 points and had a career-best 24 rebounds to lead No. 7 South Carolina to a 57-48 win over No. 24 LSU on Thursday night.
Wilson turned in one of her most dominant performances in her final regular season home game.
It was senior night and the 6-foot-5 Wilson scored the first seven points of the game as the Gamecocks (23-5, 12-3 Southeastern Conference) never trailed.
LSU (18-8, 10-5) kept the score close for most of the game. When the Tigers cut it to a single possession game for the final time at 30-28 in the third quarter, Wilson scored on three of the next four possessions – and had an assist on another – to give South Carolina a 38-28 lead in her final regular season game at home.
Wilson grew up just down the road in Hopkins, South Carolina and rejected offers from UConn, Tennessee and North Carolina to be a part of a program on the rise. She had taken it to new heights. The Gamecocks won their first national title and three SEC titles during Wilson’s four years. She will likely become a three-time All-American and SEC player of the year at the end of the season.
The crowd chanted her name after coach Dawn Staley called a timeout to take her out of the game with 27.6 seconds left.
Raigyne Louis had 17 points and eight rebounds and Chole Jackson added 16 points for LSU
The Tigers scored 22 points off 14 turnovers and only gave away the ball five times, but they couldn’t overcome 32.8 percent (22-of-67) shooting from the field.
Alexis Jennings added 10 points for South Carolina.
QUOTABLE HEAD COACH DAWN STALEY
On A’ja Wilson’s strong performance on Senior Night
“She obviously wanted to win on Senior Night. She wanted to win because we want to secure a top-four seed in the SEC Tournament. And she wanted to leave on a great note in front of the fans who really have supported her for four years. They have poured into this gym to watch her play. I can say the people coming to watch her play each game have helped her become an even better player.”
- The Gamecocks held LSU to 1-of-11 from beyond the arc. Carolina has held three of its last five opponents to three or fewer 3-pointers.
- Carolina senior forward A’ja Wilson finished the contest with 27 points and 24 rebounds. She became the first Gamecock to post a 20-20 game since Sheila Foster (1979-82) totaled 29 points and 22 boards against UCLA on Jan. 5, 1981.
- Wilson now sits in second place on Carolina’s all-time scoring list with 2,237 points. She’s 29 points away from tying Foster to the program record.
Back-to-back buckets from Gamecock senior forward A’ja Wilson turned a five-point lead into a 55-46 Carolina advantage with 4:05 to play in the contest. The two baskets were the final field goals of the contest for Wilson, who netted 14 second-half points.
Led by A’ja Wilson’s 24 rebounds, the Gamecocks ended the contest with a 50-32 advantage on the boards. Carolina has outrebounded its opponent in 10 of its 15 league games.
The Gamecocks close regular season play this weekend when they face No. 15/14 Tennessee on Sun., Feb. 25. Tipoff is slated for 4 p.m. ET, and the game will air on ESPN2.