By PETE IACOBELLI
AP Sports Writer
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A'ja Wilson had 19 points and 11 rebounds before leaving with a right ankle injury with 16 seconds left in No. 9 South Carolina's 71-63 win over Auburn on Thursday night.
Wilson was a force with her 12th double-double this season and, in the first quarter, became just the third player in program history to reach 2,000 career points. But she came down hard under her own basket in the final seconds and hobbled over to the corner of the court. Team trainers helped her off and she went right to the locker room.
Wilson and the defending national champion Gamecocks (14-2, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) rebounded from their first SEC loss of the season Sunday at Missouri to win their eighth straight over the Tigers (10-6, 1-3). Not that it was easy.
Auburn whittled a 22-point second-quarter deficit to 62-56 on Janiah McKay's jumper with 5:36 to play. But South Carolina point guard Tyasha Harris responded with five straight points to rebuild the double-digit edge.
Wilson, the 6-foot-5 All-American, had her worst showing of the year at Mizzou, fouling out in just 19 minutes and finishing with a season-low eight points. But she was active from the start of this one - she made two of her team's first three baskets and assisted on the other - as South Carolina opened a 30-10 edge by the end of the first quarter. Her two made foul shots with 1:13 left in the opening period pushed her to 2,000 points over four seasons, leaving her behind only Shelia Foster (2,226 points) and Shannon Johnson (2,230) in Gamecocks history.
Harris was the only other South Carolina player in double figures with 12 points.
McKay led Auburn with 27 points and Daisa Alexander had 16.
Auburn: It's still a struggle against the SEC's better teams for the Tigers. After losing to ranked teams Texas A&M and Tennessee, Auburn fell behind South Carolina by 20 points in the opening quarter and could never catch up. McKay had 15 points in the first two quarters, with the rest of her teammates totaling 10. Auburn will have to find some consistent scoring from someone other than McKay if it hopes to move up in the league.
South Carolina: For anyone wondering if an SEC loss last game would rattle Wilson and the Gamecocks, they tossed those worries aside early. Things will get harder Sunday against sixth-ranked Tennessee.
Auburn ends a brutal run of three consecutive ranked opponents when it plays Arkansas at home Sunday.
South Carolina faces its third ranked opponent in five games when it faces No. 6 Tennessee at home.
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