By: Sean Cartell
SEC Digital Network
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DULUTH, Ga. – Sophomore South Carolina center Elem Ibiam charted a career-high 19 points Thursday and the fifth-seeded Gamecocks posted their largest-ever win in the Southeastern Conference Tournament with an 77-35 victory against 13th-seeded Alabama at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.
South Carolina (24-6) advances to play fourth-seeded Texas A&M (21-9) on Friday at 2:30 p.m. ET on SportSouth.
South Carolina, which won a school-record 11 conference games this season, posted a 42-point margin of victory, which was their largest in an SEC Tournament game and the largest in any South Carolina game involving an SEC opponent since a 60-point win over Alabama (95-35) on Jan. 14, 2007.
Ibiam’s career-high 19 points came on 8-of-12 shooting and she came up just one rebound shy of achieving her first career double double. Senior forward Ashley Bruner notched her sixth double-double of the season and the 11th of her career with 10 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Freshman guard Khadijah Sessions added 11 points.
The Gamecocks shot a blistering 50.9 (28-of-55) percent from the floor, while limiting the Crimson Tide to just 24.6 (14-of-57) shooting from the field. South Carolina out-rebounded Alabama 47-31.
Alabama (13-18) was led by 10 points from sophomore guard Daisha Simmons.
• Session 2 attendance: 2,744
• Alabama is now 13-18 overall, 25-34 all-time in the SEC Tournament.
• The Crimson Tide is now 0-16 on the season when trailing at the half after facing a 28-18 deficit at the break.
• UA has not reached the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament since 2005.
• The 35 points scored were a season low for Alabama, the previous low being 42 against LSU.
• The 42 margin was the largest in a loss for the Crimson Tide this season.
• Alabama’s 17 second-half points were a season low for a second period.
• The 14 field goals tied an SEC Tournament record for fewest in a game, a number achieved nine times previously, most recently by Arkansas and LSU, who each had 14 in a 2012 game against each other.
• Freshman forward Nikki Hegstetter set new career highs in points (8) and rebounds (7).
• Sophomore guard Daisha Simmons led Alabama with 10 points, her 22nd double-figure game on the season.
SOUTH CAROLINA NOTES
• South Carolina moves to 24-6 on the season and will face fourth-seeded Texas A&M in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals at 2:30 p.m. Friday.
• South Carolina improves to 7-21 all-time at the SEC Tournament, including a 4-4 mark in the Dawn Staley era.
• The 42-point margin of victory for the Gamecocks was their largest in an SEC Tournament game and the largest in any game against an SEC opponent since a 60-point win over Alabama (95-35) on Jan. 14, 2007.
• Alabama’s 35 points were the fewest allowed by South Carolina to an SEC opponent this season.
• This is the third straight season for South Carolina to win their opening game at the SEC Tournament, and the second straight year for Carolina to eliminate Alabama. Prior to 2011, the Gamecocks had only won three SEC Tournament games since joining the league in 1992.
• The Gamecocks are 8-0 against Alabama under Staley and have won 15 of the last 18 meetings with the Crimson Tide, dating back to the 2000-01 season.
• Carolina led 28-18 at the half. The Gamecocks are 21-1 this season when holding a halftime lead.
• The Gamecocks’ bench outscored Alabama 34-9. Carolina is 14-2 when its bench outscores its opponent.
• Sophomore C Elem Ibiam had a career-high 19 points to lead all scorers and fell one rebound shy of her first career double-double with nine boards.
• Senior G Ieasia Walker made her 100th career start for the Gamecocks today. With 5 assists, she now has 299 for her career, moving into 16th in Carolina history.
• Senior F Ashley Bruner recorded her sixth double-double of the season and the 11th of her career with 10 points and a season-high 14 rebounds.