South Carolina’s top-ranked women’s basketball team saw their 29-game winning streak end Thursday at their home in Columbia, South Carolina, with Gamecocks defeated 54-46 by 8th NC State.
It was the first defeat for the Gamecocks since November 28, 2019, when they fell to Indiana 71-57 in the Virgin Islands. South Carolina did not lose again last season and finished in first place; Gamecocks would have been the number 1 seed had there been an NCAA tournament.
The Gamecocks started this season in first place and started 3-0. But, offensively, they fought against NC State, shooting 27% of the field (20 of 74). This was a game in which the Gamecocks definitely seemed to miss the owner Tyasha Harris, who ended her career last season and went to the WNBA.
“We just had no flow,” said South Carolina coach Dawn Staley. “In 21 years, I never felt what I felt during the game. Unbelievable, indomitable, just not listening, just a selfish game. It will open our eyes to see how we need to be and how we should play each time we step. We need leadership. someone who comes up and says: ‘We need to organize, we need to take better pictures’.
“We can’t just rely on being talented. That talent has to work as a cohesive unit, and we didn’t do that tonight. And it’s disheartening. We have to pull them back and figure out how to recover.”
Zia Cooke and Laeticia Amihere had 11 points each to lead Gamecocks. It was the first time that South Carolina had less than 50 points in a game since February 10, 2013, when they lost 50-48 at home to Texas A&M.
“We usually talk about trying to maintain a team with 60 points,” said NC State coach Wes Moore. “Our defense has not been a good one. Tonight, we advanced in a great game and did a great job, for the most part, keeping them in front of us, while focusing on trying to keep the ball out of paint. because I was the worst critic of our defense so far this year. “
Entering the game, NC State was 2-17 against teams ranked first in the polling era of The Associated Press, which for women began in the 1976-77 season. The last time Wolfpack beat a No. 1 team, the coach was still Kay Yow, who died in 2009. That was in the semifinals of the 2007 ACC tournament, when Wolfpack defeated Duke 70-65, Blue’s first defeat. Devils that season.
Moore is in his eighth season at NC State, which won the ACC tournament title last season and started this season 3-0. Kayla Jones had 16 points and 12 rebounds to lead Wolfpack, who was without title holder Jada Boyd (knee injury). Wolfpack also did not shoot well, with 29.4%, but his defense paid off.
“I’m very excited right now,” said Jones. “Usually, I stay in the backseat and just do the little things to open up my teammates. But I knew I had to be aggressive so that we could get out and get that win.”