COLUMBIA, SC (AP) - A'ja Wilson scored 22 points and No. 7 South Carolina used a big run spanning the half to beat Florida 64-57 on Sunday.
South Carolina (20-5, 9-3 SEC) appeared sluggish after playing its third game of the week and being down to nine healthy players. With a slim first-quarter lead, coach Dawn Staley deliberately kept Wilson on the bench for the start of the second quarter, knowing the Gamecocks could have to play stretches without her going forward.
Not coincidentally, that's when the Gators (10-15, 2-10) made a run to take a 10-point lead.
Wilson re-entered the game and led a 10-0 burst to tie the game, then scored at the buzzer for a halftime tie after the Gators briefly re-took the lead. Another South Carolina run out of the locker room gave it a lead it wouldn't relinquish.
Ty Harris had 18 for South Carolina.
Florida's Funda Nakkasoglu scored 21, hitting five 3-pointers.
Before the game, South Carolina announced that guard Lindsey Spann would miss the rest of the season with a knee injury.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks won't win a fifth straight SEC regular-season championship, but can clinch a top-four spot in the SEC tournament over the next two weeks to give them a great shot at winning a fourth straight SEC tournament. South Carolina is nearly locked into a Top-16 berth for the NCAA tournament, meaning it will host the first two rounds at Colonial Life Arena.
Florida: An expected rough season under first-year coach Cameron Newbauer has the Gators staring up at the rest of the league. Florida will have to find a way to win at Texas A&M and beat Tennessee or Georgia to get out of the bottom four of the SEC standings and avoid an SEC tournament Wednesday game.
South Carolina heads to Georgia on Thursday. While the Gamecocks won both games against the Lady Bulldogs last year, each came down to the wire.
Florida is at Texas A&M before facing Vanderbilt in a game that could elevate the winner out of the lower-four teams in the standings.