University of Missouri

Missouri women fall to No. 1 South Carolina

South Carolina's Tiffany Mitchell, left, steals the ball from Missouri's Morgan Eye during the first half of an NCAA women's college basketball game Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015, in Columbia, Mo.
South Carolina's Tiffany Mitchell, left, steals the ball from Missouri's Morgan Eye during the first half of an NCAA women's college basketball game Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015, in Columbia, Mo. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Missouri’s women’s team gave No. 1 South Carolina a battle but fell 60-49 Thursday night.

Tiffany Mitchell scored 19 points, and Alaina Coates added 15 for the Gamecocks.

The win pushed South Carolina’s record to 17-0 overall snd 5-0 in Southeastern Conference play, the best start for the program since joining the league in 1991. But the Gamecocks struggled to separate themselves from Missouri.

Sierra Michaelis scored a career-high 22 points but finished as the only player in double figures for Missouri, 11-7 and 1-4.

South Carolina led for more than 34 minutes but couldn’t relax until Coates capped a 6-0 run with two free throws for a 53-43 lead with 1:16 to go.

Michaelis made a 3-pointer with 5 minutes remaining that cut the Tigers’ deficit to 44-41. Mitchell answered with her own three-pointer, and the Gamecocks led by at least four points the rest of the way.

Missouri and South Carolina entered the night ranked first and second in the SEC in holding opponents to under 33.5 percent shooting this season. But the teams combined to make 8 of their first 15 shots from the field and were tied four minutes into the game.

The pace then slowed considerably, though, as Missouri and South Carolina combined to make just 11 of their final 48 attempts in the half. The Gamecocks entered the break with a 25-20 advantage but never led by more than six in the opening 20 minutes.

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