No. 16 Vandy falls 61-57 to No. 10 South Carolina

TERESA M. WALKER AP Sports Writer Published:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The Vanderbilt Commodores couldn't find open 3-pointers against No. 10 South Carolina, and that helped cost them the chance at yet another upset of a Top 25 opponent in the Southeastern Conference.

Christina Foggie hit the only 3 Vanderbilt made Sunday as the SEC's best-shooting team from beyond the arc lost 61-57 to South Carolina. The 16th-ranked Commodores attempted only five 3-pointers -- both season-lows.

"I have to credit South Carolina in taking the 3-point shots away from us," Vanderbilt coach Melanie Balcomb said. "That's what they are good at in this conference and that's what they did."

Vanderbilt (16-4, 5-2) saw its four-game winning streak end as the Commodores missed out on adding South Carolina to their upsets of Georgia, Tennessee and LSU. The Commodores came in shooting 42.6 percent beyond the arc and averaging 6.2 made 3s per game.

"If they are able to get off more 3-point shots or makes, they win this basketball game," South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said. "So kudos to our kids for buying into our game plan and executing it to a T."

Tiffany Mitchell scored on a driving layup with 50.9 seconds left putting South Carolina ahead to stay. With the score tied at 55, Mitchell beat the shot clock and then stole the ball and finished off the fast break with another layup with 34.3 seconds to seal the win. Mitchell finished with 14 points. Welch and Elem Ibiam each added 10.

The Gamecocks (18-2, 6-1 SEC) now are off to their best start yet in the SEC. They won their second straight overall and swept Vanderbilt in keeping Staley undefeated in her third trip to Memorial Gym.

Christina Foggie finished with 23 points for Vanderbilt.

South Carolina outshot the SEC's best shooting team, holding Vanderbilt to 37.3 percent (22 of 59) and a season-low in points. The Gamecocks hit 54 percent (27 of 50) to overcome a season-high 24 turnovers. The Gamecocks did it despite not hitting a 3-pointer, instead using their height advantage in outscoring Vandy 46-32 in the paint and blocking eight shots.

They also defended Vanderbilt senior guard Jasmine Lister tightly, and the SEC's third-leading scorer averaging 16.8 points per game managed only four and had just three assists.

Vanderbilt took its only lead when Foggie hit the game's lone 3 with 15:47 left at 38-37. Ibiam answered with a bucket putting South Carolina ahead to stay on the next possession. Vanderbilt managed to tie it twice in the final minutes, the last at 55 on a pair of free throws by Marqu'es Webb with 1:20 left.

That set up Mitchell's go-ahead bucket.

"We just have to dig down and play smarter on that last possession," Foggie said. "We left an open layup."

The Commodores, the SEC's best shooting team overall at 48.7 also struggled to hit the basket in the first half with too many shots coming up short. Foggie, the SEC's leading scorer, didn't connect on her first bucket until midway through the first half.

South Carolina led throughout the first half and was up 31-27 at halftime. The Gamecocks took their biggest lead at 23-15 on a three-point play by Dozier with 6:56 left. Vanderbilt used a 10-2 run to tie it up for the third time in the half at 25 only to see South Carolina score six straight, including four free throws by Ibiam.