Welch lifts No. 5 South Carolina women to first win at LSU since 1994
BATON ROUGE, La. - South Carolina hadn't won at LSU in more than 20 years. The fifth-ranked Gamecocks ended that streak on Sunday with relative ease.
Aleighsa Welch and Tiffany Mitchell each scored 19 points to help South Carolina win, 73-57, over the 19th-ranked Lady Tigers. That was the Gamecocks' first win in Baton Rouge since 1994.
It's only the second time in program history South Carolina (23-2, 11-1 SEC) can claim a victory after walking out of the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, but Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley is trying keep an every-game-counts attitude.
"At this point, all wins in this league are good," Staley said. "We haven't been very successful (at LSU). A lot of that has to do with the atmosphere, a lot has to do with the teams they put on the floor. It was the same today, but I think for longer stretches we played a little more disciplined."
Welch, a former Goose Creek High School star, allowed herself a little more of a celebratory tone after the game, saying that a road win against a top-20 opponent is a huge confidence booster.
"Getting wins on the road, especially this season, is imperative for us," Welch said. "To be able to come down here and handle our business and keep it up for two halves is a huge confidence builder for us."
Sunday marked the fifth conference road win for USC this season, matching the school record set last season.
The Gamecocks shot 21-28 from the stripe while the Lady Tigers made it to the line just four times during the game - a fact that didn't go unnoticed by LSU senior guard Jeanne Kenney.
"The concern is we got to the line four times, that's a concern," Kenney said. "The fact that we shot only four free throws the entire game is a problem. Something has got to change there."
LSU (18-7, 7-5) managed to keep the game close during the majority of the first half when both teams battled through nine lead changes before the break. But a 13-2 run just prior to halftime gave the Gamecocks a lead they would hold until the final buzzer.
Staley tried to give credit to LSU saying her team was just fortunate to be able to hold onto a lead after a few big runs, especially when the Lady Tigers went on a hot streak of their own in the second half.
They moved within two points of South Carolina with just over 11 minutes to play, but never managed to overtake the Gamecocks who used a 13-4 burst to secure the win.
Kenney, who led the Tigers with 15 points, didn't put things quite as nicely as Staley after the game, saying Sunday is a low for LSU.
"The only place we can go is up," Kenney said. "You can't get much lower than we are at this point for us, for LSU. It is a matter of asking ourselves when is it enough because I am tired of losing."
LSU senior forward Theresa Plaisance added 14 points for the Lady Tigers.
"The win we had at Tennessee looks a lot smaller now with all these losses after it," Plaisance said. "One win isn't going to make or break a season, but the losses have a harder effect on the state of the team."