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No. 25 S. Carolina women down Alabama 57-38

South Carolina forward Ashley Bruner (21) blocks a shot attempt by Alabama guard Jessica Merritt, left, in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the women's Southeastern Conference tournament Thursday, March 1, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. South Carolina forward Ashley Bruner (21) blocks a shot attempt by Alabama guard Jessica Merritt, left, in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the women's Southeastern Conference tournament Thursday, March 1, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
By Teresa M. Walker
AP Sports Writer / March 2, 2012
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NASHVILLE, Tenn.—La'Keisha Sutton scored 15 points, and No. 25 South Carolina beat Alabama 57-38 Thursday night in the opening round of the Southeastern Conference.

The Gamecocks (22-8) play 16th-ranked Georgia in the quarterfinals Friday night.

Markeshia Grant also scored 10 points for South Carolina.

Jasmine Robinson led Alabama (12-19) with 11 points, and Kyra Crosby 10. The Tide scored a season-low 14 in the first half and led only once on Robinson's tip-in for the first bucket.

South Carolina scored the next nine points.

The Gamecocks then went cold except at the free throw line between Sancheon White's layup with 16:40 to go before Grant's layup with 6:47 left, missing 10 straight shots. Alabama tied it up at 10 on a layup by Jessica Merritt with 10:38 remaining. But Sutton hit two free throws with 7:30 left to put South Carolina head to stay, and the Gamecocks led 32-14 at halftime.

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