South Carolina women’s basketball secured a big win on Thursday night as they defeated the Auburn Tigers 77-58. This victory gave the Gamecocks their 26th consecutive SEC win, which ties them with Mississippi State for the 5th longest streak in SEC history.
South Carolina started the first quarter off with a bang from the opening tip. The Gamecocks went 13-3 within the first three minutes of play, as sophomore guard Zia Cooke dominated the floor. Cooke drained three quick 3-pointers to get the momentum going, and ended the quarter scoring 14 of the Gamecocks’ 26 points.
“If you look at her stats and her ability to catch and shoot, she’s pretty darn accurate,” South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley said about Cooke’s 3-point performance.
Cooke was the Gamecocks’ star of the first half, as her quick and aggressive 3-pointers set the pace for the whole game. South Carolina's offensive transition was too much for the Tigers to handle.
South Carolina scored from both the 3-point range as well as on the paint, and they shot 58.1% in the first half. Cooke beat her season average of 16.1 for points per game, leading the Gamecocks in scoring 17 points by the first half.
South Carolina’s fast momentum challenged Auburn not only defensively but also on the offensive side of the ball, as the Tigers were only able to score 18 points in the first half, shooting 7-36. Auburn senior forward Unique Thompson, who is usually a stand-out player in the team, scored 2 points in the first half.
Auburn came out more aggressively in the second half and offensively was able to step up their game. In the third quarter alone, the Tigers scored more than they did the whole first half. Their field goal percentage improved from 19.4% to 53.3% in the second half. Redshirt sophomore guard Honesty Scott-Grayson left the floor with 12 points and was Auburn’s leading scorer.
As Cooke dominated the first half for the Gamecocks, sophomore forward Aliyah Boston took control of the second. Boston only played through the third quarter but was able to add 8 points and a rebound to her strong first half performance. Boston finished the night with almost another double-double, as she contributed 14 points and 8 rebounds to the Gamecocks, commanding the post for yet another win for South Carolina.
“She’s not your typical 6-foot-5 type post player, she can move down there,” Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said about Boston.
The Gamecocks controlled this game from the start and every player got to see the court throughout the game. Junior forward Victaria Saxton and senior guard Lele Grissett both ended the night with points in the double-digits. Junior guard Destanni Henderson produced 9 assists while handing over no turnovers, and sophomore forward Laeticia Amihere led the team with 9 rebounds.
With this win, the Gamecocks improved their overall record to 15-1.
The Gamecocks will travel to Connecticut on Monday, Feb. 8, to face the tough No. 3 UConn Huskies. The game will start at 7 p.m. EST.