A'ja Wilson had 27 points, 13 rebounds and seven blocks in her return to the starting lineup to power No. 9 South Carolina to a 90-42 victory over Arkansas on Thursday night.
The Gamecocks (17-3, 6-2 Southeastern Conference) looked quick, powerful and eager to end things in a hurry with the 6-foot-5 senior Wilson back in the middle at the start for the first time since spraining her right ankle against Auburn on Jan. 11. Wilson missed two games, then came off the bench last Sunday to score 26 points in a win at Kentucky.
In this one, Wilson was honored pre-game for reaching 2,000 points in her career. She grabbed her 1,000th career rebound in the third quarter to join Sheila Foster (1979-82) as the program's only players with that many points and rebounds.
For a while, it looked like the Gamecocks might score that many against overmatched Arkansas (11-10, 2-6). South Carolina led 25-6 after one quarter and 44-12 at the break as it gradually increased the lead throughout for its most lopsided SEC win since defeating Alabama 93-45 on New Year's Day 2017.
Alexis Jennings had her fifth double-double this year with 22 points on 9-of-9 shooting and 10 rebounds.
The Gamecocks will need all that production and fire as they enter their toughest stretch of the season: They'll face No. 11 Missouri on Sunday, No. 1 UConn next Thursday and No. 2 Mississippi State on Feb. 5.
Arkansas had no one to match up with Wilson, Harris and the rest of the Gamecocks. Jailyn Mason had three of the Razorbacks six field goals in the opening half while her teammates were 3 of 25 combined the first two quarters.
Malica Monk had 12 points off 6-of-20 shooting to lead the Razorbacks, who've lost six of their past seven games.
It was Wilson's 13th game this season with double figure points and rebounds.
On getting back in the flow with the starting lineup back and healthy
"It's always great. You have great comfort when you're able to play the people you've started all year long. [A'ja is] a four-year kid in our program. She's everybody's All-American and hopefully player of the year, so it's always great to have her. She's a threat on both sides of the ball, and she was that tonight."
• The Gamecocks have reached 80 points in each of their last three games, totaling 90 or more in two of the contests.
• Thursday marked the first time this season three Gamecocks tallied double-digit rebounds. A’ja Wilson and Tyasha Harris totaled a game-high 13 boards, while Alexis Jennings grabbed 10 rebounds. Harris’ previous career high for rebounds was six.
• Carolina senior forward A’ja Wilson is the second player in program history to total 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds, joining Sheila Foster (1977-82). Wilson is the first to reach those milestones playing her entire career in NCAA competition.
• With her 27 points, Wilson passed former Gamecock standout Tiffany Mitchell (2012-16) for the most career points in SEC play in school history.
• Gamecock junior Alexis Jennings connected on all nine of her field goal attempts against the Razorbacks. The forward has shot at least 70.0 percent from the floor in each her last four games.
Carolina wasted little time seizing control, ending the opening quarter on a 17-2 run to head into the first break with a 25-6 lead. The Razorbacks shot 1-of-12 from the field during the stretch.
The Gamecocks kept Arkansas in check from distance. The Razorbacks, who entered the game averaging 7.7 made 3s per game, finished the game just 2-of-16 from the 3-point line. Thursday was the sixth time this season a Carolina opponent ended a contest with three or fewer 3-pointers.
Carolina returns to action this weekend when it hosts No. 11/11 Missouri in a top-15 clash set for Sun., Jan. 28. Tipoff from Colonial Life Arena is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET, and the game will air on ESPN2.