Boston keeps No. 1 South Carolina perfect in 81-50 win

Jan 14, 2023, 10:02 PM | Updated: Jan 15, 2023, 1:20 pm
South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley communicates with players as South Carolina guard Raven Johns...

South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley communicates with players as South Carolina guard Raven Johnson (25) checks in during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023, in Columbia, S.C. South Carolina won 81-51. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

(AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

              South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley communicates with players as South Carolina guard Raven Johnson (25) checks in during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023, in Columbia, S.C. South Carolina won 81-51. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
            
              South Carolina forward Victaria Saxton (5) battles in the paint against Missouri guard Haley Troup, left, and Haley Frank, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
            
              South Carolina guard Bree Hall (23) reacts to a basket by a teammate during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Missouri Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
            
              Missouri head coach Robin Pingeton talks with an official during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against South Carolina, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
            
              Missouri guard Luraen Hansen, left, drives to the hoop against South Carolina guard Zia Cooke, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
            
              South Carolina guard Zia Cooke plays defense during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
            
              South Carolina forward Aliyah Boston (4) looks to pass the ball against Missouri guard Haley Troup (13) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Dawn Staley accepts that Aliyah Boston’s decorated career at South Carolina is steadily coming to an end. So the Gamecocks coach plans to enjoy every moment Boston has left on the court.

The 6-foot-5 senior had 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead No. 1 South Carolina to an 81-50 victory over Missouri in Sunday. It was Boston’s 71st double-double, moving her one away from the program’s all-time record that’s held by Shelia Foster.

“We’re savoring everything that she brings to the table,” Staley said of Boston, who is the expected No. 1 pick in the next WNBA draft. “There’s going to a huge void.”

And not just for the Gamecocks, Staley believes: “For all the things she does for women’s basketball, we’re going to miss her.”

Boston’s 11th game with double-figure points and rebounds this season kept the Gamecocks perfect at 18-0 and 6-0 in the Southeastern Conference. Zia Cooke added 16 points and Ashlyn Watkins 13 for the Gamecocks.

Missouri (14-5, 3-3) lost its third straight after opening SEC play with three consecutive victories. Lauren Hansen finished with 14 points to lead the Tigers.

The Tigers, which ended South Carolina’s perfect start a season ago, came out firing from the field and ready to go toe-to-toe with the Gamecocks in the paint. Hansen had three 3-pointers in the opening quarter and the game was tied at 17 in the final minute of the period.

That’s when South Carolina pushed the pace and left Mizzou in the dust with a 30-11 burst. Cooke had a pair of 3s in the surge and backup point guard Raven Johnson led charge with four assists and two steals in the second quarter.

One of Johnson’s top dimes was a bullet pass from the right side of the key through several defenders to Brea Beal for an easy layup.

Cooke like how her team locked into to its defense and fastbreak to shut down the Tigers’ outside game, saying, “Once we were able to do that, the lead started to open up.”

Missouri played its typical physical game against South Carolina. Tigers center Jayla Kelly fouled Kamilla Cardoso hard and the 6-foot-7 player fell flat to the floor. Staley yelled at officials, calling for a technical foul to no avail.

Missouri had just three field goals and one rebound in the second quarter as the Gamecocks led 47-28. South Carolina kept piling on in the second half to lead by as many as 33 points.

Missouri coach Robin Pingeton said South Carolina’s talent and depth took control as the game wore on. She said her team has a week to reflect and refocus on playing winning basketball.

“I feel like our locker room is rock-solid. I feel there’s great maturity in there,” she said. “I feel like this is a team that’s really resilient and understands the big picture of where we’re trying to get to.”

BIG PICTURE

Missouri: The Tigers could not hold up down low against the taller, stronger Gamecocks. They were outrebounded 52-22 overall and 23-4 on the offensive glass. South Carolina’s pressure forced 15 turnovers and the Tigers committed 26 fouls.

South Carolina: The defending national champions once again showed a fire to put away opponents as they drive toward more trophies. It will take a team playing out of its mind, South Carolina performing way below par or both for anyone to slow this team down.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

South Carolina finished a satisfying week of victories. Between Sunday’s win and a 95-66 drubbing at Kentucky this past Thursday night, the Gamecocks defeated the only two teams to beat them last season in consecutive games. “It’s good,” Cooke said, “But we want to win them all.”

UP NEXT

Missouri: Returns home to play Tennessee on Jan. 22.

South Carolina: Goes to Vanderbilt on Thursday night.

___

AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) drives as Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley (11) defends during the f...
Associated Press

Young scores 27 to lead Hawks past Jazz, 115-108

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Trae Young had 27 points and six assists to lead the Atlanta Hawks to a 115-108 victory over the Utah Jazz on Friday night. De’Andre Hunter scored 26 points for the Hawks. Onyeka Okongwu had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Dejounte Murray added 13 points and eight assists. Atlanta […]
1 day ago
Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) shoots a three point basket as Houston Rockets forward Jae...
Associated Press

VanVleet has 32 as Raptors get 117-111 win over Rockets

HOUSTON (AP) — Fred VanVleet scored 32 points, Gary Trent Jr. added 29 and the Toronto Raptors snapped a two-game skid with a 117-111 win over the Houston Rockets on Friday night. The Raptors took a commanding lead in the third quarter and were up by double-digits for most of the fourth. But five straight […]
1 day ago
Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons (1) shoots against Washington Wizards guard Monte Morr...
Associated Press

Blazers rally from 20 down to end Wizards’ win streak

WASHINGTON (AP) — Anfernee Simons scored 20 of his 33 points in the third quarter and the Portland Trail Blazers erased a 20-point deficit, snapping Washington’s six-game winning streak Friday night with a 124-116 victory over the Wizards. Simons made six of Portland’s nine 3-pointers in the third, and the Trail Blazers finally caught and […]
1 day ago
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) is fouled as he drives to the basket against San Antonio...
Associated Press

Embiid’s double-double keys 76ers as Spurs drop 8th straight

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Joel Embiid had 33 points and 10 rebounds and the Philadelphia 76ers beat San Antonio 137-125 on Friday night, sending the scuffling Spurs to their eighth straight loss. Tyrese Maxey had 25 points and James Harden added 16 for Philadelphia, which has the third-best record in the Eastern Conference. “Tonight was […]
1 day ago
A scrum breaks out between Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando Magic players during the second half ...
Associated Press

Fight between Magic, Timberwolves leads to 5 players ejected

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A fight broke out and punches were thrown during the game between the Orlando Magic and Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night. Five players were ejected following the brawl, which started in front of the Orlando bench late in the third quarter. Minnesota guard Austin Rivers and Magic center Mo Bamba were the […]
1 day ago
Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin (8) stands on the ice during the NHL All Star Skills Showcase, F...
Associated Press

NHL takes skills showcase outside, McDavid shines inside

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Sidney Crosby got dunked into a tank of water, Nick Suzuki holed a golf ball with a hockey stick and the NHL made hockey an outdoor sport for its skills showcase in South Florida. Two new events outside in the sun highlighted the league’s annual skills competition at All-Star Weekend, with […]
1 day ago
Boston keeps No. 1 South Carolina perfect in 81-50 win