South Carolina holds off LSU for 31st straight SEC win, 66-59

USC Gamecocks

South Carolina guard Destanni Henderson (3) drives to the hoop against LSU guard Karli Seay (23) and Khayla Pointer (3) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Destanni Henderson scored 19 points and Aliyah Boston added 12 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks as No. 1 South Carolina beat LSU 66-59 on Sunday for its 31st straight Southeastern Conference victory.

The Gamecocks (17-2, 12-0 SEC) haven’t lost in league play since falling to Arkansas in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals in March 2019.

Boston finished with her 10th double-double this season and 23rd of her career as South Carolina won its 12th straight over LSU. Zia Cooke added 13 points for the Gamecocks.

Jailin Cherry had a career-high 19 points to lead LSU (8-10, 6-6). Faustine Aifuwa had 11 points and 12 rebounds, her ninth double-double this season for the Tigers.

Henderson had her second consecutive standout performance after she acknowledged her failures – the junior point guard had eight turnovers – in a 63-59 overtime loss at No. 2 UConn on Monday night that likely will drop South Carolina from the top spot when the new rankings come out Monday.

Henderson, who had seven points during a decisive third-quarter run in Thursday’s win over Missouri, picked up where she left off against LSU.

The Gamecocks used a 12-0 run and some tight defense in the opening quarter to build a big lead that LSU could not overcome. The Tigers trailed by 18 in the third quarter before getting within single digits at the end.

Cooke started the run with a jumper and two foul shots. Henderson hit a basket and Boston followed with two inside shots before Henderson scored the next five points.

Henderson kept the pressure on LSU with a sweet driving, left-handed layup and a long 3 as South Carolina went up 27-13.

Henderson finished with three of South Carolina’s four 3-pointers.

LSU struggled to hit shots, missing eight straight during one stretch. The Tigers were sloppy handling the ball, too, with 11 first-half turnovers.

THE BIG PICTURE

LSU: The Tigers have lost their past three games and fell to 1-4 against ranked teams. Things don’t get easier the final two weeks of the regular season; they face ranked opponents Kentucky, Arkansas and Mississippi State down the stretch.

South Carolina: The Gamecocks seem to have put away the disappointment of losing to UConn and are focusing on their goal of more SEC titles in the regular season and upcoming tournament next month.


STALEY MILESTONE

The SEC regular-season win was the 150th in Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley‘s 12 seasons. She tied Texas A&M coach Gary Blair for the most league wins among active coaches.

KEY STAT
Carolina dominated on the glass, outrebounding LSU 49-32, and held a 19-10 advantage on the offensive end setting up 23 second-chance points compared to seven for the Tigers.

NOTABLES

  • Carolina extended its program-record SEC winning streak to 31 games, tied for the second longest SEC winning streak in league history.
  • The South Carolina defense continued to hold teams in check with the Tigers becoming the 15th opponent to fall short of the 65-point plateau this season.
  • Junior Destanni Henderson locked in early with seven points in the opening quarter and had another seven-point quarter in the third on her way to a game-high 19 points, just a point shy of what would have been her fourth 20-point game of the season.
  • Sophomore Aliyah Boston earned her 10th double-double of the season with 12 points and 13 rebounds, her third double-double in a row and seventh in SEC play, which matches her conference total from last season. Boston also swatted six shots, moving her into seventh place in program history with 146 career blocks.
  • Sophomore Zia Cooke scored Carolina’s first four points of the day, erasing the only LSU lead of the game, and rattled off seven of her 13 points in the second quarter for her eighth straight game in double figures.


UP NEXT
The No. 1/3 Gamecocks (17-2, 12-0 SEC) head to Rocky Top for a clash with No. 16/19 Tennessee on Thursday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. on the SEC Network.

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