CLEMSON, S.C. — The longtime game plan to beat South Carolina needs some revision with transfer Lindsey Spann making it tougher to collapse on the Gamecocks inside.
Spann made six of seven 3-pointers and scored 20 points in No. 4. South Carolina’s 66-36 victory over Clemson on Thursday night.
Spann, who is shooting 63 percent from behind the arc this season after shooting 29 percent on 3s last season before transferring from Penn State.
Instead of being the focus of the offense like she was with the Lady Lions, Spann benefits from all the attention defenses pay to All-America A’ja Wilson.
“If I stay open, I’m going to keep shooting,” Spann said.
And Wilson benefits from the relationship, too. She scored 19 points and had 11 rebounds, her third double-double in three games for South Carolina (3-0).
“Before Spann was there, you could really pack it in. But now you can’t. She’s awesome,” Clemson coach Audra Smith said.
Clemson’s 36 points were the lowest ever by a team in the rivalry’s 63 games. The previous low was South Carolina’s 40 points in 1990.
Clemson (2-1) gave its fans brief hope, taking a 4-2 lead just over two minutes in, leading to a timeout by Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley after her team had two of its first five shots blocked.
“I don’t think we had a very good understanding of who had who,” Wilson said. “You won’t see that any more. I’m pretty sure coach is about to take care of that.”
After the timeout, the Tigers missed their next 11 shots and Spann hit three 3-pointers in that span as South Carolina took an 18-4 lead. Clemson would make just three of its next 25 shots and trailed the defending national champions 37-11 at half.
While the fans of the bitter rivals may not like each other, the coaches of the teams are good friends. Staley and Smith played together all four years at Virginia and shared a long hug and a laugh before Thursday night’s game.
South Carolina: The rivalry continues to show the wide disparity between the two teams. South Carolina has now won eight in a row, the longest streak since the series started in 1976 … The Gamecocks last lost to Clemson in 2009, which also was Staley’s last losing season.
Clemson: The Tigers have scored more than 50 against South Carolina just once in the past six games … Clemson has not had a winning season since 2004 and have not made the NCAA tournament since 2002. Before then, Clemson had made 15 NCAAs in 20 years. … Clemson’s leading scorer for the past two seasons, senior Nelly Perry, is redshirting this season because of a knee injury.
HOME AWAY FROM HOME
There were about as many South Carolina fans in Littlejohn Coliseum as Clemson fans. They nearly filled two sections right down to courtside, were shouting their cheers back and forth and enjoying a worry-free 13th straight win.
Wilson said it felt more like a home game than she expected.
“All we needed was ‘Sandstorm,” Wilson said of the techno song the Gamecocks play before tipping off home games.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks face another in-state team, Wofford, on Sunday, this time at home.
Clemson: The Tigers host Monmouth on Sunday.