COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Kentucky women's basketball team, coming off a difficult loss to fourth-ranked Tennessee three days earlier, came up empty at South Carolina Thursday night and lost 66-61.
La'Keisha Sutton and Ieasia Walker each scored 17 points to lead the Gamecocks (14-10, 6-5 in the SEC), who have won four of five, including two in a row over top-20 teams.
"We wanted to attack the basket and use our speed," Walker said. "We felt we were quicker than their guards."
The Wildcats (18-6, 7-4) had won seven straight, including a 66-48 victory over USC at home, before the loss to the Lady Vols on Monday.
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Kentucky's Victoria Dunlap, the SEC's leading scorer with 17.5 points per game, only had 13. A'dia Mathies led the Wildcats with 16.
"We gave some effort tonight but not the effort we're used to," Kentucky Coach Matthew Mitchell said. "They were just really tougher than us tonight."
Mathies and Dunlap combined to shoot 11-for-30 from the field.
South Carolina took the lead for good midway through the first half and held a 30-24 advantage at intermission.
The Gamecocks stretched that to as much as 11 points before UK staged a late run to get within four, 61-57, with 1:07 to play.
The hosts hit five of six free throws in the final minute to protect their advantage.
South Carolina did not make a three-pointer, shooting 0-for-6 from beyond the arc and finished with two assists.
Kentucky committed 18 turnovers, four more than the Gamecocks. The 14 miscues were the fewest for a UK opponent this season.
The Cats' 24 points in the first half tied their lowest point total in the opening period in SEC play this season. They also scored 24 points in a win at Florida on Jan. 20.