Arkansas just so happens to be the last team that was able to beat South Carolina in a SEC Tournament game, but things didn’t go that way Friday afternoon.
Top-ranked South Carolina (28-1) defeated Arkansas (18-13) 76-54 in a game they never trailed to advance to the conference tournament semifinals. This is also the 16th consecutive win for the Gamecocks and their second against the Razorbacks this season.
South Carolina had trouble getting things started in this one, missing their first six shots. Aliyah Boston finally got a ball in the basket on a layup with 7:21 remaining in the first quarter, and things looked much better from there.
After making one of their first ten shots, USC then made six of their next eight, extending the lead to ten on route to a 24-12 lead at the end of the first quarter.
While Arkansas did cut the lead to seven with 6:49 remaining in the third quarter, it was all Gamecocks throughout despite not playing their best game possible.
USC turned it over 17 times and went on cold stretches at many points in the game, including a run where they made one of eight shots at the end of the third quarter. The difference was when South Carolina went cold, so did Arkansas.
The defense stepped up when the offense couldn’t at times, which is why this team is so dangerous.
The struggles could have also been associated with giving the starters some rest to prepare for later in the weekend (Saxton, Beal and Cooke played just about half the game).
That doesn’t mean there weren’t any positives, though!
The Gamecocks got to the line with ease, shooting 28 free throws in comparison to 15 for the Razorbacks. They also dominated the boards once again, out-rebounding Arkansas 54 to 37, which also led to 21 second chance points.
While Boston shined in the contest, racking up another double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds, the surprise stud was Laeticia Amihere, who scored 16 off the bench on 7-of-13 shooting.
The tournament continues for the Gamecocks on Saturday when they will play either the Florida Gators or Ole Miss Rebels at 5 p.m.