The Daily Gamecock

Analysis: Gamecock women's basketball beats Auburn to win its 30th consecutive game

The South Carolina women's basketball team took on the Auburn Tigers on Feb. 9, 2023, beating them 83-48. This improves the Gamecocks to a 24-0 record overall and 11-0 in the SEC. The win also made program history, setting a program record with the first 30-game win streak in program history. The Gamecocks will return home and play No. 3 LSU on Feb. 12, 2023. 

The No. 1 South Carolina women’s basketball team earned a dominant 83-48 road win over the Auburn Tigers Thursday night at Neville Arena and cemented a new program record with its 30th consecutive victory.

“We have a team that just takes care of what’s in front of them — don’t look ahead. We stay current, and its because we’ve got a very experienced and seasoned team," head coach Dawn Staley said. “They’ve always been that way. No matter what game that’s ahead of what’s in front of us. They’ve stayed current.” 

The Gamecocks started the game aggressively and finished the first quarter strong, going on a 13-2 scoring run in the final five minutes and 37 seconds to establish an early double-digit lead. Senior forward Victaria Saxton had 6 points in the first 10 minutes.

South Carolina continued to increase its lead, though no player broke double-digit scoring in the half. The Gamecocks went into the locker room leading the Tigers 42-21. 

The leading South Carolina scorers in the first half were Saxton with 8 points, senior guard Zia Cooke with 7 points and senior forward Aliyah Boston with 6 points. The team shot 53% to Auburn’s 27% from the field during the half and scored 28 points in the paint, compared to just 8 from the Tigers. 

Cooke exploded for the Gamecocks in the third quarter, bringing her tally up to 15 points and four assists while helping her team maintain a 25-point lead in the final five minutes of the quarter. 

South Carolina relied on its bench during the fourth quarter, with the starters only combining for two minutes on court. Freshman forward Ashlyn Watkins recorded 5 points, five rebounds and one block in nine minutes during the period.

“The bench come in and, actually, we get a little quicker, we get the ball up and down the floor and play a little bit faster," Staley said. "It’s cool to see the dynamics of what our team is comprised of.”

The Gamecocks came in averaging 40 bench points per game this season and nearly hit that number with 35 points from reserves against the Tigers. Overall, the depth of South Carolina’s team came through with 11 players scoring in the game. 

“We’ve got a really good bench. They are locked in," Staley said. "We’ve developed that bench over the season. We’ve got some leftovers from last year, but the maturity level, the growth, the communication, they’re so very competitive that there’s no letdown."

The Gamecocks proved to be dominant in the paint, as the team finished the game with 50 rebounds and 52 points in the paint. 

South Carolina improved to 24-0 overall and 11-0 in SEC play ahead of a matchup with the fellow undefeated No. 3 LSU Tigers on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 2 p.m. on ESPN.