PHILADELPHIA – Dawn Staley loved going back and will always feel indebted to her hometown, and hometown school Temple for giving her her start in coaching.
But her graciousness has a limit, and it stopped when the ball was tipped.
Fourth-ranked South Carolina made the most of its “business trip” to Philly by wiping out Temple 87-60 on Thursday, improving the Gamecocks to 11-1 and sending them into a 10-day break before beginning conference play. Staley passed Nancy Wilson to become USC’s all-time winningest coach with her 232nd victory while forward A’ja Wilson set two more of what should become many records during her senior season.
Wilson stroked her 479th career free throw, passing Shannon Johnson for first on the career chart; again passed Johnson for career free throws attempted; and scored 28 points as she continues to chase No. 1 career scorer Sheila Foster. Her 10 first-quarter points staked the Gamecocks to a 26-9 lead and USC never let up.
Wilson also had 12 rebounds and finished two blocks short of a triple-double. Bianca Jackson doubled her previous career-high with 16 points and Ty Harris had a double-double with 13 points and 11 assists. Doniyah Cliney (11) and Alexis Jennings (10) also scored in double figures.
USC had 22 assists on 36 field goals while only committing seven turnovers.
The Gamecocks again played with nine as Lindsey Spann continues to recover from a knee injury. A waiver has been submitted seeking clearance for Te’a Cooper with a hopeful resolution before the next game.
The Gamecocks host No. 19 Texas A&M on Dec. 31 to begin SEC play. The Aggies lost to Oregon Thursday.