TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Destanni Henderson had 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists to lead No. 5 South Carolina to a 77-60 victory over Alabama on Monday night.
The Crimson Tide cut the deficit as low as eight points late in the third quarter, but Zia Cooke scored nine of her 18 total points during the final 11 minutes to keep the Gamecocks (7-1, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) in near-total control down the stretch.
South Carolina’s starting lineup averaged 1.6 inches taller than their counterparts on the Crimson Tide roster, and the Gamecocks certainly made the most of that advantage in this one.
South Carolina actually hauled in more rebounds on offense (26) than the Crimson Tide could pull down on defense (24), giving the Gamecocks a decisive 55-31 edge.
That allowed the Gamecocks to score twice as many second-chance points (22) as Alabama (11).
Jordan Lewis scored a career-high 28 points for Alabama (8-1, 1-1), topping her previous best of 27 against Missouri on Thursday.
The Crimson Tide kept Carolina from finding a flow and kept the game tight early. With Carolina leading 26-21 sophomore Aliyah Boston jumpstarted an 11-5 run to close out the first half, during which junior Destanni Henderson tallied the Gamecocks’ final six points of the quarter for to take a 37-26 lead into halftime.
The Gamecocks dominated the boards, outrebounding Alabama 55-31, and truly flexed their muscle on the offensive glass with a 26-7 advantage, leading to 22 second-chance points.
- South Carolina out-rebounded the Crimson Tide 55-31, marking the third time in the last four games the Gamecocks won the battle of the boards by at least 20.
- The Gamecocks had a 20-point scorer for the third time in as many games.
- Junior Destanni Henderson took over when the team needed her most, closing the second quarter with six straight points, and kept that pressure up with seven more in the third on her way to an SEC career-high 20 points to go with her eight rebound and five assists.
- Sophomore Zia Cooke kept any Alabama rally at bay, scoring 11 of her 18 points in the second half including back-to-back buckets in the third quarter to snap a 3:23 scoreless streak for the Gamecocks.
- Junior Victaria Saxton did a little bit of everything on Monday, scoring 15 points to go with her six rebounds, one block and one steal. All six of her rebounds were on the offensive end, matching her career high, and resulted in six of her 15 points.
- Sophomore Brea Beal hoovered up rebounds in the first half, snagging eight of her game-high tying 10 rebounds in the opening half.
The No. 5/4 Gamecocks (7-1, 2-0 SEC) return to Columbia to host Georgia (9-1, 1-1 SEC) on Thursday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. from Colonial Life Arena, with the game streaming on SEC Network+.