Seemingly gone are the days of Missouri competing with this South Carolina team, as the Gamecocks boat-raced Pingeton’s Tiger team which was absent of their star senior forward, Hayley Frank, for the second consecutive game. The now 22-0 Gamecocks won in convincing fashion, claiming the lead with 4:42 left in the first quarter and never looking back. The Gamecocks would coast to an 83-45 victory at home, the second 35+ point defeat of the season for this team.
This game was an embodiment of the season up to this point, the Tigers just didn’t look ready to compete. Frankly, they looked like a team ready to pack their bags on a season that just can’t be salvaged. This is no fault to the players, as this group is one that is typically ready to compete, but without any big presences in the front court, any team with a competent big is bound to put a result like this on the Tigers. The fact is, the Tigers have had mediocre big play for the last two years under Pingeton and it’s a big reason why the last two teams haven’t even sniffed the tournament despite having elite shooting talent.
Now back to the game. The real downfall of the Tigers in this game was turnovers. South Carolina was able to dominate in the turnover department, especially in the first half. The turnover troubles continued throughout the game, but the real staggering number was the stark difference in points off turnovers. Allowing points off turnovers has been a big problem for the Tigers this season, and in this game South Carolina led in that department 20-0 at the end of the third quarter.
Offensively, South Carolina attacked the open lanes and were very strong in the paint, which led to another gargantuan statistical difference as the Gamecocks led 36-8 in points in the paint heading into the final quarter. Injuries, however, were a big blow to Missouri’s depth, a gripe that hadn’t really affected South Carolina as much as the bench had seven less points than the Tigers heading into the final quarter.
As far as efficiency went, it was no contest, with the Gamecocks averaging 1.23 points per possession and the Tigers averaging .722, and the majority of that can be relayed to one team relying on lower-chance, deep shots and the other team relying on higher-chance shots inside the paint.
South Carolina is well known for their ability to run the fast break, and tonight was no different as they outscored Missouri 22-3 in that category, and made things look easy on quick plays in transition. Additionally, South Carolina did a better job than the Tigers in getting to the foul line, and that relieves a ton of pressure off of the Gamecocks’ half-court offense with the ability to get to the line.
At the end of the day, it was an all-around dominant performance from Dawn Staley and the Gamecocks, which is expected of them. Sadly, after the last couple games in this series having some nail-biting qualities, this one was a bit of a letdown in that department.
Statistically, the Gamecocks outshot the Tigers 47.9% to 28.3% from the floor and outrebounded them 47-33. Missouri had a season-high 21 turnovers in the bout, whilst only leading for 3:18 of the game.
When it comes to the drawbacks from this loss, it marks the fifth straight loss in conference play for Pingeton’s group and pushes this team to under .500 this season at 11-12.
UP NEXT: Missouri takes on Auburn at home on Sunday, February 11th at 1 PM CST. Let’s hope Frank is back, at least.