Boston helps No. 1 South Carolina beat Alabama 83-51
The Gamecocks set season highs for points in a quarter (36) and points in a half (53)
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Aliyah Boston had 20 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks and No. 1 South Carolina beat Alabama 83-51 on Thursday night.
Zia Cooke made her first five shots and finished with 14 points for the Gamecocks (21-1, 9-1 SEC). Coupled with Florida’s victory over Tennessee, South Carolina took sole possession of the SEC lead.
Brittany Davis led Alabama (11-10, 2-8 SEC) with 20 points.
- Thursday marked the 20th win in a row over the Crimson Tide, South Carolina’s longest active win streak against a SEC opponent.
- Zia Cooke wasted no time extending that win streak, starting the game with baskets on her first three shots to score seven points in 95 seconds and force Alabama into a quick timeout. She didn’t slow down from there, finishing the quarter 5-of-5 from the field for 12 points in eight minutes of action.
- Cooke’s 12 points in the first quarter was more than the junior guard’s season average for scoring (11.5). She finished with 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting in 22 minutes on the court.
- Cooke’s opening salvo set the tone for a frenetic Gamecock offense. The team scored its 28th point with 2:24 to play in the period, which bested the team’s previous season-high for a quarter this season. South Carolina’s 36 points in the first quarter were the second-most in program history since making the format change from halves to quarters, behind only the 37-point effort against Saint Peter’s in the 1stquarter on Nov. 22, 2016. It is the tied for the most points scored in a single quarter against a SEC opponent (3rd quarter at Vanderbilt, Jan. 12, 2020).
- Kamilla Cardoso was on another level defensively in the second quarter, playing all 10 minutes and racking up eight rebounds, three blocked shots and six points in that time.
- With Cardoso’s big second quarter guarding the basket, South Carolina ended the first half with nine blocks. That total would have been a single-game high for the team 11 times this season and was higher than the team’s NCAA-leading blocks per game average (8.2). Overall, the defense totaled 15 swats, six coming from Aliyah Boston and five from Cardoso. It’s the third time this season the team reached 15 blocks in a game and it is the second-highest single-game total in program history.
- After a slow start to the second quarter, the Gamecock offense used a 10-0 run to spark a finish where the team scored 15 of its 17 points in the quarter over the final six minutes. Defensively, South Carolina limited Alabama to just one made field goal attempt on 16 attempts in the quarter.
- South Carolina finished with more points in the first half (53) than Alabama had for the game and it was thanks to a generous offense. The Gamecocks recorded 10 assists in the first half, with their starting five accounting for eight assists and just one turnover.
- As a team, the Gamecocks shot 53.2 percent from the field and scored 54 points in the paint, matching a season high set previously against Kentucky (Jan. 9).
- Aliyah Boston made every second on the court count on Thursday night. The junior played just 23 minutes but still posted a box score with 20 points, 10 rebounds, six blocks and three assists. Her double-double streak now stands at 15.
- With the Gamecocks comfortable in the lead for most of the game, head coach Dawn Staley was able to give extended minutes to her deep bench. The South Carolina reserves scored 32 points, led by Cardoso’s eight, Bree Hall’s nine and Saniya Rivers’ eight.
- The freshman combo of Hall and Rivers have been peaking as the calendar turns to February; Rivers is averaging 6.0 points and 16.5 minutes per game over the last four games and her classmate Hall is averaging 6.0 points and 12.8 minutes per game in that same stretch.
Next week features a pair of road games for South Carolina, starting in Lexington on Feb. 10 with a rematch against Kentucky. Tip time is set for 7 p.m. ET for a national audience on ESPN. In the first meeting with the Wildcats, on Jan. 9 in Columbia, South Carolina won over the then-20th-ranked ‘Cats by a score of 74-54. Capping the week of action is a Sunday matinee at Georgia, a noon tip on ESPN2. The Bulldogs are currently ranked 14th nationally.