South Carolina (21-1, 9-1) used an overall stellar offensive performance to defeat Alabama (11-10, 2-8) Thursday night 83-51. Their 83 points scored was the team’s third highest total of the year.
The Gamecocks set the tone early, scoring a season-high 36 points in the first quarter. Alabama scored a respectable 19 points in comparison, but did not have any answers defensively as they watched the lead continue to grow.
Zia Cooke had 12 of her 14 points in the first quarter with Aliyah Boston racking up four of her six total blocks during the same time frame.
South Carolina’s defense adjusted rather quickly, holding Alabama to only five points in the second quarter and allowing only one made field goal on 16 attempts, as they went into the half up 29.
After outscoring the Crimson Tide 21-17 in the third quarter, Dawn Staley emptied her bench for the final 10 minutes of the contest, ending the nights of the starters very early.
Less time on the court for the starters meant more opportunities for the reserves. Kamilla Cardoso, Bree Hall and Saniya Rivers took advantage of some extra minutes, scoring eight, nine and eight points respectively.
The Gamecocks’ 14 turnovers were the only blemishes on what was as close to a perfect day as a team can have. They finished with a 53% field goal percentage, won the battle of the boards by 12, had 15 blocks and had very effective ball movement. South Carolina’s 54 points in the paint also matched a season high.
Additionally, Boston logged her 15th straight double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Because Tennessee lost to Florida, South Carolina’s win over Alabama put them in sole possession of first place in the SEC. The Gamecocks look to add to that win total next Thursday night on the road against Kentucky.