South Carolina basketball coach Dawn Staley has never apologized for the way that she schedules. The Gamecocks routinely play an extremely difficult out-of-conference schedule, playing teams like UConn, Maryland, and the North Carolina ACC schools in addition to the difficult SEC schedule.
She also likes to mix in several games each season against HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) to help support those programs. This year, she quickly scheduled a road game against Bowling Green to help out former assistant Fred Chmiel who is the new coach of the Falcons.
The Gamecocks didn't hold back on the court, however.
Raven Johnson returned to the starting lineup after missing the last game due to soreness, and the Carolina offense came out firing. In the first 70 seconds of the game, USC had 7 points on 3-3 shooting. The fireworks continued as the score stood 15-7 after a timeout at the 7:24 mark. Bree Hall and Te-Hina Paopao had 10 points and were 3-3 from behind the arc.
A Raven Johnson 3 from the wing pushed her team's perfect outside shooting to 4-4, the overall shooting to 8-8, and the Gamecock lead to 21-7. Sakima Walker got early minutes for the third straight game and missed the first shot for USC...but she was fouled, wiping the miss off the box score. She canned the two free throws.
A Bree Hall missed corner 3 (after she made her third of the game) was the Gamecocks' official first miss, and the score stood 28-13 as the USC defense wasn't quite as dominant as its offense. Bowling Green kept getting some good looks on the perimeter and took 6 free throws in the period as the 1st quarter finished with the visiting Gamecocks leading just 28-18.
The 2nd quarter mirrored the 2nd quarter from the Presbyterian contest. The Gamecocks came out with suffocating defense, and several fast break buckets came from USC steals.
Te-Hina Paopao picked up her 5th assist, and Bree Hall scored her 12th, 13th, and 14th points of the game when she made her 4th 3-pointer of the night on her 5th attempt.
The Gamecocks went three minutes without a point and allowed a couple makes from BGSU as the Falcons brought the score to 46-26. Morgan Sharps caught fire in the 2nd quarter, scoring 7 of her team's first 11 points of the period.
South Carolina basketball scored just 6 points in the final 4:16 of the half, and they took a 52-31 lead into the intermission.
After the halftime break, Bowling Green continued to get solid looks from outside. Lexi Fleming, Olivia Hill, and Amy Velasco all knocked down outside shots in the first 3 1/2 minutes of the half. Thankfully for South Carolina basketball fans, the Gamecock forwards Kamilla Cardoso and Chloe Kitts got hot and scored 13 points to keep USC ahead.
A few possessions later, Morgan Sharps joined the Falcons' 3-point party with a deep ball of her own, and the score stood 65-43. After buckets from MiLaysia Fulwiley and Bree Hall, Sharps hit another 3-ball as all 15 of BGSU's points in the 3rd quarter had come from the perimeter.
Ashlyn Watkins kept up the 3rd quarter theme of good frontcourt play as she finished the 3rd quarter with 4 rebounds and 4 points in the final 2 1/2 minutes. The quarter ended with the Gamecocks leading 78-47.
The Gamecocks' 4th quarter D held Chmiel's squad scoreless for over three minutes and then cruised to a very comfortable win. The Falcons scored a few buckets late against the Gamecocks' reserves to make things a little closer than they really were, and the final score stood 93-62 when the final buzzer sounded.