Dawn Staley (Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports)
Pete Iacobelli, AP Sportswriter
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Freshman Alaina Coates scored a career-high 23 points on perfect shooting to lead No. 10 South Carolina to its 21st straight win over South Carolina State, 70-26 on Sunday.
The 6-foot-4 Coates made all seven of her field goal attempts and was 9 of 9 at the free throw line for the Gamecocks (11-1), who had any easy time putting away the overmatched Lady Bulldogs (1-8) of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
Coates left the game after connecting on her second three-point play with about 5 minutes left. That moved her past her old mark of 21 points set last month in a win over San Diego State. She had three of South Carolina's five blocks.
Elem Ibiam added nine points and nine rebounds for the Gamecocks.
South Carolina used a 19-0 run in the first half to take control.
Mykala Jones led the Lady Bulldogs with seven points.
South Carolina State was held to under 25 percent shooting (12 of 49), which included a 2-of-19 showing from 3-point range. Leading scorer Kourtney Williams, who averaged 18.8 points coming, was held to six points on 3-of-14 shooting.
South Carolina was looking to clean up the defense that nearly let the Gamecocks down the previous game as they watched Winthrop cut a 19-point lead to 61-57 in the final minutes before holding on for a 69-61 victory.
South Carolina's big run made it 29-6.
Cherisha Floyd drew the Lady Bulldogs within 10-6 on a basket about 5 minutes in when the Gamecocks took off. Coates and Tina Roy fueled the charge. Coates had an inside basket and Roy followed with a 3-pointer as South Carolina took an 18-6 lead.
Roy hit a jumper and Coates followed with a three-point play and two free throws to increase the lead to 27-6. The Gamecocks led 37-12 at halftime.
The Lady Bulldogs made two of their first three shots, then made just four of 23 the rest of the period. They were held scoreless for nearly 9 minutes of the period and were 0 for 7 from behind the arc.
South Carolina State dropped to 0-8 on the road this season/
The Lady Bulldogs begin play in the MEAC - and return home for the first time in more than five weeks - when they face Maryland-Eastern Shore on Dec. 30.
The Gamecocks have one more nonconference opponent - Savannah State on Dec. 28 - before starting Southeastern Conference play at Arkansas on Jan. 2.