Coming off a loss in the SEC Tournament championship game, top-seeded South Carolina (30-2) responded about as well as a team possibly can, blowing out 16-seed Howard (21-10) by the score of 79-21. Howard’s 21 points was also the fewest points scored ever in a women’s NCAA Tournament game.
Although the result is fantastic, it wasn’t exactly unexpected either with the Gamecocks entering this game as 45.5-points favorites, according to DraftKings Sportsbook, which is one of the largest spreads I’ve ever seen regardless of the sport.
Howard’s game plan was obvious: clog the paint and force South Carolina to score from the outside.
While that appears to be an effective way to stop USC on paper, it doesn’t exactly account for second chance or fast break points.
With the Gamecocks racking up a whopping 30 offensive boards, leading to dominance in the second chance points category, you can say that strategy didn’t have its desired outcome.
South Carolina opened the game on a 20-0 run on route to a 22-2 lead after the first quarter. Things didn’t get much for the Bison either as they struggled to match up with the size of the Gamecocks on both sides of the ball.
Howard shot 1-for-26 as a team and scored four total points in the first half. The lead would eventually grow to as large as 60 points in the fourth quarter as well.
In a game mainly dominated by backups, the bench scored 43 of South Carolina’s 79 total points. That unit was led by Sania Feagin, who scored 10 points, in addition to Lele Grissett and Bree Hall, who scored eight points a piece.
And yes, Aliyah Boston got her SEC-record 25th straight double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds in only 18 minutes.
Next up for South Carolina is a date with the Miami Hurricanes in the Round of 32 on Sunday with the time TBD.