Ears ringing, Wilson, Gamecocks advance to SEC final

Follow along Saturday evening as Jennifer Smith of the Lexington Herald-Leader and Kentucky.com provides live updates from courtside as the University of Kentucky women's basketball team takes on the the University of SC in the semifinal round of the Southeastern Conference women's basketball tournament at Greenville, S.C. "It is a great feeling to see everybody head up here to Greenville and just support us".

The teams exchanged trips to the free throw line, allowing Kentucky to keep it close.

NOTE: Coates will not play Sunday, although she felt fine after the game.

The twin towers who have come to define SC women's basketball played together for just one minute and 37 seconds Saturday.

"When you play against stiff competition like we have in our league, you can make history", Staley said. "They've done a lot for us, so proud of those seniors". Whether we were up, whether we were down, whether Kentucky was making a run, it really energized us. "It's an incredible feeling".

SC coach Dawn Staley had no worries about how her team would perform without all-Southeastern Conference forward Alaina Coates in the lineup, winning three of the past four games with the senior mostly on the sidelines. They're the No. 1 seed for a reason.

With the Gamecocks clinging to a 70-67 lead with 7:00 to play, Cuevas-Moore delivered a pair of momentum-turning plays. "This is a place in which, if you have the talent to get (to the final) again, if you've got the team that can win it, why not?"

USC is far from done making history with the way Staley's turned around a program that eight years ago was 2-12 in league play and knocked out of the SEC tourney in the first round. Eventually, they flexed their muscle as the standard of this conference against a Kentucky team that's morphed into an intense rival.

With Coates out, defenses often collapse on Wilson just as Kentucky tried to do in the second half Saturday.

SC came back and outscored the Bulldogs again in the third quarter.

Freshman Mikiah Herbert Harrigan scored 17 points and had no turnovers. "That's when we started to take over the game". This comes after Akhator scored 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the quarterfinal game against Alabama.

USC needed all of that. Alyssa Rice delivered an easy basket after a broken play left both teams scrambling just outside the lane to make it 76-73 with 3:53 on the clock. "She will be back for the NCAA tournament". She got in for four minutes this time, but left the court in third quarter when she split two defenders, got fouled attempting a layup and crumpled to the ground in pain.

  • Larry Hoffman