Gamecocks squeeze Orange out of tourney

Columbia, SC ( - Aleighsa Welch registered a double-double with 13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds as the South Carolina Lady Gamecocks whipped up on the Syracuse Orange, 97-68, in the second round of the Greensboro Regional of the NCAA Tournament at Colonial Life Arena.

Top-seeded South Carolina (32-2) had a total of six players score in double figures in the crushing win, as Alaina Coates and Tiffany Mitchell both dropped in 14 points, the latter handing out seven assists, followed by A'ja Wilson with 13 points and both Asia Dozier and Bianca Cuevas with 12 apiece.

South Carolina will now face off against the winner of the North Carolina/Ohio State meeting in the next round.

The Orange (22-10) was paced by Alexis Peterson who scored a game-high 23 points, but shot only 8-of-23 from the floor and turned the ball over six times. Also scoring in double digits for eighth-seeded Syracuse were Cornelia Fondren and Brianna Butler with 16 and 12 points, respectively.

Peterson scored the first points of the night for the Orange on a 3-pointer just seconds into the meeting, but the squad ended up shooting only 3-of-14 on the perimeter and 25.7 percent from the floor overall in the frame, en route to a 53-25 deficit at the break.

After hitting on 62.1 percent from the field through the first 20 minutes of action, USC cooled to only 48.3 percent in the second half, but still there was little chance the favorites would surrender the lead.

USC converted 55.2 percent from the floor overall and outscored Syracuse in the paint, 42-18.