Boston leads No. 1 South Carolina past No. 17 Georgia 72-54
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Aliyah Boston is making double-doubles look as automatic as South Carolina’s wins.
Boston scored 18 points with 12 rebounds and No. 1 South Carolina coasted after a strong start to beat No. 17 Georgia 72-54 on Sunday for their 11th consecutive win.
Boston posted her 17th consecutive double-double and 18th overall in 24 games. Destanni Henderson added 15 points for the Gamecocks (23-1, 11-1 Southeastern Conference), who led by 30 points in the first half.
South Carolina kept its lead in double figures despite being outscored in the third and fourth periods.
“It’s just a hole that’s too big to dig yourself out of when you’re playing a team as talented as they are,” said Georgia coach Joni Taylor.
South Carolina is unbeaten since losing at Missouri in overtime to open its conference schedule on Dec. 30.
Georgia (17-7, 6-6) suffered its third consecutive loss despite Jenna Staiti’s 15 points and 10 rebounds.
South Carolina, which had to hold on late to win at Kentucky 59-50 on Thursday night, was dominant in another road game against Georgia.
Staiti went to the bench with two fouls midway through the opening period. Soon after Staiti’s exit, teammate Maiury Bates was called for her second foul.
Boston and the Gamecocks immediately seized the advantage, finishing the first period with an 18-2 run, including the final 10 points, for a 29-10 lead.
When Staiti returned early in the second period, South Carolina led 32-11.
“Before the game we said we’ve got to get points in the paint,” Boston said. “Jenna is a very good post player so it just worked out for us.”
Boston blocked two shots and had two steals.
The Gamecocks attacked with an impressive inside-outside balance. South Carolina was good on each of its four 3-pointers in the first period while also building an advantage near the basket.
“I think it starts on the defensive side of the basketball,” said South Carolina coach Dawn Staley. “... If we can hit our shots, coupled with what we do on the defensive side of the ball, we can get out to a pretty big lead.”
South Carolina stretched its lead to 30 points in the second period and led 51-25 at halftime.
Georgia scored the final six points of the third period and the first six points of the final period to pull to within 15 points at 61-46.
Que Morrison, who had 11 points, provided a highlight for Georgia in the third period when she went behind her back for a fancy layup despite being fouled by Henderson. Morrison sank the free throw for the three-point play.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks look postseason ready. They improved to 10-0 against Top 25 teams with their 15th consecutive win over Georgia since 2013. Following the hot start on long-range jumpers, South Carolina missed its last eight 3s.
Georgia: The Lady Bulldogs couldn’t come close to their first win over a top-ranked team since beating Tennessee in the semifinals of the 2004 SEC tournament. They’re left with a three-game losing streak that includes two home losses. The sudden downturn has dropped Georgia to .500 in the SEC and in danger of taking a fall in the Top 25.
SHORT-HANDED BUT SURE-HANDED
South Carolina won easily despite playing without its top two reserves. Forwards Laeticia Amihere and Kamilla Cardoso are competing with their national teams, Canada and Brazil, respectively, in the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022 Qualifying Tournament.
South Carolina scored 32 points off Georgia’s 19 turnovers.
“You give a team like that momentum like that, they’re going to take advantage of it,” Staiti said.
Taylor said the Lady Bulldogs must address the problem in their final four regular-season games.
“Taking care of the basketball has got to be No. 1,” said Taylor when asked her goals before the postseason.
South Carolina hosts Auburn on Thursday. Amihere and Cardoso are expected to be back with the team.
Georgia hosts Missouri on Thursday when it will look for its first win since Feb. 3 against Vanderbilt.
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