FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Tiffany Mitchell had 15 points, five steals and three blocks as No. 2 South Carolina shot 52.1 percent while earning a 73-56 win over Arkansas on Thursday night.
The Gamecocks (25-1, 13-0 Southeastern Conference) have won three straight following a loss at No. 1 Connecticut, and reached 25 wins for the fourth straight season under coach Dawn Staley. The school had previously won at least 25 games a total of three times in 37 seasons.
Alaina Coates and A’ja Wilson added 14 points each for South Carolina, which was 25 of 48 from the field. The Gamecocks, the top-shooting team in the SEC, were also 7 for 17 on 3-point attempts — including 3 of 4 by Asia Dozier.
Jessica Jackson had 20 points to lead the Razorbacks (15-10, 5-8), who had won four of their previous five games.
After starting SEC play 1-6 under first-year coach Jimmy Dykes, Arkansas entered Thursday’s game confident after its recent wins — including a 54-48 victory over then-No. 24 Georgia.
Against the formidable frontcourt of South Carolina, however, the Razorbacks fell behind by as many as 10 points in the first half and were unable to close within single digits in the second.
Led by the 6-foot-5 Wilson, along with 6-4 centers Coates and Elem Ibiam, the Gamecocks outrebounded Arkansas 34-24 and never trailed in their third straight comfortable win since the 87-62 loss at UConn on Feb. 9.
Khadijah Sessions added 11 points, seven assists and five rebounds for South Carolina. Wilson was 7 of 10 from the field, while Coates shot 5 for 8 and grabbed 11 rebounds.
With a matchup against the SEC’s other undefeated team, No. 6 Tennessee, looming next week, South Carolina led 16-6 early after a jumper by Wilson.
Arkansas answered with a 9-0 run to cut the Gamecocks lead to 16-15, with Calli Berna scoring five points during the run. The senior had 10 points and five assists in the first half on 4-of-4 shooting, and she finished by matching her season high of 13 points while adding seven assists and five rebounds.
Jackson had 14 of her points in the second half, finishing 8-of-19 shooting and with nine rebounds.
South Carolina: Mitchell was one of three players to finish with three blocks for the Gamecocks, who finished with a season-high 11. Wilson and Ibiam also had three blocks each.
Arkansas: Berna entered the game averaging 5.5 points per game, but she was 5 of 7 from the field — including 3 of 3 on 3-pointers. The senior also had 13 points earlier this season against South Dakota State.
South Carolina: Hosts No. 6 Tennessee on Monday.
Arkansas: Hosts LSU on Sunday.
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