No. 18 South Carolina women upset No. 5 Kentucky
"The turnovers were critical. But a lot of them could have been prevented if we had tried to match South Carolina's toughness tonight," Mitchell said.
South Carolina scored five more points on the fast break against a Kentucky team that prides itself on getting easy baskets after turning up the pressure.
The Gamecocks shot just 37.7 percent (20 of 53), but that is fine with coach Dawn Staley, especially when the game stays in the 50s.
"It's exhausting to play as hard as we play defensively. It takes the wind out of you. But the crowd put the life back into us and we came up with some big plays," Staley said.
Staley has done a lot in her five seasons at South Carolina, reviving the program and getting the Gamecocks to their first NCAA tournament in nine years last season. But she hadn't knocked off a top five team in 12 tries until Thursday night.
"We kept coming up short against opponents like a Kentucky, like the Stanfords and Tennessees. I'm happy to see their hard work, what they put into it, paid off," Staley said.
Ieasia Walker had 16 points and eight rebounds, while Aleighsa Welch scored 11 points and had seven rebounds and Elem Ibiam added eight points and eight rebounds for South Carolina.
Jennifer O'Neil led Kentucky with 17 points, while DeNesha Stallworth added 12 points and 10 rebounds and A'dia Mathies also has 12 points.
The Gamecocks even overcame their biggest weakness. South Carolina is next-to-last in Division I in free throws, shooting just 54 percent. But they hit 10 of their last 16 foul shots, even though they shot just 48 percent from the foul line in the game (13 of 27).
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