Top-ranked South Carolina (27-1, 15-1) concluded its regular season on a high note Sunday afternoon, taking down Ole Miss (22-7, 10-6) by the score of 71-57.
This was USC’s 15th straight win and its second win over the Rebels this year, although this one contained much more drama in comparison to the 29-point thrashing back in late January.
While the Gamecock offense continued to flow, the bigger story was the defense finally showing some signs of struggle, allowing an opponent to score at least 57 points for the first time since Jan. 6 against LSU (they scored 60).
Shakira Austin was Ole Miss’ leading scorer with 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting, including eight of those points coming in the fourth quarter.
The Rebels stayed in the game for a while, even leading for a bit in the second quarter. Ole Miss cut the deficit to four points with 7:17 remaining in the fourth quarter following a jumper by Austin, but South Carolina responded with a 12-0 run, creating a hole too large to dig out of with just under two minutes left in the game.
The stars for the Cocks were Destanni Henderson, who tied her career high with 23 points, and Aliyah Boston, who extended her double-double streak to 21 with 15 points and 14 rebounds.
Another player who undoubtedly showed her worth was Brea Beal, who scored a season-high 11 points in addition to playing all 20 minutes in the second half.
South Carolina will enter the SEC Tournament in Nashville as the one seed while Ole Miss will have the four seed, both securing double-byes.
The Gamecocks take the court next this Friday at noon against either Arkansas or Missouri to kick off the tournament.