The No. 1 Gamecock women’s basketball team defeated Auburn 75-38 Thursday night at Colonial Life Arena.
The Gamecocks extended their win streak to 12 thanks to an offense that came out the gate on fire. Junior guard Zia Cooke led the team with 20 points and caused problems for the Tiger defense all night.
In addition to a strong offense, the result came down to South Carolina dominating rebounds and bench performance. The home team had 62 rebounds compared to Auburn's 25. Junior forward Aliyah Boston largely contributed to that success, leading the team with 12 rebounds.
Boston, a National Player of the Year Candidate, has continued to prove herself as she secured her 18th consecutive double-double game halfway through the third quarter.
“She’s playing like the best player in the country on the best team in the country,” said Auburn’s head coach Johnnie Harris. “She’s a handful and we knew that coming in.”
Due to Boston’s humble nature, she said she tries not to think too much about the accolades and outside chatter. She puts the team first and works to achieve the goals they have set.
The regular starting lineup for the Gamecocks was able to establish an early lead, allowing for the bench players to receive extended minutes. They contributed 26 points and were able to close out the game strongly. junior forward Laeticia Amihere provided a real spark off the bench, putting up six points, six rebounds and three blocks.
“They have to help us,” head coach Dawn Staley said. “You can try to do it with the starters that play so well together, but you gotta mix in some of our reserves.”
The Gamecocks were able to welcome back Amihere and sophomore center Kamilla Cardoso. The pair returned from competing with their national teams at the FIBA World Cup qualifying tournament for Canada and Brazil, respectively. However, Cardoso was not available in the game against Auburn due to injury.
One thing that was noticeably low on the night was South Carolina’s field goal shooting percentage. On average, the Gamecocks are shooting 54.6 percent within six feet from the basket, compared to the SEC average of 48.3 percent. However, Thursday night the team fell short at 43 percent.
The Gamecocks remain number one in the SEC with an impressive 12-1 conference record. With only three games remaining until the SEC Tournament, they will look to fine-tune and prepare for tournament play.
“[Staley] wants us to play clean basketball,” said Cooke. “Just play good basketball so when it comes time, we can play great basketball.”
Up next, South Carolina will host ESPN's College GameDay as they play No. 12 Tennessee on Sunday, Feb. 20 at 1 p.m. at Colonial Life Arena. The matchup will be the final home game of the season for the Gamecocks and will be available to watch on ABC.