No. 1 South Carolina's 29-Game Winning Streak Snapped by No. 8 NC State

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 4, 2020

FILE - In this March 8, 2020, file photo, South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley reacts during a championship match against Mississippi State at the Southeastern Conference women's NCAA college basketball tournament in Greenville, S.C. South Carolina is ranked No. 1 in the women's NCAA college basketball poll released Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro, File)
Richard Shiro/Associated Press

South Carolina suffered its first defeat in more than a year, losing 54-46 to No. 8 North Carolina State on Thursday night.

The top-ranked Gamecocks hadn't lost since Nov. 28, 2019, a stretch of 29 games. ESPN Women's Hoops noted this was also the first time since February 2013 they scored fewer 50 points.

Through South Carolina's first three games, the trio of Destanni Henderson, Zia Cooke and Aliyah Boston were averaging 46.4 points. They shot a combined 9-of-45 from the field Thursday.

Gamecocks head coach Dawn Staley didn't hold anything back in her postgame press conference, per ESPN.com's Mechelle Voepel:

"We just had no flow. In 21 years, I never felt what I felt during the game. Uncoachable, untameable, just not listening, just selfish play. It will open our eyes to see how we need to be and how we need to play every time we step on the floor. We need some leadership. We need somebody who is going to step up and say, 'We need to get organized, we need to take better shots.'"

To drive Staley's point home, only three South Carolina players were credited with an assist, and Henderson accounted for six of the team's nine dimes.

The Gamecocks have one senior, and none of Cooke, Boston and Laeticia Amihere had the benefit of an NCAA tournament run as freshmen to gain what would've been valuable experience. A flat performance against a tough opponent was probably inevitable.

A matchup against No. 23 Iowa State on Sunday provides Staley's squad with an opportunity to rebound.

The result is an early statement from the Wolfpack, who didn't have the services of Jada Boyd. Kayla Jones (16 points, 12 rebounds) and Jakia Brown-Turner (11 points, 12 rebounds) stepped up in her absence.

NC State didn't provide a timetable for Boyd's return from a meniscal injury, so that will continue to loom large. The team's next Top 25 game isn't until Jan. 17 against No. 5 Louisville, though.