South Carolina's Dawn Staley was poised to bring the Lady Gamecocks places they have never been before.
This year's SEC Tournament saw the Gamecocks advance to the Semifinals for the first time ever since joining the SEC but they ran into a tough Tennessee team and fell short in their upset bid to make the SEC Tournament Finals.
Tennessee mounted a strong second half to open up a wide lead on the Gamecocks and finished off Dawn Staley and her crew by a score of 74-58. This was USC's third game in three days so fatigue had to play a factor in the late game swoon by the Lady Gamecocks but it's also tough to beat Tennessee any time of the year.
South Carolina and Tennessee battled for much of the first half in a game that saw neither team get ahead by more than a few points at a time. Both teams played tough defense in the first half that finished with a score of 28-22 with Tennessee leading. South Carolina tried to keep pace with the three-pointer in the second half but they just couldn't hang tough as Tennessee began to open things up midway through the second half.
The Lady Gamecocks were led by Ieasia Walker and Markeisha Grant, who scored 13 points a piece. Two other Gamecocks scored in double figures as well.
This game should be a learning experience for the younger Gamecocks on this team but shouldn't be looked upon as a disappointment. This is a much better basketball team than in recent years and the two wins in the SEC Tournament definitely locked up an NCAA Tournament bid for the Gamecocks. This team will play in the postseason in a few weeks.
NCAA Tournament bids will be announced on March 12th.