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Gritty Paladins Fall To 25th-Ranked South Carolina, 66-53

Gritty Paladins Fall To 25th-Ranked South Carolina, 66-53

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Alexis Jennings scored 19 points and keyed a late fourth quarter surge that carried AP 25th-ranked South Carolina past a gritty Furman squad, 66-53, in women's basketball action Sunday afternoon at the Colonial Life Center.

South Carolina (8-4), which won its fourth straight game, led Furman (7-6), 54-43, with over five minutes remaining before the Paladins, aided by a Jade Kirisome 3-pointer and layups by Le'Jzae Davidson and Celena Taborn, fashioned a 9-2 run to pull to within 56-52 with 2:45 to go.

Leading 57-52 out of Furman timeout, Jennings took advantage of a pair of Paladins turnovers by draining a pair of jump shots to stretch the lead to 61-52 with 1:29 left on the clock.

The Paladins managed only a Kaityln  Duncan free throw the rest of the way as the Gamecocks closed the contest on a 10-1 run.

Davidson matched Jennings for game high scoring honors with 19 points, giving the Paladin junior guard 998 points for her career.  She is poised to become the 24th player in program history to reach 1,000 points when Furman tips off the new year on Jan. 2 at home versus Presbyterian in a 7:00 p.m. contest.

Duncan joined Davidson in double figures with 11 points.

Furman made it a competitive contest from start to finish, trailing 31-27 at halftime thanks in large measure to Davidson's 15 first half points.

The Paladins battled back from a 45-33 third quarter deficit, using a 9-2 run to pull within 47-42 on a Duncan jump shot eight seconds into the fourth period.

South Carolina answered with its own run — a 9-3 spurt — to go up 56-45 on LeLe Grissett's layup off a fast break with 4:11 remaining in the contest.

The Gamecocks shot 47.2 percent from the field (26x53) to Furman's 36.1 percent (22x61).

The Paladins forged a 37-33 rebounding advantage, getting a game high eight caroms from Duncan.

Furman's costly late turnovers pushed their game total to 21 while South Carolina was charged with 18 possession miscues.