Sessions' foul shot lifts No. 2 South Carolina to 59-58 win

Tina Roy finds Alaina Coates down low for two (1:13)

Q1 (1:22) SCAR Alaina Coates made Layup. Assisted by Tina Roy. (1:13)

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina point guard Khadijah Sessions was stunned she got another chance to win the game. Texas A&M coach Gary Blair was, too.

Sessions hit the game-winning foul shot with 0.9 seconds left, capping a chaotic end to the second-ranked Gamecocks 59-58 victory over No. 15 Texas A&M on Sunday.

The victory kept South Carolina (5-0 Southeastern Conference) perfect at 17-0.

Sessions had made one of two foul shots with 3.4 seconds left to put South Carolina ahead 58-56 when Taylor Cooper threw a long, 80-foot baseball pass that Chelsea Jennings caught up with and scored to tie the game. Inexplicably, reserve Shlonte Allen pounced on Sessions and was called for the foul.

Given a second chance, Sessions came through by swishing home the second free throw for the dramatic win.

"I was shocked," Sessions said. "I thought they were going to let the shot clock run out and go into overtime."

So did Blair, who blamed himself for the late-game gaffe.

"That was not knowing the game," he said. "We weren't trying to steal the ball. As an athlete and as a coach, you live with that the rest of your life. I'll take the blame because that was basically her first play of the game."

Blair had just subbed Allen in after Jordan Jones had fouled out with 3.4 seconds remaining. Jones hit just one of two free throws a second earlier that would have tied the game.

A'ja Wilson had 26 points, eight rebounds and matched her career best with eight blocked shots as South Carolina.

Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley acknowledged how hard it can be to keep fully aware of late-game status with players flying by everywhere and time dwindling down. She was more bothered by her team's struggles to put the game away.

Wilson had a driving layup with 2:33 to go that gave the Gamecocks their biggest lead, 57-51. They missed the only shot they took after that. Tiffany Mitchell missed two foul shots. Wilson missed a foul shot.

After Sessions' winning free throw, Mitchell picked off the inbounds pass to end things.

"As coaches you can review and go over late game situations," Staley said. "As much as you do it, things can turn out looking like that. It's so unpredictable."

Wilson scored 14 straight points during one stretch and also finished with eight rebounds. Wilson matched her career high with eight blocked shots.

JJones had 17 points and Courtney Walker 16 to lead Texas A&M.

It looked like the Gamecocks were about to pull away after Wilson's driving layup. But Walker's bucket and two foul shots brought the Aggies back.

The South Carolina-Texas A&M series has been tight since the Aggies joined the SEC, the Gamecocks losing the first three by nine points or less before a 79-61 victory last year.

This one was no different, the lead changing hands 14 times the opening two quarters with Walker's breakaway layup right before the horn sounded giving Texas A&M a 27-26 lead at the half.

It was the second straight game South Carolina trailed at the break. The Gamecocks rallied to defeat No. 9 Kentucky 73-62 last Thursday night.

Texas A&M opened by hitting six of its first seven shots for a 13-6 lead. But South Carolina scored the next 10 points and neither team led by more than three points the rest of the half.


Texas A&M: Aggies standouts Courtney Walker and Courtney Williams rank first and third in active SEC points leaders. Walker has 1,714 points, a career average of 14 points a game. Williams has 1,330, 11.6 per game.

South Carolina: Gamecocks have won 13 of their 17 games this season by double digits, including four of five so far in SEC play.


Wilson is starting to assert herself in SEC play. The sophomore scored 26 points and had eight blocks for a second straight game after rallying the Gamecocks to a 73-62 win over No. 9 Kentucky this past Thursday night. Sessions said the reason is simple: "She's finishing through contact."

Texas A&M coach Gary Blair expected his team to struggle some against the Gamecocks height with part of their gameplan being "HTM" -- "Hope they miss," Blair said.


South Carolina and Texas A&M came in as two of the top six scoring teams in the SEC. Both finished well below their average. The Gamecocks, averaging 78 points this season, were held to their lowest point total this year. The Aggies, going for nearly 75 points a game, were held in the 50s for the second time in three games after defeating LSU 53-35 last


Texas A&M takes on another ranked opponent, No. 24 Missouri, on Thursday night.

South Carolina travels to play Auburn on Thursday night.