Roy's 3 lift No. 2 South Carolina to 85-32 victory
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) Tina Roy had practiced so well for No. 2 South Carolina, coach Dawn Staley was excited to see her play.
''I told her, `I can't wait for Sunday,''' Staley recalled.
Roy did not disappoint, going for career highs with 21 points and seven 3-pointers to lead the Gamecocks to an 85-32 blowout of Arkansas to start Southeastern Conference play.
The game was tied at 9 at the end of the first quarter before Roy and the undefeated Gamecocks (13-0) took control and put away the overmatched Razorbacks (5-9).
''We just got smoked today,'' Arkansas coach Jimmy Dykes said.
Roy was a big reason why. She, like the rest of her teammates, was cold in the first quarter and missed all four of her shots. Then she and the Gamecocks heated up. Roy had back-to-back 3s as South Carolina made 14 of 19 field goals in the quarter to lead 44-18 at the break.
''It felt so good,'' Roy, a senior, said with a smile. ''We needed that.''
The rest of the SEC probably didn't need a reminder of how loaded the two-time defending league champs are.
Along with Roy and two-time SEC player of the year Tiffany Mitchell hitting from the outside, the Gamecocks inside stars in 6-foot-5 A'ja Wilson and 6-4 Alaina Coates both had double doubles: Wilson had 14 points and 10 rebounds, Coates had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Wilson said the fiery Staley calmed players down after the first-quarter struggles and told them to keep doing what they had worked on. ''We knew if we do us, it would be all right,'' Wilson said. Melissa Wolff had nine points to lead Arkansas, which has lost seven straight to South Carolina.
Roy, a senior, bettered her old best of 17 points set in the UCLA win. She had reached five 3s three times in her career, the last this year at UCLA.
South Carolina made its first five shots of the second quarter - three of them from three-point range - to turn the tight game into a runaway.
The Gamecocks outscored Arkansas 35-9 in the second 10 minutes to lead 44-18 at the break.
Razorbacks leading scorer Jessica Jackson was held to nine points, about half her average of 17.4 points coming in.
Arkansas: Arkansas is struggling to win games, but has shown a penchant for defense this season. The Razorbacks have been even with or outrebounded opponents in 10 of 13 games this season. They've also held 11 of their 13 opponents below their scoring average.
South Carolina: South Carolina leads the country in average attendance this season, drawing 14,341 fans for its first six home games. Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley credits the support for her team's 41-game home win streak - the longest active run in the country.
South Carolina set an SEC mark for best-combined men's and women's start. The Gamecock women and men are each 13-0, bettering the combined 25-0 run Tennessee had - the women were 15-0, the men 10-0 - to start the 1997-98 season.
''It's really great,'' Staley said, ''because it showcases all of our sports here.''
The Gamecock men open SEC play Tuesday night at Auburn. The women next play at Vanderbilt on Thursday night.
It's not the first time Arkansas has had trouble scoring against South Carolina, the Razorbacks losing here last year 58-36 in a similarly awful offensive showing. Arkansas coach Jimmy Dykes said his team worked hard to stay with the Gamecocks in the first quarter and then got blitzed between South Carolina's outside shooting and inside power.
Arkansas made just 13 of 54 field goals (24.1 percent), an improvement of sorts from last year's showing (11 of 57, 19.3 percent)
''They hit us, they hit us again and we couldn't get off the mat,'' he said.
Arkansas opens its home SEC schedule against No. 16 Texas A&M on Thursday night.
South Carolina plays its first SEC road game of the season at Vanderbilt on Thursday night.