Coming into this one, it was not a shocker to think a blowout was in the cards. The spread was 33 points in USC’s favor, and it featured the top squad in the nation going against a team still seeking its first win in conference play.
That victory did not come tonight, and the blowout did in fact occur.
Top-ranked South Carolina (19-0, 7-0) defeated the struggling Vanderbilt Commodores (9-11, 0-6) Thursday night in Nashville by the score of 96-48.
The game was competitive for about a quarter, and Vanderbilt even had a 9-8 lead with 4:22 remaining in the first period, but as the Gamecocks tend to do, they went on a run right when things got a little tough.
Directly after that moment, South Carolina embarked on what would eventually become an 18-0 run to put this game to bed.
Vanderbilt failed to score for about nine minutes straight, and the squad struggled to get anything going offensively when the ball wasn’t in the hands of standout guard Marnelle Garraud, who finished with 15 points on 6-of-21 shooting.
As a team, Vanderbilt shot 22% from the field in the first half and 30% overall, which included a fourth quarter played exclusively by South Carolina reserves.
Defensively, the Commodores struggled to match up with the size of the Gamecocks – most notedly Aliyah Boston and Kamilla Cardoso, who finished with 10 and 15 rebounds respectively.
Of the team’s 96 total points, 60 of them came from in the paint.
Despite the team’s overwhelming success on the night, it was obvious the goal for Dawn Staley was to play around/tinker with different lineup combinations to see what worked and what didn’t against a team that may not be fantastic but is still a team competing in the SEC.
To prove that point, there were eight different scorers for the Gamecocks in the first half, and that was before they even shut down the starters!
The game also presented a chance to get freshman Chloe Kitts some minutes, who posted a mainly empty stat sheet apart from making her one and only shot, a layup with 2:45 to play in the game.
The standouts in this one were – surprise, surprise – Zia Cooke and Aliyah Boston who scored 17 and 16 points each in just over 20 minutes played.
Boston also shot a perfect 8-of-8 and recorded yet another double-double, recording 10 rebounds to go with her point total.
The Cocks return home this Sunday afternoon for their next game against the Arkansas Razorbacks, which should serve as more of a test for a team of this caliber.