South Carolina Basketball: 3 thumbs up, 3 thumbs down from road win over Auburn

Dawn Staley's South Carolina basketball squad remained undefeated with a big road win over the Auburn Tigers.

South Carolina basketball coach Dawn Staley
South Carolina basketball coach Dawn Staley / Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina Basketball vs. Auburn Tigers
Thumbs Up 1: Ashlyn Watkins

Filling in for a sick Chloe Kitts in the starting lineup, Ashlyn Watkins made a huge impact in her first start of the season. The Columbia native was dominant, scoring 14 points and pulling down an astonishing 15 rebounds. She also lived up to her "Ashlyn Swatkins" nickname with 5 blocks. To top it off, she stole the basketball three times and went 5-6 from the field and 4-5 from the free throw line.

It is hard to determine if Watkins or Kitts is a better player at the 4-spot for the Gamecocks, but having two big-time talents at the position is a wonderful luxury for Dawn Staley's team. Watkins' ability to play center at times (something she did against Auburn, too) makes her the perfect piece for this team as she can play next to Kamilla Cardoso or next to truer power forwards like Kitts or Sania Feagin.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Auburn Tigers
Thumbs Up 2: Rebounding

In a game with a lot of missed shots, there were a lot of rebounds to be had. The Gamecocks, led by Ashlyn Watkins, gobbled up 48 caroms, including 18 on the offensive end of the floor. Watkins' 15 was the standout effort on the glass, but Kamilla Cardoso was good at creating 2nd chance opportunities with 4 offensive rebounds, and Sakima Walker grabbed 4 boards (3 on offense) in just 10 minutes.

The Gamecocks have three elite rebounders on the team (Cardoso, Watkins, and Chloe Kitts), but even with Kitts out, USC owned the glass in an offensively-challenged game in which that battle was of utmost importance.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Auburn Tigers
Thumbs Up 3: Stock Up on Defense

South Carolina basketball had four different players record multiple "stocks" (steals + blocks) against Auburn. Ashlyn Watkins (5 blocks, 3 steals) led the way, but Kamilla Cardoso (2 blocks), Raven Johnson (2 steals), and MiLaysia Fulwiley (1 block, 2 steals) impacted the game on defense, as well.

Fulwiley was lauded for her efforts on defense by Coach Staley after the game. She showed in this game the type of defensive tenacity, athleticism, and sneaky length that could allow her to develop into one of the best perimeter defenders the South Carolina basketball program has ever had.