Boston, Cooke lead No. 1 South Carolina in rout of Kentucky

Kentucky's Nyah Leveretter (21) blocks a shot by South Carolina's Xaria Wiggins (1) during the...
Kentucky's Nyah Leveretter (21) blocks a shot by South Carolina's Xaria Wiggins (1) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Lexington, Ky., Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023.((AP Photo/James Crisp))
Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 9:25 PM EST
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(AP) - Aliyah Boston had 21 points and 11 rebounds, Zia Cooke scored 10 of her 20 points during a 16-0 second-quarter rally and top-ranked South Carolina pulled away in the fourth quarter to rout Kentucky 95-66 on Thursday night.

After battling back to win at Mississippi State on Sunday, the Gamecocks (17-0, 5-0 Southeastern Conference) overcame another road challenge from the Wildcats to retain a share of first place in the conference.

Kentucky’s 14-1 run provided a 31-21 lead midway through the second quarter and a huge dose of confidence against the reigning national champions. But South Carolina quickly seized momentum. Boston, who was 9 of 11 shooting, responded with a jumper and Cooke added a 3-pointer, a three-point play, and two layups during the surge to lead 37-33 at the break.

The Gamecocks maintained a small cushion after three quarters before going 13 of 17 from the floor in the fourth to pull away.

Maddie Scherr scored a career-high 25 points with five 3s for the Wildcats (8-9, 0-4), who fell to their second top-10 opponent this week. Kentucky lost 67-48 to now-No. 5 LSU on Sunday at Rupp Arena.

South Carolina nearly doubled Kentucky in scoring in the paint (62-32) on the way to shooting 64% (35 of 55). Kamilla Cardoso added 12 points and Laeticia Amihere 11 as the Gamecocks also dominated the bench, scoring 39-10.

The teams met for the first time since Kentucky upset the top-seeded Gamecocks 64-62 to win the SEC Tournament title. South Carolina went on to win its second national title and hasn’t looked back, though it entered the contest in a four-way tie atop the league.

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South Carolina: Hosts Missouri on Sunday.