by UofSC Athletic Communications
COLUMBIA, S.C. - No. 11/14 South Carolina women's basketball used a late fourth-quarter run in the fourth quarter to take down Georgia 65-57 at Colonial Life Arena on Thursday night. The Gamecocks (18-6, 10-1 SEC) got 41 points from the bench to defeat the Lady Bulldogs for the 10th-straight time dating back to 2014.
Freshman guard Destanni Henderson led Carolina on the offensive end of the court, scoring 14 points on 4-of-9 shooting off the bench and adding four assists in 22 minutes. Senior guard Doniyah Clineywas the spark on the defensive end but also contributed 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting to go along with her big steal late in the fourth quarter to seal the victory. Senior forward Alexis Jennings was the third Gamecock in double figures, scoring 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting while swatting three shots.
The Lady Bulldogs got off to a hot start, jumping out to a 7-2 lead on the Gamecocks. The Carolina bench provided a needed spark with Cliney starting a 9-0 run that eventually extended to a 15-2 surge to give the Gamecocks a 17-9 lead with 3:22 remaining in the quarter. During the run, Henderson scored eight points, including an impressive crossover and finish in the paint. With the big run, Carolina ended the first quarter on top 19-14.
The second quarter had a noticeably slower pace from both teams. Cooper opened the scoring for Carolina with a triple with four different Gamecocks scoring during the quarter. The defense continued to pressure the Lady Bulldogs, holding the visitors to just 36.0 percent shooting in the first half on 9-of-25 shooting. The Gamecocks took a 29-25 into the locker room at halftime.
After an opening bucket from Georgia in the third, Carolina scored seven-straight points to take a nine-point lead with 8:15 to go in the quarter. Henderson's and-one highlighted the sequence that spanned just 58 seconds. Georgia made a run toward the end of the period, using an 8-2 spurt to cut the Gamecocks' lead to just two with 3:16 to go. The Gamecocks quickly took back control with a 7-2 run, including an and-one from Cliney that helped Carolina take a 53-46 lead into the fourth.
Georgia tied the game at 53 at the start of the fourth quarter by scoring the first seven points, but never took the lead away from the Gamecocks. The final 6:49 of the game, Carolina held Georgia to just four points and scored 12 of its own, including eight from the charity stripe. Cliney helped the Gamecocks take the lead once more at 5:50, and kept the Lady Bulldogs at bay the rest of the way. Cliney also made an impact play on the defensive end with 26.8 seconds left to seal the victory for the Gamecocks, 65-57.
GAMECHANGER In the fourth quarter with the game tied with 6:49 to go, Carolina's defense ramped up allowing just four points on 2-of-11 shooting.
QUOTABLE DAWN STALEY On Doniyah Cliney's performance... "Doniyah brought experience. She picked and chose some spots where she was aggressive offensively. She rebounded the basketball for us and she was solid defensively. That's all we want. We don't want anybody just having to think they have to play spectacular basketball. We have to have players that make basketball plays. Shoot when you're open. Pass when you're not. Extra possessions - rebound the basketball. It's very simple."
KEY STAT Carolina shot 80.8 percent from the free throw line, making (20) and attempting (26) SEC-highs from the charity stripe.
NOTABLESCliney's 12 points is her SEC-high this season and the first time she has scored in double figures since the Temple game on Dec. 21, 2018. Carolina is 3-0 this season when Cliney scores in double figures.With a 29-25 lead at halftime, Carolina now owns a 14-0 record this season when leading at the half.By holding Georgia to 57 points, the Gamecocks are now 15-0 overall, and 8-0 in SEC play, when limiting their opponents to 69 or fewer points.Carolina's bench scored 41 points for the third time in SEC and the fourth time this season. The Gamecocks are 4-0 this season when the bench scores over 40 points.
UP NEXT The Gamecocks (18-6, 10-1 SEC) will head on the road to take on Florida. That game is set for a 2 p.m. tip on Feb. 17, on SEC Network Plus. Carolina returns to Colonial Life Arena on Feb. 21, when they take on #19/17 Kentucky at 7 p.m. on SEC Network.