South Carolina and Eastern Michigan looked like two teams that would put up a lot of points in Saturday's first round NCAA Tournament game when it first started.
Only the Gamecocks kept up the pace as South Carolina's defense stone-walled Eastern Michigan midway through the first half and the offense kept it going for a big win over EMU 80-48.
South Carolina closed the first half on a 14-2 run and then opened the second half with a 9-3 scoring run that built a substantial lead and never looked back. It was a balanced attack from South Carolina but was especially impressive in the paint scoring baskets at will against Eastern Michigan. Ashley Bruner scored 10 points off the bench and added seven rebounds and Charnee Stephens and Markeisha Grant scoring in double figures for the Gamecocks as well.
USC had 11 steals on the day and created 17 turnovers against Eastern Michigan. They held the edge in rebounding with a 35-31 advantage over EMU and distributed the ball really well with 22 assists in the game.
The big lead enabled Dawn Staley to rest the starters late in the second half as they get to prepare for Monday's second round game against the winner of Purdue/South Dakota State. Purdue is the host for the regionals so the home crowd advantage could come into play but the Gamecocks are experienced with tough atmospheres and play in one of the strongest conferences in women's basketball.
Monday's game will be played at 7:00 p.m.
What a great start for the women's basketball team in this NCAA Tournament. These girls are ready to make some noise.