AP NEWS

Boston leads No. 5 South Carolina to 84-48 win over Clemson

November 24, 2019
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South Carolina's Brea Beal, right, works under the basket while defended by Clemson's Amari Robinson, center, and Hannah Hanks during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019, in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)
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South Carolina's Brea Beal, right, works under the basket while defended by Clemson's Amari Robinson, center, and Hannah Hanks during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019, in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Mikiah Herbert Harrigan didn’t have another chance.

She was a senior who longed to be among those Gamecocks of the past to never lose to rival Clemson and she had to be instrumental.

No problem.

Herbert Harrigan had 13 points, nine rebounds, two blocks and a steal as the Gamecocks plowed Clemson 84-48, their 10th straight win in the series and the second-highest margin of victory during that span. She and Tyasha Harris, like so many seniors before them under coach Dawn Staley, finished a perfect 4-0 against the team they’re never allowed to lose to.

“It feels great, especially because they’re our rival school,” Herbert Harrigan said. “It’s great to never lose to them.”

The Gamecocks had six in double figures and turned a comfortable game into a rout to start the second half. South Carolina (6-0) embarked on a 19-4 run, keyed by Herbert Harrigan drawing a foul from Clemson’s Kobi Thornton.

It was the fourth for Thornton, the Tigers’ leading scorer. She sat down and the Gamecocks heated up.

“We played bad. When you play bad against a good team, you’re going to get beat bad,” Clemson coach Amanda Butler said. “We need Kobi to play like a senior every minute she’s on the floor.”

Thornton finished with 10, but it wasn’t nearly enough to overcome South Carolina’s superior talent. The Gamecocks scored 61 points on their own and added 23 more off Clemson turnovers.

Had it not been for relying too much on 3-pointers in the first half after center Aliyah Boston was on the bench recovering from an eye-poke, it could have been worse. She and Herbert Harrigan, the starting posts, combined for 26 points.

“I thought Kiki was really, really great out there today,” Staley said. “She was the senior that we needed. She just imposed her will.”

Boston, the 6-5 senior, tied Herbert Harrigan for the team lead with 13 points.

BIG PICTURE

South Carolina: Staley said she’s grown to appreciate the magnitude of the rivalry, although the closest of the last 10 games was decided by 12 points. She especially liked Sunday’s game because it started the first of five straight games away from home with a convincing win.

Clemson: After a marvelous first year where Butler took Clemson to the NCAA Tournament, the Tigers are struggling to win marquee games. Yet if they win more than they lose in the rugged ACC, they’ll be in good shape to again play in the postseason.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Gamecocks are likely to stay put in the AP Top 25 although No. 1 Oregon and No. 17 Syracuse were set to play later Sunday. There could be a lot of movement during the Thanksgiving tournaments next week.

STAT OF THE NIGHT

The Gamecocks had 15 steals and nine blocked shots. Boston, the nation’s individual leader and the Gamecocks, the country’s team leader, were led by three swats from junior Lele Grissett.

UP NEXT

South Carolina heads to the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Paradise Jam, where the Gamecocks will play three games in three days. After No. 18 Indiana on Thursday, South Carolina plays Washington State and No. 2 Baylor.

Clemson travels to Florida for the Daytona Beach Invitational, where its first game will be Friday against No. 9 Maryland. The Tigers play Alcorn State Saturday.

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More AP women’s basketball: https://apnews.com/Womenscollegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25