No. 19 Texas A&M women top No. 17 S Carolina 61-52By GEORGE HENRY, Associated Press Friday, Mar 8, 2013
DULUTH, Ga. (AP)—Kristi Bellock scored 17 points, Karla Gilbert added 11 in a reserve role and No. 19 Texas A&M beat No. 17 South Carolina 61-52 in the Southeastern Conference tournament quarterfinals Friday.
The Aggies (22-9) snapped a three-game losing streak and will play No. 9 Tennessee in the semifinals Saturday.
Ashley Bruner finished with 19 points and Ieasia Walker added 15 for South Carolina (24-7).
Texas A&M survived a scare early in the second half when All-SEC center Kelsey Bone fell to the floor with a leg injury, but she later returned wearing a right knee brace after missing about 6 minutes.
During Bone’s absence, South Carolina took its first lead 1 minute later when Bruner’s layup made it 30-29.
But with Gilbert helping the front-line offense while Bone was off the floor, Texas A&M followed with an 11-1 run to go up 42-33 on Adrienne Pratcher’s two free throws.
Bone made it 48-40 with a putback at the 8:24 mark and her free throw less than 2 minutes later gave the Aggies an 11-point lead.
The Gamecocks, who failed to make the SEC semifinals for a second straight year, were coming off a dominant win over Alabama, but they missed too many shots inside to gain momentum in the first half.
It was a familiar pattern for a team that ranked next-to-last in SEC scoring this season despite having the nation’s sixth-best scoring defense.
South Carolina’s biggest deficit was 12 on Bellock’s free throw with 6:26 left. The Gamecocks were essentially finished after Courtney Walker’s steal led to a layup by Bellock that pushed the lead to nine with 1:34 remaining.
Pratcher scored eight points, but she was just 3 for 14 from the field. Bone and Walker each added seven points.
Courtney Williams pulled down 11 rebounds for the Aggies, who are playing in their first SEC tournament. Bruner had 11 boards for South Carolina.