SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Zia Cooke scored 13 of her 18 points in the second half, and top-ranked South Carolina overcame a sluggish offensive effort to beat South Dakota State 62-44 at the Sanford Pentagon on Thursday night.
The Gamecocks (9-0) shot a season-low 34.3% from the field, far below their season average of 48.2%, while also scoring a season low. South Carolina came in averaging 83 points per game and failed to reach 80 points for just the third time.
Cooke was 1 for 9 from the field in the first half but exploded for 11 points in the final quarter. Aliyah Boston added 12 points and nine rebounds for South Carolina.
Myah Selland scored 12 points for the Jackrabbits (7-5) and Brooklyn Meyer added 10.
Trailing by nine at halftime, South Dakota State got within six midway through the third period after Selland hit a 3-pointer followed by a pair of free throws from Dru Gylten.
The Gamecocks responded quickly. After a bucket from Kierra Fletcher, Brea Beal stole the inbounds pass and scored, giving South Carolina a 10-point advantage in a matter of seconds.
- Zia Cooke led with efficiency in the second half, going 6-for-9, including 4-of-6 in the 4th quarter, finishing with a team high 18 points
- Brea Beal excelled on defense, posting career highs of 6 steals and 5 blocks (with 3 of each in the first half) in addition to her 9 points with 6 coming in the final two periods
- Kamilla Cardoso was a force on the glass, tying a career high 15 rebounds (31.3% of the teams total) against the Jackrabbits in addition to 8 points
- Aliyah Boston ended in double digits, putting up 8 of her 12 points in the second quarter and 7 of her 9 rebounds in the second half
- South Carolina went on an 11-0 run in the 4th quarter after the Jackrabbits came within 6, ending the game with a nearly 20 point lead.