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No. 1 South Carolina downs Missouri
Women's Basketball  . 

No. 1 South Carolina downs Missouri


Associated Press

Box Score

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) – South Carolina earned its No. 1 ranking with a style coach Dawn Staley described as “fast and fluid.”
The Gamecocks showed they could overwhelm an opponent with their size in a half-court game on Thursday, beating Missouri 78-45.
“We pass the bus test, for sure, with our length and our height,” Staley said, referring to how impressive her team looks getting off a bus. “We use it to our advantage. … We pounded the boards and gave ourselves multiple opportunities to make baskets.”
South Carolina (17-1, 5-0 Southeastern Conference) grabbed 25 offensive rebounds and held a 62-31 edge in total rebounds.
Aliyah Boston, a 6-foot-5 freshman, and Victaria Saxon, a 6-2 sophomore, each finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Zia Cooke and Mikiah Herbert Harrigan scored 14 each for the Gamecocks, who played their first game since taking over the top spot in the AP Top 25.
Freshman guard Aijha Blackwell scored 13 points to lead the Tigers (4-14, 1-4). Missouri shot just 27.3%.
After a sluggish start, the Gamecocks started to pull away in the second quarter, outscoring the Tigers 18-3 in the last six minutes of the first half for a 35-17 lead.
“They make you shoot from the outside,” Staley said. “If you’re not prepared for them sagging off you, you tend to make bad decisions and take bad shots. Fortunately for us, our bad decisions and bad shots were cleaned up by our ability to rebound the basketball.”
Defensively, the Gamecocks blocked eight shots and smothered Amber Smith, who leads Missouri in scoring, averaging 13 points. Smith didn’t score until the final minute of the third quarter and finished with four points on 1-of-8 shooting.
“We talked about what a great shot-blocking team they were, but you didn’t see us play off two feet or use a shot fake at the rim,” Missouri coach Robin Pingeton said. “Those little details make a big difference. We’re still working our way through some of that, but I’m still proud of our girls.”
South Carolina senior point guard Tyasha Harris finished with 11 points and five assists and became the second player in program history to surpass 1,000 points and 600 assists in a career. She joined Cristina Ciocan, who accomplished the feat from 2000-04.
“I’m kind of speechless,” Harris said. “I didn’t come here to get the assists record. I didn’t even know about it. But now that I’m on target to get it, I’m determined to get it.”
Harris has 603 assists, which is 12 off Ciocan’s school record.
“We haven’t really had a point guard like Ty,” Staley said. “She’s the consummate. She can pass the ball, obviously, but it’s her intellect and her ability to lead since she got here. She’s an old lady in our program. She knows exactly what we want, and she’s able to get people to elevate and play at her level.”

After struggling to find an offensive rhythm in the first quarter, the Gamecocks turned it on in the second, closing the half on an 18-3 run over the final 6:01 to take a 35-17 lead into halftime.
The Gamecocks dominated the glass on Thursday, out-rebounding the Tigers 62-31. The 62 rebounds ties the second-highest total under Staley, and the plus-31 margin ties the third largest margin since Staley took over in Columbia.

  • The Gamecocks stifled Missouri in the opening quarter, holding the Tigers to seven points, the eighth time Carolina has held an opponent to single digits in the opening frame.
  • Carolina improved to 5-0 in SEC with the win, the best start in conference play for the Garnet and Black since the 2016-17 squad notched an 8-0 start.
  • The Gamecocks controlled the boards all night, pulling down 62, tied for the second highest total under coach Staley, and out-rebounding by 31. The 25 offensive rebounds tallied by Carolina is a season high.
  • Mikiah Herbert Harrigan tied for game-high honors with 14 points. She is now 11 points away from joining the 1,000-point club.
  • Zia Cooke also tied for game-high honors with 14 points. The freshman has either led or tied for the team high in scoring in every SEC game this season.
  • Tyasha Harris poured in 11 points and dished out five assists, pushing her career total to 603. Harris is now one of two players in program history to score 1,000 points and tally 600 assists.
  • Aliyah Boston earned her seventh double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
  • Victaria Saxton finished with the first double-double of her career with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
  • Brea Beal had a quiet night offensively, but the freshman pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds.
  • This is the first game in which three Gamecocks cracked double figures in rebounding since A’ja Wilson, Alexis Jennings and Tyasha Harris against Arkansas on Jan. 25, 2018.

The Gamecocks (17-1, 5-0 SEC) return to Columbia for a showdown against No. 10/9 Mississippi State on Mon., Jan. 20. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at Colonial Life Arena, and the game airs live on ESPN 2.  

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