DULUTH, Ga. – Alaina Coates scored 13 points, Elem Ibiam added 12 points and South Carolina took an easy 67-48 victory over Georgia in the third round of the Southeastern Conference tournament on Friday.
The top-seeded Gamecocks (27-3) advanced to the tournament semifinals for the second time in three years, yet just the second time in school history.
SEC player of the year Tiffany Mitchell finished with 11 points for South Carolina, which led the entire game.
South Carolina filled Georgia's passing lanes, ran through screens to pressure the perimeter and essentially never gave the ninth-seeded Lady Bulldogs (20-11) much of a chance.
Erika Ford, with 10 points, was the only Georgia player in double figures. Krista Donald pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds
Tina Roy's putback gave the Gamecocks their first double-digit lead midway through the first half. They were up by 17 at halftime and 25 after Asia Dozier's layup with 16:43 remaining.
Georgia missed 33 of its first 42 shots and was nearly 40 percentage points worse from the field than the Gamecocks when Tiara Griffin's 3-point attempt fell short at the 13:08 mark.
Ibiam's layup at the 10:04 mark gave South Carolina its biggest lead at 27. Coates, the SEC freshman of the year, combined with Aleighsa Welch for 17 rebounds. Welch finished with a nine boards.
South Carolina's thorough performance looked like a team trying to impress the NCAA tournament selection committee and earn a No. 1 seed. The Gamecocks, who won their first SEC regular season title last week with a victory over Georgia in Columbia, S.C., improved to 77-21 over the last three seasons.
The Lady Bulldogs, who have been strong SEC contender for the majority of coach Andy Landers' 35 seasons, fell to 33-9 against South Carolina.