COLUMBIA — “Our outside shooting isn’t where it needs to be, but we’re not giving up on the outside shooting,” coach Dawn Staley said.
No. No, they’re not.
South Carolina scorched a season-high 14 3-pointers in an 80-50 romp over Appalachian State on Wednesday, taking the pressure off a struggling post game. Entering the game knowing they may have a hard time fighting off the Mountaineers for rebounds, the No. 22 Gamecocks (5-4) made it simple.
No need for rebounds or second chances if the ball is soaring over Appalachian’s zone defense and bottoming the net. USC passed its previous season-high (11) with 12 3s in just the first half.
And they nabbed 20 more rebounds.
“We just felt we needed to bounce back,” said Bianca Cuevas-Moore, who played her best game of the season with 12 points (four 3s) in 12 minutes. “I think today was a good game for us so we could get back in the normal things we’re used to doing.”
* Staley said after USC hit 10 3s in its season-opener that it was going to have to be a good 3-point shooting team, and would be a good 3-point shooting team. That didn’t show itself in the next seven games, the Gamecocks shooting a hair over 30 percent from deep.
It got corrected Wednesday. Although it’s anybody’s guess if it will stay that way.
“It’s a case of when we take the type of shots that we’re familiar with, when it’s like that, we have good ball movement, it’s not a rushed shot. It’s the shot that’s supposed to be taken from the floor,” Staley said. “This team, I thought we were relaxed and took what was given to us.”
* The second and third lineups got to play a lot with the game quickly out of reach. Freshman Destanni Henderson showed off a quick-release but accurate shot and had two assists with one steal.
Everybody on the roster scored.
* USC had 20 assists on 32 field goals, two games after recording a mere three assists.
* The post players’ numbers were good. Alexis Jennings had 10 points on a perfect night from the field, Mikiah Herbert Harrigan had eight and Lele Grissett had nine.
Yet there were the points left on the floor. So many times when posts got the ball, Appalachian collapsed on them and they tried to dribble out, leading to a turnover. Or they fumbled the entry pass away. Or they just missed a layup.
When whoever it was got the ball low, didn’t think and just acted, it was usually good. It was when they paused that they got in trouble.
* USC had 16 turnovers.
Appalachian was still hanging around in the second period, only trailing 11. Te’a Cooper hit a 3-pointer to start a 10-0 run, and USC finished the half on a 24-9 tear.
The Gamecocks continue a recent series by heading to Duke on Sunday.