COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) – A’ja Wilson had a career-high 32 points and 12 rebounds, and defending NCAA champion South Carolina withstood a late charge by No. 15 Maryland to escape with a 94-86 victory Monday night.
The fourth-ranked Gamecocks (2-0) let a 26-point lead dwindle to 87-84 before Tyasha Harris made a three-point play with 23 seconds left to clinch it.
South Carolina has only two returning starters from last season’s squad, but one of them is Wilson – and that appears to plenty good enough. The 6-foot-5 senior had 18 points by halftime and finished with her 32nd career double-double.
Wilson went 10 for 19 from the field and made 12 of 18 free throws. Her previous career high was 31 points, against Texas last December.
Harris, South Carolina’s other returning starter, had 20 points and nine assists. Alexis Jennings contributed 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Kaila Charles led Maryland (1-1) with 31 points and Blair Watson had 14.
With only two seniors on a roster depleted by graduation and transfers, Maryland didn’t have the talent, height or depth to hang with the Gamecocks.
After Watson drilled a pair of 3-pointers in a 13-2 run that got the Terrapins to 34-26, Wilson scored 10 points in a 17-10 spurt that made it 51-36 at the half.
The Gamecocks stretched their lead to 71-45 in the third quarter.
Maryland rallied, but couldn’t finish – even though Wilson missed three free throws in the final two minutes.
After a layup by Maryland’s Channise Lewis made it a one-possession game at 87-84, Carolina responded when sophomore guard Tyasha Harris converted a three-point play on the other end to stretch the lead to 90-84 with 23 seconds to play. Harris scored 17 of her 20 points in the second half.
Both teams committed 12 turnovers, but the Gamecocks made the most of Maryland’s miscues on the offensive end. Carolina finished the game with a 16-9 advantage in points off turnovers.
- Senior forward Aja Wilson’s career-high 32 points marked her second 30-point game for the Gamecocks. She tallied 31 points in Carolina’s 76-67 win over Texas on Dec. 1, 2016.
- Gamecock sophomore guard Tyasha Harris notched a career-best 20 points in the win over the Maryland.
- Four Gamecocks have now logged career highs in points over Carolina’s first two games of the season. Sophomore forward Mikiah Herbert-Harrigan (18) and junior guard Doniyah Cliney (15) both recorded career-best scoring outputs in the Gamecocks’ season-opening win over Alabama State last Friday.
- Redshirt junior forward Alexis Jennings registered her first career double-double for Carolina, finishing with 12 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
Carolina continues its non-conference slate later this week when it faces in-state rival Clemson on the road on Thu., Nov. 16. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. ET.