Gamecock Women’s Basketball Grinds Out Upset at No. 4 Maryland
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – No. 8/10 South Carolina women’s basketball got a boost from a freshman early and a veteran late to post a 63-54 win at No. 4/5 Maryland Sunday afternoon at XFINITY Center. The Gamecocks (2-0) never trailed in the game, but held off a strong Terrapin (1-1) second half to deliver the top-five victory.
Freshman Aliyah Boston continued the outstanding start to her Gamecock career with a team-high 14 points today, including eight of the team’s first 10 points in the game. She added seven rebounds and five blocks to her stat line as well. Senior Tyasha Harris tallied 13 points, six rebounds and four assists in the game, including the final five points of the game for Carolina. Freshman Zia Cooke also broke double-digits with 10 points, and she pulled down four rebounds as well. Another freshman, Brea Beal snagged a team-high 10 rebounds, including seven in the third quarter, to go along with her eight points and four assists.
Carolina opened the game on a 6-2 run with senior Mikiah Herbert Harrigan scoring the first two points, followed by Boston pouring in the next four. After a bucket from Maryland’s Diamond Miller cut into the lead, Boston responded by scoring four more points, pushing the Carolina lead to 10-8. Beal added a pair of free throws, followed by Harris sinking two from the charity stripe to make it 14-8 with 3:58 left in the opening frame. The Terrapins responded with a three from Blair Watson and a Kaila Charles layup to make it a one-point game, 14-13, but the Gamecocks closed the first with buckets from Harris, junior LeLe Grissett and redshirt-freshman Laeticia Amihere to take an 18-15 lead into the second quarter.
Defense took center stage in the opening minutes of the second with neither team able to find the bottom of the net until Cooke’s layup 2:08 into the quarter. Ashley Owusu responded for Maryland before sophomore Victoria Saxton got on the board to give Carolina a 22-17 lead. After a Stephanie Jones jumper cut the lead to three Cooke kick-started a 6-0 run with four quick points, followed by a jumper from Herbert Harrigan to make it 28-19 Carolina. The squads traded buckets in the closing moments of the half, with Owusu chipping into the SC lead before Boston tallied her 10th point of the game with a jumper. The Gamecocks closed the half with a pair of free throws from Beal and a jumper from sophomore Destanni Henderson to take a 34-24 halftime lead.
The Gamecocks looked to put some distance between them and the Terrapins in the third with a pair of Beal free throws and a Harris layup, but Maryland fired back with two free throws from Shakira Austin and another Owusu jumper. Boston found the bottom of the net with a layup on the following possession, but Charles responded with a layup of her own as Maryland proved that it wasn’t going to be easy to get out of College Park with the win. Charles cut it to nine with a free throw, but Herbert Harrigan cut to the rim with a layup to give the Gamecocks some breathing room and a 42-31 lead. A pair of Harris free throws and a Henderson jumper added to the Carolina total, but Maryland closed the third on a 7-4 run to make it 46-38 heading into the fourth.
A Charles layup made it 46-40, but Cooke once again drained her free throws to push the lead back to eight. Cooke finished 6-of-6 from the charity stripe. Grissett drove the lane for a layup to make it 50-40 with 7:28 to play, just to see Owusu score on the next possession. For the next three minutes neither team could find the bottom of the net as both defensive squads took over. Jones finally broke the stalemate with a jumper with 3:59 to play to cut the Carolina lead to six, but that was as close as the Terrapins would get. Boston sank a pair of free throws, followed by another pair of Beal free throws and Cooke’s final free throws of the game to extend the lead. Owusu wouldn’t let Maryland go away as she scored her 16th point of the night on a layup with 2:10 to play, but a Herbert Harrigan layup followed by a Harris 3-pointer sealed Maryland’s fate. Harris added a pair of free throws in the closing moments to seal a 63-54 win for the Gamecocks.