Gartrell Nets Career Best in Loss to Gamecocks
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Senior Nikitta Gartrell scored a career-high 23 points to lead NC State in a 74-71 loss to South Carolina Sunday afternoon at Colonial Life Arena.
NC State (6-4) also got double digit efforts from Amber White (13 points), Emili Tasler (career-high 11) and Bonae Holston (10 points)
Samone Kennedy's stepback three-pointer sealed the victory with 17 seconds remaining for South Carolina (5-3).
Gartrell drilled a three of her own with one second left, but the Gamecocks inbounded the ball to hold on for the win.
Valerie Nainima led all scorers with 27 points for the Gamecocks, while Kennedy added 18 and Kelsey Bone had 10 points.
The 28th meeting in the series was once once again a nail-biter that went down to the final second for the second-straight year.
The game was tied for the ninth and final time 55-all with 7:46 left when five straight points by the Gamecocks gave the home team a lead it would never give back.
The Pack got back to within three points on five occasions.
In the first half, South Carolina took an early 13-4 lead in the openings minutes of the game.
Two three-pointers by Tasler and a deep jumper by Brittany Strachan got NC State within two, 17-15 with 11 minutes left in the half.
Two Sharnise Beal free throws capped a 13-4 Wolfpack run to tie it up 17-all.
White later gave the Pack its first lead of the ballgame with two straight buckets - the Pack led 23-21 with 7:14 left until halftime.
The lead extended to six, 29-23 after Gartrell's fifth bucket of the half, but eight straight points by South Carolina allowed them to re-take the lead, 31-29.
The lead traded hands five more times in the final 1:28, before White's spinning layup just before the buzzer gave NC State a 36-35 lead at the break.
NC State had won five straight games in Columbia dating back to 1985.
The Wolfpack will host Winthrop next Saturday at 5 p.m.