South Carolina women’s basketball defeated Ole Miss 69-40 Thursday night and continued its undefeated record at home.
The Gamecocks applied pressure offensively throughout the game and took a significant free throw advantage going into the half. South Carolina was 12 for 14 from the free-throw line before halftime while the Rebels made three of six attempts.
“I like what we did,” South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley said. “We went downhill a lot, we got paint points, we got fast break points and those were some of the things that we weren’t getting.”
Junior forward Aliyah Boston continued her run of dominance in conference play and extended her program record with her thirteenth consecutive double-double. She led the team with 22 points in addition to 12 rebounds.
South Carolina clogged the passing lanes all night and forced Ole Miss into 13 turnovers while only allowing five assists. The Gamecocks’ defense was aggressive and had 16 fast break points compared to the visiting team’s 2.
“We’re locking in, I mean, our practices are better. I think the week off really, really helped us fine-tune some things and play a little bit quicker and press a little bit more and be committed to that,” Staley said.
A bright spot for the Rebels was senior center Shakira Austin who led the team with 12 points at halftime. However, her production was slowed by foul trouble in the second half, scoring just three points after the break to finish with 15 and seven rebounds.
The Gamecocks shot 41% from the field and 80% from the free-throw line in the game while holding Ole Miss to 28% shooting and 17 fewer free throw attempts, of which it converted 54%.
Much of South Carolina’s offensive production came near the basket. Constant movement from the guards, strong post presence from Boston and sophomore center Kamilla Cardoso and crisp passing allowed the home team to outscore Ole Miss 38 to 22 in the paint.
“We knew what type of game it would be — we knew that we would have to play through physicality, we knew that we couldn’t back down, we knew that we had to keep pushing it at them,” Staley said. “I was just really pleased with our ability to just go full court.”
Staley highlighted her bench players’ improvement and said they are more committed now. South Carolina’s 25 to 11 advantage in bench points on the night conveys the newfound reliability.
The Gamecocks, now 19-1 (7-1 SEC), will travel to Gainesville, Florida to play the Gators on Jan. 30. The game will tip-off at noon on the SEC Network.