COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina sophomore Ashley Bruner scored 15 of her game-high 18 points in the second half as the Gamecocks pulled away from Savannah State in a 52-33 victory in women's basketball action at Colonial Life Arena Sunday afternoon. South Carolina (4-4) shook off a tough shooting first half to secure head coach Dawn Staley's 200th career win.
After lighting up the nets in their previous home game, the Gamecocks had a hard time getting shots to fall in the first half, but the defensive effort kept them in control of the game. Like Wednesday's outing, it was post play that got things going as Charenee Stephens netted the game's first three points. As fouls mounted quickly on Savannah State, South Carolina recorded nearly half its 19 first-half points from the free throw line.
Leading just 19-12 at the break, South Carolina saw the Lady Tigers score the first five points of the second half to pull within two points at 19-17. After Stephens hit a layup as the trailer in transition, La'Keisha Sutton hit a pair of close-range shots to put the Gamecocks back up by eight. Fila Smith got a transition layup to stop the run, but the Gamecocks went right back into the post for the next five points - a bucket from the right block from Stephens and three points from Jewel May, which extended the lead into double-digits for the first time at 30-19 less than five minutes into the half.
A 10-2 run by the Gamecocks over the next four minutes further stretched the margin, and an 8-0 spurt that included seven straight points from Bruner sealed the Lady Tigers' fate.
South Carolina had just one player in double figures, Bruner, who also paced the Gamecocks on the glass with six rebounds. Her complete effort also included four blocked shots and three steals. Sutton led the way with four assists and five steals to go with her six points.
The Gamecocks are back in action in one week as the team slows down the schedule for final exams. South Carolina will host NC State in the final game of this three-game homestand on Sun., Dec. 12, at 2 p.m.