The Daily Gamecock

Analysis: No. 1 Gamecocks women's basketball team dominates in scrappy win over No. 8 Maryland

<p>Junior guard Zia Cooke weaves through the Clemson defense on her way to the basket. She was a standout player in South Carolina's 66-59 win against No. 8 Maryland on Sunday. &nbsp;</p>

Junior guard Zia Cooke weaves through the Clemson defense on her way to the basket. She was a standout player in South Carolina's 66-59 win against No. 8 Maryland on Sunday.  

The No. 1 South Carolina women’s basketball team dominated the glass in its 66-59 win over No. 8 Maryland on Sunday.  

The Gamecocks outrebounded the Terrapins 61 to 34, which translated into 24 second-chance points. Without this effort on the glass, head coach Dawn Staley feels the outcome would have been different.

“I think we were scratching and clawing to just try to score more points than them,” Staley said. “We had to do that in order for us to win the basketball game.”

With the win, South Carolina earns its fourth victory over a top 10 opponent and remains unbeaten this season. Previously, the team beat North Carolina State in the season opener and defeated Oregon and UCONN in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. 

Junior forward Aliyah Boston and junior guard Zia Cooke had stand-out performances for the Gamecocks. Boston recorded a double-double with 16 points and 16 rebounds. Cooke added 20 points and both players surpassed the 1,000 career point mark in the game. 

“I was like three points away, Aliyah told me," Cooke said. "She was like it’s OK, you’re going to get it, so I knew we were both going to end up getting it tonight."

South Carolina practically lived in the paint during this game, scoring 42 of its 66 points inside the paint. The Gamecocks' physicality on the inside proved to be too much for an undersized Maryland team to handle. 

“I felt like I did the best I could and my teammates did as best as we could. I mean, we put up a fight," Maryland sophomore forward Angel Reese said. "All those girls are what, 6’4", 6’5"? I’m the tallest one on my team, and we put up as much of a fight as we could."

The Gamecocks hosted a block party, totaling 15 in the game with Boston accounting for seven herself. 

South Carolina held a tight lead for the majority of the game but couldn't pull away. A Maryland 8-0 run in the fourth gave the Terrapins lead, but the Gamecocks did not let this put them down. South Carolina made the necessary adjustments to retake the lead late in the game.

“We actually got out to a 7-point lead, I think, and they erased it and took the lead, but we knew why,” Staley said. “When you are able to fix that … we give ourselves a chance to score.” 

South Carolina is now 10-0 on the season. The team will travel to Durham for another top-25 battle with No. 19 Duke on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The game can be streamed on the ACC Network.


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