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Women's Basketball  . 

Boston, No. 1 South Carolina women win at No. 15 Duke 55-46

by By AARON BEARD / AP

The Gamecock defense held the Blue Devils to a season-low point total

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Aliyah Boston had 19 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks while top-ranked South Carolina dominated the boards to beat No. 15 Duke 55-46 on Wednesday night.

South Carolina finished with a 45-25 rebounding advantage that included 19-5 on the offensive glass, leading to a 17-4 edge in second-chance points. That helped offset 35% shooting to secure the team’s fifth win against an opponent ranked 15th or better in the AP Top 25 this season.

Duke trimmed a 16-point deficit to 42-35 early in the fourth period, but South Carolina (11-0) responded by scoring on five straight possessions to stretch the margin back out to 15. Three of those baskets came inside from the 6-foot-5 Boston, a preseason Associated Press All-American who found herself facing frequent double teams.

Shayeann Day-Wilson scored 17 points to lead the Blue Devils (8-1), who relied on an active zone to collapse when the ball entered the paint. The defense made South Carolina work, but the offense struggled to get going.

Elizabeth Balogun hit a 3-pointer on the first possession, but Duke then missed 10 straight shots in an eight-minute scoreless streak that pushed South Carolina to a 17-3 lead.

Duke twice got as close as seven, the last at 53-46 on a four-point play from Day-Wilson with 19.1 seconds left.

Duke shot just 29% in the first half, including 2 for 12 from 3-point range, and finished the game at 34%. In addition, the teamwide rebounding effort that second-year coach Kara Lawson had hoped for didn’t materialize until after South Carolina went up big.

Duke fell to 3-11 against No. 1-ranked teams, losing for the sixth straight time since beating Maryland in January 2007.
 
NOTABLE

  • Following a Duke 3-pointer to open the game, South Carolina ran off the next 17 points unanswered over a span of 8:15, forcing the Blue Devils into 10 missed shots and four turnovers in the outburst.
  • Duke’s field goal percentage of 15.4 (2-13) in the first quarter was the its lowest of the season to date. The Blue Devils’ 16 points in the first half was also their lowest-scoring half of their season to date and their 46 points for the game is their lowest since March of 2019.
  • The Blue Devils entered Wednesday with the 11th-highest team field goal percentage in the country (47.9 percent) but converted at just 34 percent Wednesday (17-of-50).
  • Destiny Littleton carried the offense in the second quarter, knocking down a trio of 3s to account for nine of the team’s 15 points in the quarter. The senior guard finished with a season-best 10 points playing 19 minutes.
  • South Carolina was +16 in rebounds in the first 20 minutes of the game. The Gamecocks had more offensive rebounds (12) than Duke had total rebounds (8). Aliyah Boston led the team in the first half, matching the Blue Devils total production with eight boards to go with nine points.
  • The rebounding advantage paid dividends on the scoreboard; South Carolina enjoyed a 14-0 advantage in second-chance points and a 14-4 advantage in points in the paint in the opening half.
  • The final margin on the boards was +18 for the Gamecocks, most importantly +13 (19-6) on offensive rebounds. Victaria Saxton led that effort with six offensive rebounds, her third game in the last five outings with five or more offensive rebounds.
  • Duke responded after a slow first half to edge out a 30-23 advantage in second-half scoring. It is the first time this season that the Gamecocks were outscored in a half; opponents have outscored Carolina in just seven out of a possible 44 quarters played so far this season.
  • Aliyah Boston snapped the offense out of a funk with baskets on three consecutive possessions to ward off a Blue Devil rally early in the fourth quarter. The junior finished with a game-high 19 points to go with 14 rebounds. Boston has a double-double in four consecutive games and five in the last six outings total.

QUOTABLE

UP NEXT
After two top-15-ranked opponents in a span of three days, the Gamecocks will have a break before their next outing. The non-conference schedule closes out on Dec. 21, when Stanford comes to Colonial Life Arena for a 2021 Final Four rematch. The Tuesday game will be a 7 p.m. tip, airing on ESPN2.

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