Top-ranked South Carolina (23-1, 11-1) used a solid first quarter run to defeat No. 17 Georgia (17-7, 6-6) Sunday afternoon by the score of 72-54.
Through the first few minutes, it looked like the Gamecocks were going to have a real test. The Bulldogs were controlling the glass early, and they scored three quick baskets to take a 6-4 lead with 6:58 remaining in the first quarter.
That may not sound like a lot, but when teams like Alabama and Kentucky have five and eight-point quarters respectively against USC, scoring six in three minutes was an accomplishment that I thought could have been a sign of what’s to come.
The Gamecocks finished the first quarter on a 25-4 run, shooting 62.5% from the field and going 4-for-4 from three-point land. Zia Cooke also scored eight of her 10 points in the quarter.
After waiting until the second half to score a bucket outside the paint against Kentucky, USC had a very balanced attack in this game, which helped set up Aliyah Boston for inside success.
Additionally, South Carolina did a great job of forcing turnovers with 13 of Georgia’s 19 giveaways coming in the first half.
The Bulldogs did adjust well in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to dig themselves out of a 26-point halftime deficit. They outscored the Cocks by eight in the final two quarters and cut the lead to as little as 15.
USC also went about eight minutes without a score spanning the late third and early fourth quarters.
While a better finish to the game may have been ideal, it was still a very impressive showing for the Cocks.
The star for South Carolina was, once again, Aliyah Boston, who logged her 17th straight double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
Next up for the Gamecocks is a 7 p.m. contest at home this Thursday against Auburn.