ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands — South Carolina claimed the title Saturday in the Reef Division of the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam with a 55-46 win over DePaul.
The Gamecocks were 3-0 at the event and are now 7-0 on the season.
Aleighsa Welch was one point shy of her third double-double in as many games at the event, and Ashley Bruner posted her second 12-rebound game of the tournament. The Gamecock defense was equally as effective, holding the Blue Demons to 29.7 percent shooting.
After the Blue Demons took a 10-9 lead with a 6-0 run aided by a pair of Gamecock turnovers, Bruner put South Carolina back on top and Sancheon White stretched the lead to 15-10 with back-to-back layups, the last coming off a baseball pass from Welch on a baseline out-of-bounds play.
South Carolina's lead grew to eight on a pull-up jumper from Wilka Montout and a traditional three-point play from Khadijah Sessions. The Blue Demons pulled to within 22-21 at halftime.
DePaul jumped out to a 28-25 in the second half before the Gamecocks delivered a 12-0 surge.
White got the scoring started with a transition layup, and Tiffany Mitchell followed quickly with a driving layup. Capping the six-point spurt that lasted just under a minute, White turned a steal into a transition layup for a 31-28 Gamecock lead. Walker added a transition layup, and Bruner drove the baseline on the next possession. Mitchell and Welch each added a free throw to the run, putting the Gamecocks up 37-28 with 13 minutes left to play.
With the momentum, South Carolina did not allow DePaul to put together back-to-back baskets until the final two minutes of the game.
Bruner and Walker tied for the scoring lead with 11 points each, while White added 10. Bruner's 12 rebounds paced the Gamecocks on the glass as well, and Welch added 10 as South Carolina out-rebounded DePaul 47-31.
Welch was named Most Outstanding Player of the tournament, and Bruner earned a spot on the all-tournament team as well.
South Carolina returns to Colonial Life Arena for its next outing, hosting Drexel at 7 p.m. Wednesday.