The last team to take down the Gamecocks before embarking on this 28-game winning streak was Kentucky, and they were not able to reset that number Thursday night.
Top-ranked South Carolina (22-0, 10-0) defeated the Kentucky Wildcats (10-12, 2-8) in front of the home fans by the score of 87-69.
This was a game defined by runs led by both squads, although USC was able to finally pull away in the third quarter.
The first blow was landed by Kentucky, as the Wildcats took a surprising 16-15 lead with 2:49 remaining in the first quarter following a string of buckets from Adebola Adeyeye.
South Carolina then responded – as they tend to do – with a 17-2 run led primarily by the second unit, which contributed 12 of the 17 points.
At the conclusion of that run, Kentucky immediately began a 11-3 run of its own, cutting the lead to 6 with just over five minutes to play in the first half.
The Gamecocks regained control to end the frame, going on a 11-2 run highlighted by points in the paint and a Laeticia Amihere steal-and-score to take a 15-point lead into the break.
Most teams fold when South Carolina goes on that streak to break things open a bit, but Kentucky came out of halftime firing.
The Wildcats cooked up yet another run, this time an 11-2 stretch of scoring to once again cut the Gamecock lead to six, capped off by a three from Blair Green with 6:02 to play in the third quarter.
USC wouldn’t even score its first basket of the half until a whole three minutes went by.
After waking up a bit and finally playing like the best team in the nation again, the Gamecocks went on a 13-2 run to end the third quarter with seven of those points coming from Kamilla Cardoso.
Unlike the first three quarters, Kentucky did not have another run in them.
The Gamecock lead would grow to 25 at its peak, and the benches were emptied.
On a day where Zia Cooke still has not returned to playing like her normal self – scoring nine on 2-of-9 shooting – Boston, Cardoso and the whole team, frankly, picked up the load.
Boston netted the 75th double-double of her career with 14 points and 14 rebounds, Cardoso also contributed 14 points and the bench as a whole had a day, scoring 48.
Kentucky simply could not match up with the size of South Carolina, surrendering a whopping 62 points in the paint, or their depth, with USC repping eight players who put up at least five points.
And although the Wildcats put the “free” in free throw shooting, converting on 25 of their 26 chances, they struggled to generate any kind of offense outside of driving, hoping for contact, or three-point shooting.
At the end of the day Kentucky picked up its third loss in four games and South Carolina remains undefeated.
The Gamecocks take the court next this Sunday afternoon as they travel to Hartford for a highly anticipated matchup against the Connecticut Huskies.