Boston powers No. 1 South Carolina to 79-38 blowout of Elon
The defense totals a season high 13 blocks to help hold the Phoenix to 15 second-half points
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Aliyah Boston scored 12 points and blocked three shots, and No. 1 South Carolina beat Elon 79-38 on Friday.
South Carolina had a 16-point lead trimmed to 33-27 early in the third quarter. But the Gamecocks responded with a 16-0 run to put away the Phoenix (4-1) and improve to 7-0 for the first time since the 2016-17 season.
Zia Cooke finished with 11 points and Destanni Henderson had 10.
South Carolina returned home for the first time since its run to the Battle4Atlantis title, which included double-digit wins over Oregon and UConn.
The Gamecocks kept up their strong play early against Elon. Boston went for six points and two blocks the first 10 minutes. When Henderson hit a 3-pointer just seven minutes in, South Carolina led 20-4 and looked ready to roll the rest of the way.
But Elon didn’t cave, going on a 19-8 surge the next eight minutes. The Gamecocks recovered down the stretch as Cooke hit a 3-pointer and Henderson converted a driving basket to help their team to a 33-23 halftime lead.
Ariana Nance led Elon with 13 points, matching her career high.
South Carolina finished with a season-high 13 blocks from eight different players.
South Carolina coach Dawn Staley and her Elon counterpart, Charlotte Smith, were teammates on the Charlotte Sting in the WNBA. They were also ACC standouts who competed against each other in 1992, Staley with Virginia and Smith for North Carolina.
- South Carolina’s defense was stout in the opening quarter, blocking six of Elon’s 15 shots in the period. The Gamecocks finished with a season-high 13 blocks; eight different individuals recorded at least one block in the game.
- Victaria Saxton sparked the team’s interior presence early, collecting three of her game-high five offensive rebounds in the first quarter. The team had a +/- total of +48 in the 18 minutes she was on the court.
- The Gamecocks used their height advantage to finish with a 40-10 margin in points in the paint. The 40 points are tied for the second most in a game so far this season, and the 10 points allowed to Elon are the fewest by a South Carolina opponent this season by a wide margin – the next closest was 22 by Buffalo on Nov. 20.
- The scoring success inside was thanks to an efficient passing game from South Carolina’s interior players. Among the five forwards (Boston, Saxton, Cardoso, Amihere, Feagin), the group had eight of the team’s 17 assists and committed just five turnovers.
- The Gamecocks’ 45 rebounds is the third-highest total of the season. Brea Beal led the team with eight rebounds and three other Gamecocks finished with five or more boards.
- South Carolina’s bench scored all 27 of the team’s points in the fourth quarter. That total alone would’ve been the fourth-best single-game output so far for the group this season, but the 31 total bench points ranks second only behind the 38-point effort vs. Buffalo through seven games.
- Leading the bench production in the fourth quarter were Kamilla Cardoso (6 points) and Sania Feagin (9). The pair did not miss a shot in the period, while adding six rebounds and a pair of blocks.
The team’s four-game home stand continues Monday, Nov. 29 with a 7 p.m. game against North Carolina A&T. The game against the Aggies will air on the SEC Network.