South Carolina Basketball: 3 thumbs up, 3 thumbs down from Missouri win

South Carolina basketball knocked off Missouri on the road on Thursday night, but it was a far from a perfect effort for Dawn Staley's team.
South Carolina basketball coach Dawn Staley
South Carolina basketball coach Dawn Staley / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina Basketball vs. Missouri Tigers
Thumbs Up 1: Bree Hall

Not much needs to be said about Breezy Hall's game on Thursday. The junior set a new career-high and led the Gamecocks with 21 points on just 10 shots from the floor. A perfect 4-4 continued her elite shooting run this season (she only trails her teammate Te-Hina Paopao). #23 also added two blocks and 4 rebounds to help out the cause.

Hall is a completely different player from her first two years in Columbia, and the Gamecocks have needed her to be this type of player in the 2023-2024 season. She also has begun utilizing a pump fake and dribble-drive move that has become a threat since she has become such a good shooter.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Missouri Tigers
Thumbs Up 2: Te-Hina Paopao

Bree Hall stole the show on Thursday, but Te-Hina Paopao continued to do Te-Hina Paopao things. She hit multiple threes again (something she has done in every game this season), going 3-4 from distance, and she did a little stat sheet-stuffing with 6 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal, and a block.

Paopao handled the ball for the Gamecocks more than anyone not named Raven Johnson, yet she had 0 turnovers against Missouri in a game that was pretty physical. A senior leader who has a chance at making the All-SEC team, Paopao was a big-time player in a weird game.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Missouri Tigers
Thumbs Up 3: Overcoming the Weirdness

South Carolina basketball has been a physical program under Dawn Staley. Sometimes, the Gamecocks get whistled for phantom fouls based on reputation rather than what actually is happening on the court.

That's what was happening on Thursday as flopping Missouri Tigers (especially Hayley Frank) sold calls when contact was minimal, non-existent, or initiated by players in white and gold. Some solid outside shooting success from Missouri added to the strangeness of the game (they were 10-20 from outside early in the 4th quarter), but the Gamecocks overcame the weirdness and a less-than-stellar performance on the road to win big. That's what great teams do.

Carolina also played four bench players more minutes than starter Chloe Kitts (another weird quirk from the game), but Ashlyn Watkins and Sania Feagin were really good in their opportunities.