South Carolina women’s basketball may be breaking from the more challenging part of its non-conference schedule, but the Gamecocks haven’t let off the gas pedal.
Unanimous Associated Press No. 1 South Carolina (8-0) routed North Carolina A&T (0-6) 79-42 in a game decided by the end of the first half, when the Gamecocks went to the locker room on a 22-0 run throughout the last 8:09 of the second quarter.
Here’s what we learned about the Gamecocks.
First-half run seals the game early
Basketball can be quantified as a game of runs, and a lion-hearted effort from the Gamecocks in the second quarter pushed the game out of North Carolina A&T’s reach before the second half.
The Aggies pushed the pace to start Monday night, taking opportunistic shots at a high volume and making the most of South Carolina turnovers. The Aggies brought the game within three points with 8:09 to go in the second quarter, but a subsequent 29-0 South Carolina run put the game away without any going back.
South Carolina went into the locker room up 40-15 over the Aggies behind another suffocating defensive performance and hot offense.
The Gamecocks shot 48.5% (16-of-33) from the field in the first half and kept North Carolina A&T from the basket. The Aggies put just six of their 31 first-half attempts in the net. South Carolina finished shooting 46% compared to the Aggies’ 22%.
Aliyah Boston appears to be in peak form
Aliyah Boston is a talented basketball player. She’s a preseason All-American and two-time Lisa Leslie Award Winner for a reason.
But Monday night, Boston showed she’s performing at a career-best level. In her 20 minutes on the floor, Boston scored 29 points, the most in her South Carolina career. She did so with perfect shooting, going 13-of-13 from the field, 1-of-1 on 3-point shots and 2-of-2 from the free-throw line.
Boston also grabbed 14 rebounds, three blocks and two steals.
The junior smiled up at the screen above the floor at Colonial Life Arena as she took a seat on the bench with 5:23 to go in the third quarter.
At the end of the first half, Boston scored more points (20) individually than North Carolina A&T had as a team (15).
Bench players contribute to late-game rout
Much like the Gamecocks’ most recent effort in their 79-38 win over Elon last Friday, South Carolina’s bench held down a lopsided win over a mismatched opponent.
USC’s bench put up 31 points against Elon and added another 33 against North Carolina A&T.
Laeticia Amihere and Kamilla Cardoso, two of the Gamecocks’ most consistent contributors off the bench, brought another strong effort Monday night. Amihere scored nine and Cardoso finished with eight.
Freshman Bree Hall, who entered Monday night’s game earning the most minutes of any freshman, scored the Gamecocks’ first 3-point shot against North Carolina A&T, the second of her Gamecocks career. She finished the game with four points.
Next USC women’s basketball game
Who: South Carolina vs. Kansas State
When: Friday at 7 p.m.
Where: Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, S.C.
Watch: SEC Network Plus