Khadijah Sessions has been patiently waiting for her chance to shine.
On Sunday she made the most of her opportunity to do just that.
The Myrtle Beach native had a career-high 15 points off the bench to lead No. 19 South Carolina to a 52-44 win on the road at Florida.
Sessions, a true freshman, was 3-for-9 from the field, including 3-for-6 from the 3-point line, and had five rebounds and two assists while playing a career-high 28 minutes.
“[Coach Dawn Staley] always says that when your number is called to be ready to play your role and play your hardest,” Sessions said via phone from Columbia. “She figured I was doing well so she left me in. So I had to do what I can do for my team.”
Sessions played a key role in helping the Gamecocks close out the Gators, who made the game close late after South Carolina (16-3, 4-2 SEC) fell into a nine-minute scoreless drought. The Gamecocks led 45-35 with 9:39 left, but didn’t score again until Florida (13-6, 2-3) had closed to within 47-44 with 32 seconds remaining.
Sessions hit three of four free throw attempts in the final 27 seconds as USC closed out the game out by making five of six at the stripe in the final 15 seconds.
“It felt good just knowing what I’m capable of doing [in an extended role],” Sessions said. “I’m glad to see that I’m coming in at a critical time of the season to be able to step up for my teammates.”
Playing at the collegiate level has been a transition for Sessions, who has had to adjust to coming off the bench after being the star in high school for several years.
“It’s something that I’ve gotten used to,” she said. “It’s been a learning experience trying to run a team and play point guard at the next level. I’m just trying to do what my coaches ask me to do when I step on the floor.”
Overall, she said, adjusting to the competition level has been the biggest transition.
“It has been a learning experience on a whole lot of levels. I had a very big high school career scoring and everything,” Sessions said. “On the next level everybody was [a star in high school].”
Moving forward, Sessions said she hopes to continue to contribute for a South Carolina team that has high aspirations this season.
“The team is progressing great. We’re doing so good,” she said. “We’re behind each other 100 percent. … The sky’s the limit for us.”
Contact DAVID WETZEL at 626-0295.