Following four rather lopsided victories, USC was finally able to sweat a little bit Sunday afternoon.
Top-ranked South Carolina (21-0, 9-0) defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide (16-6, 5-4) in Tuscaloosa by the score of 65-52.
Overall, this was not the greatest of games played by the best team in the nation.
The Gamecocks shot only 38% from the field and were held well under the team’s average point total of 83.4 for the month of January.
Alabama was even able to hold its own on the boards, which is something not a lot of teams could say coming into the game, getting out-rebounded 46 to 35.
The Crimson Tide’s 52 points was also the third most allowed by USC since December.
What does all of that add up to? A close contest up until the third quarter.
The score was 37-33 with 8:06 remaining in the period after coming into the quarter with a nine-point lead. Things were gearing up to be a neck-and-neck battle until the finish line was reached until – as South Carolina tends to do – they went on a run.
Following that moment, USC embarked on a key 11-2 run to transform a four-point game into a 48-35 lead with that momentum following the team into the final act.
The deficit for Alabama would grow to as large as 16 following a bucket by Laeticia Amihere with 4:21 to play to make the score 59-43, and the Gamecocks would not look back after that.
On a day where points didn’t come as easily for the Cocks as usual, two people were able to especially lead the charge.
The standouts during that 11-2 run – and the game in general – were Aliyah Boston and Bree Hall, who was able to contribute immensely in the scoring department during a game where Zia Cooke uncharacteristically put up only six points on 2-of-11 shooting.
Hall, who entered the game averaging 2.6 points and was shooting 1-of-11 from three-point range on the year, chose a hell of a time to score 18 points (a career high) and cash on four of her eight opportunities from beyond the arc.
And, of course, Aliyah Boston continued to do Aliyah Boston things, having her 14th double-double of the season, scoring 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting in addition to grabbing 12 boards.
South Carolina will look to extend this winning streak to 28 games this Thursday night when the team travels back to Columbia for a date with the Kentucky Wildcats, the second time seeing this particular foe this season.