Lady Gamecocks’ loss halts record run, Sessions’ career

uscwhoops-sessionslastThe South Carolina women’s basketball team’s record-setting season and the college career of Myrtle Beach High product Khadijah Sessions came to disappointing finishes Friday night in the Sweet Sixteen.

Despite 31 bench points and double-doubles from junior center Alaina Coates and sophomore forward A’ja Wilson, top-seeded South Carolina fell to fourth-seeded Syracuse, 80-72, in Friday’s NCAA Sweet 16 contest at Denny Sanford PREMIER Center. With the loss, the No. 3/2 Gamecocks ended their historic season with an overall record of 33-2.

South Carolina, which entered the fourth quarter with a 56-50 lead, was outscored, 30-16, over the final 10 minutes of the game. Syracuse grabbed its first lead of the second half after a jumper by guard Cornelia Fondren made it 63-61, but the Gamecocks would battle back, and two baskets down low from Coates put South Carolina back in front, 65-63. The Orange responded with an 8-1 run to give them a five-point advantage before Coates’ fourth field goal of the period cut the deficit to 71-68. A layup by Wilson and two free throws from Coates brought the Gamecocks to within four at 76-72, but South Carolina wouldn’t get any closer the rest of the way.

Coates scored a team-high 18 points to go along with 16 rebounds, as she notched her third-straight double-double. Wilson added 15 points and 10 boards, while senior guard Tina Roy finished with 17 points and five 3-pointers, all of which came in the first half. Senior forward Sarah Imovbioh was efficient in nine minutes of action, boasting totals of eight points and five rebounds, and sophomore guard Bianca Cuevas knocked down two 3-pointers and dished out four assists on the night.

Sessions, who led Myrtle Beach to back to back state titles in her junior and senior seasons with the Lady Seahawks, leaves South Carolina among its all-time leaders in games played (135) and assists (300).

Photo courtesy of USC Athletics

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