COLUMBIA, SC-Junior All-American candidate Kelsey Bone scored with 8.8 seconds left, leading No. 14/16 A&M to a 50-48 win over No. 12/15 South Carolina Sunday afternoon before 10,101 fans at Colonial Life Arena.
Bone opened the scoring of the game with the first two points and finished the scoring with the final two points to secure the Aggie victory, along the way Bone collected her 11th double-double on the season with 13 points and 15 rebounds, matching her career high in rebounds.
Texas A&M (19-5, 9-1 SEC) won its seventh straight game to keep pace with conference leading Tennessee (19-5, 10-1). The seven game win-streak for the Aggies is the current best for an SEC team, the loss snapped South Carolina's six game winning-streak. With the win the Aggies have matched best conference start (9-1) in the Blair era, set by the 2011 National Championship team.
A&M and South Carolina (20-4, 8-3) battled back and forth throughout the opening frame with six lead changes and five ties before the first half was over. The Aggies ended the first 20 minutes of action on a 16-3 run to take a 27-21 advantage into the locker room.
The Gamecocks clawed back into the game, taking their first lead of the second half with 12:27 to play and pushing the lead out to five with just over five minutes to play. Once again the Aggies ended the half in impressive fashion outscoring South Carolina over the final five minutes 8-2 to escape with the two point victory.
Defense was point of emphasis for both teams s A&M had a season high nine blocks on the day, limiting the home team to 28.1% shooting in the game, the lowest percentage for South Caroline this season and the fourth lowest by an A&M opponent this season. Likewise South Carolina held A&M to 35% shooting, the fourth lowest by A&M in a game this year. The maroon and white did not allow a South Carolina field goal in the final 5:15 of the game.
The contest was back-and-forth for most of the game with 12 lead changes and nine ties.
South Carolina, who entered the game as the SEC leader in rebounding margin, was outrebounded for just the fifth time this season, as the maroon and white pulled down 50 rebounds to South Carolina's 41. The 50 A&M rebounds marked the second highest number for the Aggies on the year. The visitor's pulled down 17 offensive rebounds, translating to 10 second chance points.
Joining Bone in double-figures were Senior Adrienne Pratcher and freshman Courtney Walker with 10 apiece. Walker nearly collected her first career double-double with seven boards, five of which came on the offensive end, a season high. Junior Karla Gilbert had an impressive night off the bench scoring seven points, collecting four rebounds and matching her season-high with three blocks.
South Carolina was paced by Ieasia Walker's game-high 16 points, Tiffany Mitchell added 10 of her own. Ashley Bruner led the Gamecocks with nine rebounds to go along with her nine points.
The Aggies return to the court Thursday night when the Aggies host Florida at 8:00 p.m. Thursday's game will be elementary school night, parents can go to http://www.12thmanfoundation.com/ticket-center/promo/elementary.aspx to register their children for free tickets to the game. A frisbee catching dog act will be the half-time entertainment on Thursday. The game will be televised by College Sports South.