By JOHN ZENOR
AP Sports Writer
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - A'ja Wilson scored 21 points and had nine rebounds to lead No. 7 South Carolina to a 79-66 victory over Alabama on Thursday night.
The Gamecocks (19-5, 8-3 Southeastern Conference) shot 75 percent in the first half to build a 15-point lead. They were coming off losses against the nation's top two teams, No. 1 UConn and No. 2 Mississippi State, but were in control against the Crimson Tide (14-10, 4-7) over the final three quarters of this one.
Wilson didn't score in the first 15 minutes but largely had her way inside when she starting getting the ball regularly. She made 8 of 10 shots.
Tyasha Harris had 17 points and five assists for the Gamecocks. Harris had 12 points by halftime when she made both 3-point attempts and all six foul shots.
Bianca Jackson scored 10 points.
Hannah Cook and Shaquera Wade both scored 13 points for Alabama. Jasmine Walker finished with 12.
South Carolina scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter to push its lead to 19 points. Then Alabama got hot, making four straight shots and cutting it to 71-63 on a steal and layup by Amber Richardson with 3:10 left. The Tide couldn't get any closer.
The Gamecocks fell behind by seven points in the first quarter before starting a 20-2 tear extending into the second. Jackson's steal and layup with two seconds left gave South Carolina its first lead, 21-20.
By halftime, it was 45-30, though Alabama managed to whittle a few points off the margin in the third.
South Carolina: Rebounded strongly after double-digit losses Monday night at Mississippi State (67-53) and last week against UConn (83-58). Hit 16 of 24 shots in the first half.
Alabama: Lost its fourth consecutive game. Has lost the last 14 meetings after winning 11 in a row from 1992-2000. Fell 93-45 in last season's SEC opener against the Gamecocks.
South Carolina hosts Florida on Sunday.
Alabama visits Mississippi Sunday in the first of two straight road games.
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