Boston helps No. 1 South Carolina hold off Kentucky 59-50
The Gamecocks score 46 points in the paint to secure the win
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) – Aliyah Boston had 14 points and 15 rebounds, including a key free throw and board late that helped top-ranked South Carolina get past Kentucky 59-50 on Thursday night for its 10th consecutive victory.
The Gamecocks (22-1, 10-1 Southeastern Conference) led by as many as 18 points early in the fourth quarter before the Wildcats fought back – with Rhyne Howard scoring 16 of her 21 points in the quarter.
She got Kentucky to within 55-48 with 1:25 remaining on a three-point play. A review of a loose ball gave Kentucky possession, but Howard missed a jumper. Destanni Henderson and Lele Grissett each made one of two free throws to give South Carolina some needed space.
Treasure Hunt’s two free throws with 53 seconds left got Kentucky within 58-50, but Boston made a free throw a couple of seconds later. The junior forward then grabbed a late rebound that helped the Gamecocks run out of the clock and sweep the Wildcats for its 14th series win in 15 meetings.
Kentucky (9-11, 2-8) dropped its fourth consecutive game and eighth of nine overall.
Boston again thrived on both ends, posting her 17th double-double in 18 games. South Carolina out shot Kentucky just 39% to 36% but controlled boards 46-35.
- Dating back to its victory at home over Kentucky on Jan. 9, South Carolina’s defense is holding opponents to a 46.5 points per game scoring average over eight victories. The Wildcats’ 54 points in the first meeting is the highest point total in that game span.
- Victaria Saxton went to work early, scoring the team’s first four points and pulling down five rebounds in the first three minutes of the game. After coming a rebound shy of a double-double in the first meeting, she finished the game with a season-high 11 boards to go with eight points and five blocks.
- South Carolina scored its first 28 points of the game from inside the paint. It wasn’t until a 3-pointer from Zia Cooke with 7:47 to play in the third quarter that the streak was snapped. The Gamecocks finished with 46 points in the paint for the night; along with 10 free throws made, Cooke’s 3 was the only field goal made outside the paint in 62 total field goal attempts.
- Aliyah Boston reached 10 rebounds before halftime and secured her 16th-straight double-double with seven minutes to play in the third quarter. It was a historic one for the junior’s career as well; she is now the program’s all-time leader in double-doubles against SEC opponents, with 27 for her career.
- Saxton (5) and Boston (6) accounted for more than half of the team’s 20 offensive rebounds in the game; South Carolina enjoyed a 21-4 margin in second-chance points scored.
- After going scoreless over 12 minutes in the first half, Zia Cooke led the team with 10 second-half points on 4-of-6 shooting.
- The Gamecock post rotation was thin on Thursday, with Laeticia Amihere and Kamilla Cardoso out representing Canada and Brazil, respectively, in FIBA World Cup qualifying games.
- Despite the pair’s absence, the Gamecock bench logged healthy minutes on Thursday. Three reserves played for 15 minutes or more – Bree Hall, LeLe Grissett and Saniya Rivers. The trio combined for 14 points and six rebounds.
Capping the team’s week of road action is a Sunday matinee at Georgia, a noon tip on ESPN2. The Bulldogs are currently ranked 17th nationally in the latest AP poll with an overall record of 17-5 and a 6-4 mark in conference play.