ST. THOMAS, USVI Redshirt junior Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./General McLane HS) finished with 18 points, six rebounds and three assists as the FGCU women's basketball team fell to South Carolina, 65-46, Friday afternoon on day two of the Paradise Jam at the University of the Virgin Islands.
"I thought South Carolina played very well," said head coach Karl Smesko. "We just couldn't match their physicality. Our offensive execution and shooting need to make great improvements if we are going to win games.
The Eagles (2-3), who led the nation in three-point field goals per game (10.7) last season, knocked down 7-of-29 shots from long distance on the evening. Senior Joyce Iamstrong and sophomore Anthi Chatzigiakoumi each knocked down 2-of-6 shots from behind the arc on the day.
The Gamecocks opened the game by attacking the basket and using their height to their advantage. Aleighsa Welch and Ashley Bruner combined to score the game's first eight points, while their defense forced four turnovers on FGCU's first five possessions.
The teams traded trifectas just before the Eagles used a 7-2 spurt, capped by Taylor Gradinjan's triple from the left wing that brought the Green and Blue within three at 13-10 midway through the first half.
The Gamecocks responded with a 14-6 run to extend their advantage to 11 points (27-16) with 3:07 remaining in the period.
Three-pointers from Hansen and Chatzigiakoumi (2) helped the Green and Blue narrow the gap to six at halftime with South Carolina taking a 32-26 lead into the locker room.
The Gamecocks opened the second half with a 17-4 run (49-30) over the first 7:55 of the period and never looked back, as they led by at least 16 points the rest of the way and went on to pick up their second win of the Paradise Jam.
As a team, FGCU shot just 36.4 percent (16-of-44) from the field compared to a 44.3 percent (27-of-61) mark for South Carolina. The Gamecocks outscored the Eagles, 38-18, in the paint and won the rebound battle, 46-20.
The Green and Blue will look to pick up a win in the final game of the Reef Division on Saturday, taking on Hampton, which also lost its first two games this weekend, at 1:15 p.m. (ET). The Lady Pirates (4-2) fell to South Carolina (45-34) and DePaul (68-67) so far at the Paradise Jam.