COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Auburn's women's basketball team put a second-half scare into No. 1 South Carolina, but the Gamecocks pulled away late for a 77-58 win in front of 16,465 fans at Colonial Life Arena.
Senior Hasina Muhammad led the Tigers (9-5, 0-1 SEC) with a season-high 26 points, shooting 8-of-18 from the field and draining all 10 of her free-throw attempts. Muhammad also had three blocks and three steals on the night. Neydja Petithomme added 10 points, and Brandy Montgomery pulled down a team-best seven rebounds.
After trailing by 17 at halftime, Auburn came out of the break on fire. The Tigers shot better than 60 percent over the first eight minutes of the second half and went on a 16-4 run to cut the South Carolina lead to single digits at 48-40. From there, however, the Gamecocks went on a 19-4 run and found several ways to get to the free throw line, pushing the lead to more than 20 points.
The Tigers were only outscored by two points in the second half, mostly thanks to increased defensive intensity. Auburn forced South Carolina into 18 turnovers with 10 of those coming in the second half.
Carolina scored the first seven points of the game as Auburn struggled to find any open looks early. The much taller Gamecocks had five blocks on Auburn's first nine shot attempts and forced the Tigers into nine first-half turnovers. Auburn found some offense toward the end of the half, but South Carolina led 34-17 at the break.
Auburn shot 33.9 percent from the field for the game but showed dramatic improvement at the free-throw line, knocking down 12-of-14 attempts (85.7%). South Carolina shot 48.4 percent and had five players in double figures. Auburn had 11 steals to Carolina's eight, and both teams finished with six blocked shots.
A'ja Wilson (12 points, 10 rebounds) and Alaina Coates (11 points, 14 rebounds) had double-doubles to lead South Carolina. Aleigha Welch also had 12 points on 6-of-6 shooting.
The South Carolina crowd of 16,465 was the largest crowd to ever witness a regular-season Auburn women's basketball game. The only two larger crowds to see an Auburn game came at the 1990 Women's Final Four in Knoxville.
Auburn plays its first home game of 2015 and opens the SEC home schedule Sunday, Jan. 4, as the Tigers host the Florida Gators. Tip is set for 3 p.m. at Auburn Arena, and the game will be televised by SEC Network.