Crimson Tide Comes Up Short in Hard-Fought Battle at No. 23 South Carolina, 62-59

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COLUMBIA, S.C. -- – Sophomore Jasmine Walker’s jumper with 1:07 remaining gave Alabama its first lead of the game at 59-58, however, No. 23 South Carolina scored the final four points of the contest to secure the 62-59 win on Sunday afternoon in Colonial Life Arena.

With the loss the Crimson Tide drops to 9-6 overall and 1-1 in Southeastern Conference play, while the Gamecocks improve to 10-4 and 2-0 in SEC competition.

Junior Cierra Johnson totaled 19 points and six rebounds, while averaging 21.6 points over the last three games. Walker had 17 points and six boards and senior Shaquera Wade chipped in 11 points.

South Carolina jumped out to a 9-0 start in the first five minutes of the game and held the 15-6 advantage after the first 10 minutes of play.

The Gamecocks continued to keep the lead in the second period when Walker knocked down a three-pointer to cut the deficit to 27-21 with 2:51 remaining before halftime. USC responded by closing out the half with a mini 6-2 run to go up 33-23 at the break.

South Carolina led by as many as 14 points when the Tide climbed back into the game. With the score at 41-30 and 6:52 on the clock, Alabama went on a 12-2 run fueled by Walker who scored seven straight points. After junior Ashley Knight’s jumper in the paint, UA trailed 43-42 with 3:15 to go in the third. At the end of the quarter USC controlled the 47-44 advantage.

The Gamecocks began the fourth quarter with a 5-0 spurt to push its lead to 52-44 with 7:48 to go. Alabama responded with five-straight points of its own to cut the deficit back to three points. The two sides battled back-and-forth when the Tide took its first and only lead of the game when Walker drained a mid-range jumper putting UA on top 59-58 with just over a minute to go.

USC hit a mid-range jumper of its own to take back the 60-59 advantage with 35 seconds on the clock. Alabama turned the ball over three times in the final 26 seconds as USC claimed the 62-59 victory.

The Tide outscored the Gamecocks 36-29 in the second half, while shooting 48 percent (13-of-27) in the final 20 minutes.

Alabama returns home for a matchup against rival Auburn on Thursday, Jan. 10 at 7 p.m. CT inside Coleman Coliseum. The game will be streamed live on SEC Network +.