Returning with a vengeance: Wilson makes statement in win over Tennessee
It was the question on every South Carolina fan's mind: would A'ja Wilson be good to go in the SEC quarterfinals against Tennessee? After all, Wilson had been dealing with vertigo for the better part of the last week and missed the regular season finale against Tennessee last Sunday.
In fact, Wilson didn't play in either match-up against Tennessee this season as she missed the first game due to an ankle injury. Tennessee beat South Carolina in both match-ups.
The answer was quickly given to Gamecock fans. Wilson didn't start, but she did play... and she made those minutes count.
Wilson had a game-high 24 points to go along with 12 rebounds, but she was helped out a lot by her teammates as well. Alexis Jennings followed suit with a double-double (19 points, 12 rebounds) and Kiki Herbert-Harrigan had 15 points as well.
All of those factors led the Gamecocks to a 73-62 win over Tennessee to move into the SEC semifinals.
"I'm feeling 100%, I'm feeling normal, I'm back to A'ja," Wilson said regarding her battle with vertigo.
She then described what the last week has been like trying to get back to 100%.
"Ever been drunk?" Wilson joked about what vertigo is like. "You're never balanced. It was in my ears and it just felt off. Even when I'm standing still, I felt the room was spinning."
Now that Wilson is back playing for the Gamecocks, they are looking forward to the SEC tournament semifinals where they will play the 3-seed Georgia. The Bulldogs beat Missouri in the final quarterfinal.
"It felt like a championship out there," head coach Dawn Staley said about facing Tennessee in the quarterfinals. "Kudos to us for getting a top-4 seed to get a double bye."
Staley said, however, the team has to forget about this win and quickly regroup to take on a great Georgia team.
"Real quick! We have to turn the page," Staley said. "Good performances, bad performances, we have to turn the page and get ready for our next opponent. The team that's able to mentally buy into that is the team that will continue to win and our team must do that."
(2)South Carolina vs (3)Georgia will be the second semifinal after (1)Mississippi State takes on (5)Texas A&M. The first semifinal is scheduled to tip-off at 5 pm ET.