No. 1 South Carolina women rout Mississippi, reach SEC final
GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — Laeticia Amihere scored 17 points and Aliyah Boston posted her 80th career double-double to lead No. 1 South Carolina into the SEC Tournament final for the eighth time in nine seasons with an 80-51 victory over Mississippi on Saturday.
Boston had 10 points and 11 rebounds as the Gamecocks (31-0) won their 37th straight game. They will take on either No. 4 LSU or Tennessee for the conference championship on Sunday.
South Carolina needed a great escape at Mississippi two weeks ago, trailing late before forcing overtime and keeping its perfect season intact with a 64-57 victory.
The Gamecocks took the drama out of this one early with Zia Cooke and Boston getting four points apiece and Brea Beal adding a three-point play for a 13-4 lead less than seven minutes in. They stretched the lead to 15 points by halftime and were ahead by at least 20 points much of the final two quarters.
It was the second straight year Mississippi’s tournament was ended in the semifinals by the Gamecocks.
Boston, who surpassed Sheila Foster’s school career double-double mark earlier this season, broke Foster’s career rebounding record of 1,427 that stood for more than four decades. Boston now has 1,432 in her four seasons.
South Carolina will look for its seventh tournament crown since 2015, along with a bit of payback since its last loss came in the final of this event a year ago to Kentucky.
South Carolina’s defense, third in Division I in holding opponents to 50.9 points a game, was on full display. The Rebels made just two of their first 13 shots and had eight of their attempts blocked the first 20 minutes.
Mississippi could not find an answer and matched its fewest points in a game this season.
Leading scorer Angel Baker, averaging 15.3 points coming in, was held to nine on 4-of-15 shooting. Madison Scott led the Rebels with 15 points,
Kamilla Cardoso also had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Cooke finished with 14 points and Beal 13 for the Gamecocks.
- South Carolina’s win over Ole Miss marked the Gamecocks’ fifth by 20 points or more in an SEC semifinal game.
- Block Party: The Gamecocks denied 14 shots on the day with eight coming in the first half, tying their highest in an SEC game this season (Kentucky 2/2, Vandy 1/19).
- South Carolina dominated the paint, putting up 54 of its 80 points in the paint (67.5 percent) compared with the Rebels’ 51 total game points.
- Laticia Amihere scored her first back-to-back double-figure games this season with 17 points, seven assists and three blocks all in 25 minutes of play to lead the team for just the second time this year.
- Zia Cooke had a strong first quarter, scoring half of her 14 points after contributing seven to a 9-3 run, capped off with a 3.
- Brea Beal had a night, going 5-of-7 from the field and 2-of-3 from behind the arc to give herself the seventh double-figure game on the year with 13 points.
- Kamilla Cardoso put up nine of her 12 boards in the second quarter, followed by eight of her 12 points in the final 10 minutes to secure her eighth double-double of the season.