Gamecock Man of SB Nation's South Carolina site Garnet and Black Attack told us before the Sweet 16 began that North Carolina would pose the Gamecocks a significantly larger challenge than their first two opponents.
Turns out his observation was spot on as South Carolina fell to UNC today, 65-58.
UNC's Diamond DeShields was obviously the individual hero of the day, but Gamecock Man rightly noted in his summary of today's loss that South Carolina's poor shooting effiiciency - something that also plagued them the first time around - was something that really hurt their chances to win, even though they were in position to do so for much of the game.
With UNC center Stephanie Muvunga in foul trouble in the second half, the Heels simply didn't have anyone who was up to the task of covering Coates.
Unfortunately, outside of Coates, the Gamecocks struggled to score. USC's guards, in particular, struggled against UNC's tough perimeter defense. Tiffany Mitchell went 4-14 and caved to the defensive pressure a few times by forcing unwise shots. Khadijah Sessions went 0-8 and looked similarly out of control at times.
Something else noteworthy in relation to their first meeting of the season is the Gamecocks' free throw attempts: the first time around, Tiffany Mitchell and Aleighsa Welch combined 22 of the team's 29 free throw attempts; today, the entire team only managed 10 attempts, further reinforcing the observation about UNC's defense.
For more on the Gamecocks' season, check out Garnet and Black Attack's women's basketball section. For more on the region as a whole, check out our Stanford region storystream.