Nov. 12, 2012
RUSTON - Ashley Bruner scored 17 points to lead five players in double figures as South Carolina muscled its way past Louisiana Tech 82-58 Monday night before 1,525 fans at the Thomas Assembly Center.
The Gamecocks (2-0) shot 49 percent from the field, including 57 percent in the final stanza, and outrebounded the Lady Techsters 43-26 as USC scored 38 points in the paint in the victory.
"We asked our kids to box out and rebound the basketball with every ounce of energy," Weatherspoon said. "We had to put a body on people. We didn't do that very well. We didn't go down and execute offensively. We weren't very sure of ourselves in any facet of the game. It's disappointing. I am disappointed in the way we competed and represented ourselves tonight."
Behind the outside shooting of senior guard Ieasia Walker who hit a trio of three-pointers in the first half, South Carolina built an early double digit lead at 20-10 and eventually pushed it out to 33-14 on a free throw by Aleighsa Welch at the 7:11 mark of the opening 20 minutes of play.
However, the Lady Techsters closed the half on a 13-7 run behind four points from freshman guard Lulu Perry, who finished the night with a career-high 16 points. USC led 40-27 at the break.
Perry opened the second half with a three-pointer to cut the deficit to 40-30 before USC pushed the advantage back out to 53-35 behind the strong inside play of Bruner, Welch and Tiffany Mitchell - who combined to score 44 points in the game.
Perry and Jasmine Bryant helped Tech close the gap to 57-46 with 7:58 to play in the game. However, Tech couldn't slow down USC in the paint as the Gamecocks pulled away for the 24-point victory.
"If you never get down on defense ... you have to meet them early and not allow them to plant themselves and turn and score. These are the things we worked on the last few days. I don't know if it was jitters or if we were afraid to compete. It didn't translate over. We know they are a good team and a well-coached team, but we didn't play like we are capable."
Although the Lady Techsters took much better care of the basketball committing only 12 turnovers as compared to 22 in its season opener against Tulane, LA Tech surrendered 16 offensive rebounds and was outscored 22-4 on second chance points.
"I thought Lulu and Jasmine came to play," Weatherspoon said. "They enjoyed the physicality of the game. We have other kids who can do it but they have to do it and do it on a consistent basis. We can't just do it in practice. We have to go back to the drawing board. We know that there are going to be bumps and bruises this year.
"It's about growing up and learning from all of these mistakes we are making. We don't want to lose confidence. It's a matter of putting it out there night in and night out. We will find a way to get it done."
Tech shot 39 percent (20-51) from the field, 3-of-11 from the three-point line and 15-of-24 from the free throw line.
The Lady Techsters will return to action Friday when they travel to Starkville to face Mississippi State at 7 p.m.