A'Ja Wilson's putback helps South Carolina edge Duke

DURHAM, N.C. -- With the game on the line, No. 1 South Carolina put the ball in the hands of its preseason All-American.

It wound up going to the Gamecocks' freshman star -- and that turned out just fine, too.

A'ja Wilson's putback of Tiffany Mitchell's miss with 1.8 seconds remaining lifted South Carolina past No. 9 Duke 51-50 on Sunday.

"I didn't hesitate ... We wanted the ball in (Mitchell's) hands," coach Dawn Staley said. "She definitely made a play for us. ... She sucked the defense in to give A'ja and all of our other players (a chance) to get the rebound and the putback."

Asia Dozier scored 11 points and Wilson finished with 10 for the Gamecocks (8-0), who trailed by four with less than 20 seconds left before rallying for their first road win over a top-10 team in nearly three years.

Rebecca Greenwell had 12 points and foul-plagued All-American Elizabeth Williams had all five of hers in the final 4½ minutes. Duke (5-3) is on its first three-game losing streak since 2007-08.

Greenwell's two free throws with 41.9 seconds left put the Blue Devils up 50-46.

Then came South Carolina's comeback: Mitchell, a preseason All-American, hit a 3 with 17.9 seconds left. Khadijah Sessions and Olivia Gaines teamed to steal the ball from Greenwell in the backcourt.

The Gamecocks called timeout with 10.9 seconds left and worked it to Mitchell, who drove the lane but missed with about 4 seconds left. The rebound went to Wilson, who scored in traffic.

"The thing we emphasize the most is rebounding," Wilson said. "So I know whatever shot went up, I have to go in and (get) the rebound."

Ka'lia Johnson's desperation heave at the buzzer didn't come close for Duke.

Williams missed Duke's past two games -- both road losses to nationally ranked teams -- with a foot injury. She spent the entire day in foul trouble, picking up her fourth with 13:25 remaining.

She checked back in with 5:17 left and hit a layup to restore the Blue Devils' one-point lead, added a hook shot in traffic and drew a risky charge on Wilson with about 4 minutes left.

The Gamecocks started the second half with a 15-4 run that gave them a seven-point lead -- the largest lead by either team. Dozier hit two 3-pointers during the run before her free throw with 12:53 remaining put South Carolina up 32-25.

"No way are you coming out of that locker room soft," Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said. "No way."


Neither team took particularly good care of the ball. Duke turned it over 22 times while South Carolina had 18 giveaways. "The turnovers were ridiculous," McCallie said.


This was South Carolina's first road win against a top-10 team since the Gamecocks beat No. 8 Tennessee on Feb. 2, 2012. Duke was denied its first win against a top-ranked team since it beat Maryland in 2007. The Blue Devils have lost four in a row against No. 1 teams -- with the previous three coming against Connecticut.


Duke: The Blue Devils missed 15 straight shots during a brutal 1-of-21 stretch during the final 9 minutes of the first half. Greenwell ended that run with a buzzer-beating layup.

South Carolina: Not to be outdone, the Gamecocks missed 11 of 12 during Duke's cold spell. They had 17 points at halftime -- 10 fewer than their previous scoring low against Southern Cal.


South Carolina plays host to Savannah State on Dec. 14.

Duke plays host to Oklahoma on Dec. 17.