COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - After the Gamecocks unveiled a banner to show their final national No. 1 ranking in the country to end the 2019-20 season, Aliyah Boston had a banner day of her own.
Boston’s career-high 28 points helped No. 5 South Carolina defeat Florida 75-59 in their first SEC contest of the year.
Carolina (6-1, 1-0) opened the game scoring the first six points with Boston and Zia Cooke leading the way. Florida cut the lead to 8-6 with 5:03 to go in the quarter, but USC created separation late in the period. The Gamecocks closed the period on an 8-0 run to take a 14-6 lead after the first quarter.
Florida again erased the deficit making it a 16-13 game with 8:17 left in the half before Carolina clamped down defensively in the second quarter. Florida was held to 38% shooting in the period. As the Gators struggled, the Gamecocks capitalized on the visitors’ offensive woes by going on a 23-5 run punctuated by a buzzer-beating jumper by Boston to give the Gamecocks a 39-18 lead at the break.
Boston was dominant throughout the afternoon against the Gators as she recorded 19 points and 11 rebounds in the first half. She finished with 28 points and 16 rebounds.
The Gators, however, would not relent. Slowly but surely, Florida chipped into the lead and found themselves down 57-47 following a three-pointer by Jordyn Merritt with 1:35 left in the quarter. Florida outscored Carolina 29-18 in the period in hopes of making it a game.
In the end, Cooke would help USC secure the victory by scoring six of the team’s final 18 points in the quarter. Cooke added 26 points and five assists for the Gamecocks in the win.
Carolina will travel to Alabama for their next game on January 4.