The South Carolina Gamecocks women's basketball team took on the Ole Miss Rebels on the road on Sunday afternoon. The Gamecocks took the victory over the Rebels after a hard-fought game led by its guards with a final score of 71-57.
The Gamecocks were led by the efficiency of its guards, senior Destanni Henderson, junior Zia Cooke and junior Brea Beal. The guards combined for 46 of the Gamecocks' points, giving the team an upper hand that made the difference in this game.
Just as the game began, other teams in the SEC experienced changes in its record, causing Ole Miss to be the fourth overall seed entering the matchup. Head coach Dawn Staley said the team needed to "hunker down, defensively" and convert turnovers, or it would've been "a long afternoon" for the Gamecocks. She said the team knew these expectations going into this game against the Rebels.
"The game calls for our players to rise to the occasion," Staley said.
In this match-up, the Gamecocks had several high-scoring players. Henderson lead the way with 23 points and Beal scored a season-high 11 points.
"Super proud of Brea," Coach Staley said. "She's one that had always played an unsung hero role for us, but tonight, I thought she just played extremely well. She took what the defense gave her, she was aggressive on the boards, she was aggressive attacking the basket, she hit a couple of threes as well, and that's what she's capable of."
In the win, junior forward Aliyah Boston extended her record of consecutive double-doubles to 21 straight games.
The Rebels did not shy away from the Gamecock's fight, keeping their pace early on with 37.7% field goal shooting. The Gamecocks combated this with a 43.9% overall field goal percentage.
Staley said that although she is proud the team did enough to win the game today, the Gamecocks may have been moving faster than they needed to throughout the game. Nevertheless, she said the team knows what to expect every time they take the court.
"This team has been together for a long time," Staley said. "Some of it is routine versus some of the younger players in which that they don't know the routine so we have to make sure that we're communicating with them and getting them ready for the rigors of playing in this league."
The Gamecocks are fast approaching the SEC Tournament. South Carolina holds tight to their No.1 SEC position as they head into the tournament for their game on March 4 against the winner of the third game of the tournament.