South Carolina (19-1, 7-1) rode a stout defense and a dominant performance by Aliyah Boston to defeat Ole Miss (17-3, 5-2) Thursday night 69-40.
After struggling to get the ball in the basket through the first two and a half minutes of the contest, the Gamecocks quickly responded, opening the game on a 12-4 run.
The Rebels never could quite dig out of that early hole, struggling to find any answers on offense beyond Shakira Austin, who scored 15, and seeing the lead grow to as large as 31. The 40 points scored by Ole Miss is also a season low, surpassing a 50-point performance against Belmont in their season opener.
On the flip side, Boston was the star, securing a school-record 13th straight double-double with 22 points and 12 boards.
She was basically doing whatever she wanted in the paint, either getting fouled (Boston shot a whopping 13 free throws) or scoring a bucket on most occasions. Additionally, that strategy worked wonders for the Gamecocks because it got Austin into early foul trouble as she picked up her fourth with a minute remaining in the third quarter.
Laeticia Amihere had a solid day off the bench too, scoring eight points on a perfect 4-of-4 shooting day.
Another story was how South Carolina dominated on the glass with Boston and Beal leading the way in that department. The Cocks out-rebounded the Rebels 47 to 33 with 37 defensive rebounds plus 10 on the offensive end.
Turnovers have been an issue as well recently for South Carolina, but they were not tonight. The Gamecocks turned the ball over nine times (four of them came in the fourth quarter when the game was already decided) and won the turnover battle by four.
Overall, it was a very impressive, clean game played by South Carolina against one of the best squads in the SEC, and I’m sure they prefer a painless, conference victory over Ole Miss in comparison to what was originally supposed to be a game versus the Connecticut Huskies tonight!
Gamecock legend A’ja Wilson also made an appearance, which was pretty cool.
Next up on the schedule is a road contest against Florida this Sunday at noon.