FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.– No. 16/18 South Carolina women’s basketball came from behind to defeat Arkansas 87-79 on the road Sunday night. The Gamecocks (16-5, 8-1 SEC) got career performances from freshmen Destanni Henderson and Victaria Saxton, and Alexis Jennings added a double-double in just 23 minutes as a total of five Gamecocks scored in double figures.
Henderson and Saxton each finished with a team-high 19 points. Saxton shot a perfect 7-of-7 from the field and 5-of-5 from the free throw line, and collected a career-high nine rebounds while swatting three shots in 20 minutes. Henderson’s 19 points came on 7-of-11 shooting while she handed out a pair of assists and pulled down four rebounds. Jennings secured her second-straight double-double, finishing with 10 points and 12 boards, five coming on the offensive end. Tyasha Harris poured in 15 points on 6-of-10 from the field, and dished out five assists. Bianca Cuevas-Moore was the final Gamecock to score in double figures, finishing with 14 points and a perfect 6-of-6 from the charity stripe.
Arkansas jumped on the Gamecocks early, putting together a 9-0 lead just four minutes into the game. Carolina responded in the form of Cuevas-Moore. The redshirt senior scored three straight buckets for the Gamecocks to help cut the score to 15-9 with 2:32 to go in the period. Harris was able to pull the Gamecocks within four at the end of the quarter with a three with just 38 seconds to put the score at 20-16.
The second quarter pace picked up, with both teams in transition during the early portion of the quarter. Saxton scored seven points during the quarter, including an and-one at 6:28 to pull Carolina within two points. All five of Te’a Cooper’s first-half points came during the second quarter, including a bucket with 4:09 to go to pull the Gamecocks to 33-32. Arkansas scored six of the final seven points of the half to hold a 39-33 lead after two quarters of play.
Carolina was able to cut the halftime deficit to just three points with 4:47 to go in the third quarter with a 6-0 run, highlighted by Jennings who forced a turnover that led to a Cuevas-Moore layup and then two buckets of her own during the spirt. Cuevas-Moore and Jennings combined for 12 of the 19 points scored by the Gamecocks in the third, but Arkansas still held a 56-52 lead heading into the final 10 minutes.
With momentum on its side, South Carolina claimed the lead using a 7-2 run to open the fourth quarter. Henderson scored five straight points to start the run, and Saxton followed that up with a big time block that led to a Harris layup to take a 59-58 lead with 7:55 to go. After Arkansas briefly took the lead back, Harris sank her second three of the game to reclaim the lead and spark a 12-2 run that gave the Gamecocks a 71-62 advantage with 5:49 to go.
Arkansas kept it close, pulling within three with 1:53 to go, but a Jennings bucket on the right block stretched it back to five. Doniyah Cliney came up with one of her nine rebounds on the other end, the Gamecocks looked to work the clock. Harris drove the lane late in the shot clock, but could not connect. The junior survived the ensuing scramble for the rebound and secured as second opportunity for the Gamecocks to stretch out their lead, which they did with an and-one from Henderson to make it an eight-point game with just 41 seconds to play. Carolina hit its free throws down the stretch to clinch the road victory.
In the fourth quarter, the Gamecocks tied the second most points scored against an SEC team in a quarter in program history with 35, tying the mark set against Arkansas on Jan. 3, 2016.
Carolina shot 57.1 percent in the fourth quarter, including 3-of-6 from three. Harris, Henderson and Saxton combined for 32 of those points on 11-of-14 (.786) shooting.
- Henderson’s 19 points breaks her previous career high of 13, which she scored in the season opener at Alabama State (Nov. 11).
- SEC play has been kind to Jennings, who scored in double figures for the sixth time this season. Carolina moves to 6-0 this season when Jennings scores in double figures against SEC opponents.
- Carolina attempted 80 field goals against Arkansas, the most field goal attempts in the Dawn Staley era (previous record was 76 against Penn State on Nov. 20, 2011).
- Despite starting a smaller lineup against the Razorbacks, Carolina collected a season-high 54 rebounds, 20 of them coming on the offensive glass (also a team season high), leading to 19 second-chance points.
The Gamecocks (16-5, 8-1 SEC) return home to take on Ole Miss on Thu., Feb. 7, at 7 p.m. The Gamecocks will then take a one-game break from SEC play when they travel to take on #2/2 UConn on Mon., Feb. 11, at 7 p.m.