By: Sean Cartell
SEC Digital Network
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DULUTH, Ga. – Kristi Bellock scored a team-high 17 points and fourth-seeded Texas A&M posted a hard-fought 61-52 victory against fifth-seeded South Carolina on Friday in the Southeastern Conference Tournament quarterfinals at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.
Texas A&M (22-9) advances to face top-seeded Tennessee (24-6) on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
The Aggies, competing in their first-ever SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament game, were out-rebounded 46-33 and shot just 38.5 percent (20-of-52) from the field, but scored 14 points off of 18 South Carolina turnovers and made 20-of-28 free throws.
Bellock’s 17 points came on 6-of-8 shooting from the field and a 5-of-6 clip from the free throw stripe, while Karla Gilbert went 3-for-3 from the field and totaled 13 points. Courtney Williams turned in a team-high 11 rebounds.
South Carolina (24-7) was led by Ashley Bruner’s game-high 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Ieasia Walker added 15 points.
• Session 4 attendance: 4,819
SOUTH CAROLINA NOTES
• South Carolina falls to 24-7 for the season and 1-1 in the 2013 SEC Tournament.
• The Gamecocks fall to 0-2 all-time against Texas A&M with both meetings coming this season.
• Carolina falls to 7-22 all-time in the SEC Tournament, including a 1-5 record in the quarterfinal round.
• The Gamecocks won the rebounding battle 46-33, marking only the fourth time this season for Carolina to fall when holding an advantage on the boards (21-4).
• Senior guard Ieasia Walker had her 14th double-digit scoring game of the season with 15 points today.
• Senior F Ashley Bruner recorded her second double-double of the SEC Tournament and seventh of the season with 19 points and 11 rebounds, leading the Gamecocks in both categories.
TEXAS A&M NOTES
• Texas A&M moves to 22-9 on the season and will face top-seeded Tennessee in the SEC Tournament semifinals at 4:00 p.m. Saturday.
• The Aggies become the sixth team to win their first game played at the SEC Tournament and the only expansion team to do so. Arkansas, South Carolina each fell in their first game in 1993, Missouri did the same Thursday.
• Senior forward Kristi Bellock scored 17 points to lead the Aggies for the third time this season.
• This was the 18th game in double figures for Bellock
• Freshman guard Courtney Williams pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds, surpassing her previous high of seven set against Arkansas.
• This was the first time she has led TAMU on the boards this season.
• Junior center Kelsey Bone failed to score in double figures for just the fifth time this season.
• A&M was outrebounded 46-33 and won for just the third time this season when losing the battle on the boards.
• The win reverses a three-game losing streak for the Aggies.