Robyn Benton scored 15 points and Unique Thompson added 12, but Auburn fell on the road to No. 1 South Carolina 79-53 Thursday night at Colonial Life Arena. Thompson, who also grabbed eight rebounds, fell two boards short of tying the Auburn all-time double-double record.
To open the game, South Carolina hit its first five from beyond the arc, and on the night shot better than 52% from 3-point land. The Gamecocks also posted five players in double figures, with two players scoring 13.
"I thought we competed," Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. "We made some decent plays, we turned them over 11 times. In spots we did some really good things. Rebounding was going to be an issue, we've got to get in there and rebound. There's a reason they're number one in the country."
Benton lead all scorers in the contest, adding to her total of now five games in double figures over her last six. Erin Howard added nine points, sinking three 3-pointers.
The Tigers competed with the nation’s top team, shot 50% from 3 and had 34 rebounds to South Carolina’s 39 but just couldn't keep up down the stretch. The difference was the Gamecocks' ability to create points in transition, scoring 20 fast-break points.
From the free-throw line, the Tigers attempted only four shots, making two of them. The Gamecocks quadrupled that number and made 11 of 16.
The Tigers hung tight and were able to answer South Carolina early on, finding themselves only down three early in the second quarter with a score of 22-19. But, they were unable to find that stride again as the Gamecocks hit their next seven extending their lead to 42-23 going into halftime.
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Shooting almost 70% in the third quarter, the Gamecocks secured a 30-point lead in the fourth.
Auburn (8-14, 2-8 SEC) will play its next two games inside Auburn Arena, with the first on Feb. 15 against LSU.
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