Gamecocks rally past LSU

USC Gamecocks

FILE – In this Feb. 27, 2020, file photo, South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley reacts to an official’s call during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Florida in Gainesville, Fla. Dawn Staley and South Carolina have agreed to a new, seven-year contract that will pay her $2.9 million this season and grow to $3.5 million in the final season. The school’s Board of Trustees approved the deal worth $22.4 million on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, to keep the national championship coach with the Gamecocks through the 2027-28 season. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough, File)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – Aliyah Boston had 19 points and 18 rebounds, and top-ranked South Carolina beat No. 13 LSU 66-60 on Thursday night, ending the Tigers’ 13-game winning streak.

Zia Cooke scored 17 points and Destanni Henderson had 16 for the Gamecocks (14-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference), who have won two straight since losing in overtime at Missouri in their SEC opener.

South Carolina trailed by six points at halftime but built a seven-point lead with 5:21 left. LSU (14-1, 2-1) twice got within three points but could not get closer.

Khayla Porter scored 22 points for the Tigers and Alexis Morris added 14.

Jailin Cherry’s jumper with 13.2 seconds left got LSU within 64-60, but one last offensive rebound by Boston off a missed free throw helped South Carolina close out a game in which it dominated the boards 48-24.

LSU came out of the gate sizzling, hitting its first nine of 11 shots, and the Tigers led 29-18 midway through the second quarter. But the Gamecocks found some rhythm and got within 34-28 at halftime.

South Carolina pushed ahead 36-35 in the third quarter as LSU’s offense went cold and led 47-44 heading into the fourth.

At that point, LSU’s starting front line was in foul trouble. Aifuwa had four fouls, Autumn Newby had three, and reserve forward Awa Trasi also had three.

None of them could handle Boston.

NOTABLE

  • South Carolina extends a 13-game win streak against the Tigers, stretching back to January of 2012.
  • Per ESPN Stats, South Carolina is the first SEC team to beat seven ranked opponents in first 15 games of a season since Tennessee in 2007-08.
  • The Gamecocks had to weather a storm in the opening quarter; LSU made its first seven attempts and shot 69 percent (9-13) from the field in the first period. In the following three quarters, the Tigers shot 35.8 percent.
  • Zia Cooke carried the offense on her back in the first half, scoring 11 of her 17 points in the first two quarters while playing all 20 minutes. She has scored in double figures in each of the team’s first three SEC games after scoring just 11 points total in the previous two non-conference matchups.
  • After another opening half stifled by foul trouble, Aliyah Boston powered the team’s comeback in the third quarter with five points and eight rebounds (four offensive) in the period. She finished with 14 points and 15 rebounds in the second half alone, her 18 total rebounds are a season high.
  • Boston’s prowess on the offensive glass was especially valuable for South Carolina; her seven offensive rebounds were just three fewer than LSU had as a team and her final rebound off a missed Gamecock free throw helped seal the victory in the closing seconds.
  • In a battle of two of the top rebounding teams in the country, South Carolina made it known who was number one on Thursday, out-rebounding LSU 48-24 despite missing post players Laeticia Amihere and Kamilla Cardoso and their combined 9.8 rebounds per game. The Tigers came into the game averaging 44.7 rebounds per game and enjoyed a rebounding margin of +11.7 before facing the Gamecocks.
  • In typical Brea Beal fashion, the junior guard’s hustle spurred on the team’s comeback in the third quarter with six points, none bigger than her 3-pointer with 4:53 to play in the quarter to give the team a 41-38 lead. She also added four rebounds in the third.
  • South Carolina was its own worst enemy in the first half, committing 13 turnovers to LSU’s five. As the game got tight late, though, the team shored up its errors and had just two in the fourth quarter to limit extra chances for the Tigers.
  • Destanni Henderson made sure the LSU home crowd didn’t build up steam in the fourth quarter, the senior guard hit a pair of 3-pointers in the final period to extend Carolina’s leads to 52-44 and 59-52, respectively. Henderson finished with 16 points – 12 coming in the second half.
  • Thanks to her team-high four blocks – three coming in the first half – Victaria Saxton moved up to ninth in program history for career denials. Her 142 blocks moves her past Demetress Adams (140; 2006-09).
  • LeLe Grissett played 13 minutes off the bench, her 64th career SEC game played. That ties her with Tyasha Harris (2017-20), Tiffany Mitchell (2013-16) and Ieasia Walker (2010-13) for the most in program history.
  • Each team’s starting lineups had to shoulder the load, with South Carolina’s shorthanded bench totaling one point and LSU’s bench scoring two. The Gamecock bench’s previous scoring low for the season was 11, against UConn (Nov. 22).

UP NEXT
Another nationally ranked opponent awaits South Carolina, #20/21 Kentucky will travel to Colonial Life Arena for a 1 p.m. game on Sunday, Jan. 9. The Wildcats are 8-3 for the year and 1-0 in conference play after defeating #15/14 Georgia at home on Thursday night, 84-76.

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