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Boston, Cooke lead No. 1 South Carolina in rout of Kentucky
Boston, Cooke lead No. 1 South Carolina in rout of Kentucky
Women's Basketball  . 

Boston, Cooke lead No. 1 South Carolina in rout of Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP)Aliyah Boston had 21 points and 11 rebounds, Zia Cooke scored 10 of her 20 points during a 16-0 second-quarter rally and top-ranked South Carolina pulled away in the fourth quarter to rout Kentucky 95-66 on Thursday night.

After battling back to win at Mississippi State on Sunday, the Gamecocks (17-0, 5-0 Southeastern Conference) overcame another road challenge from the Wildcats to retain a share of first place in the conference.

Kentucky’s 14-1 run provided a 31-21 lead midway through the second quarter and a huge dose of confidence against the reigning national champions. But South Carolina quickly seized momentum. Boston, who was 9 of 11 shooting, responded with a jumper and Cooke added a 3-pointer, a three-point play and two layups during the surge to lead 37-33 at the break.

The Gamecocks maintained a small cushion after three quarters before going 13 of 17 from the floor in the fourth to pull away.

Maddie Scherr scored a career-high 25 points with five 3s for the Wildcats (8-9, 0-4), who fell to their second top-10 opponent this week. Kentucky lost 67-48 to now-No. 5 LSU on Sunday at Rupp Arena.

South Carolina nearly doubled Kentucky in scoring in the paint (62-32) on the way to shooting 64% (35 of 55). Kamilla Cardoso added 12 points and Laeticia Amihere 11 as the Gamecocks also dominated bench scoring 39-10.

The teams met for the first time since Kentucky upset the top-seeded Gamecocks 64-62 to win the SEC Tournament title. South Carolina went on to win its second national title and hasn’t looked back, though it entered the contest in a four-way tie atop the league.

Notables

  • South Carolina exploded on offense in the final quarter, outscoring Kentucky 36-15, shooting 76.5 percent from the field … the 36 points are the most in a quarter this season and  is tied for the second most in program history.
  • The Gamecocks finished shooting 63.6 percent from the field, the highest this year.
  • South Carolina had two 20+ point scorers in Zia Cooke and Aliyah Boston, the first time since Boston and Victoria Saxton did the same vs. Mercer in 2021 (03/21).
  • Boston recorded her 10th double-double of the season, tallying a season high 21 points with half coming in the first quarter…her lone offensive rebound placed her at the No. 1 spot in the Gamecock record books for the category with a total of 449 in her career.

  • Raven Johnson tied career highs of nine points and seven assists on the night, knocking down a three with under two minutes to go in the third quarter to extend the Gamecocks’ lead by five.