Boston, Henderson help No. 1 South Carolina beat Arkansas
Boston also had 13 rebounds for South Carolina (17-1, 5-1 Southeastern Conference). The Gamecocks have won five straight since falling at Missouri on Dec. 30
Makayla Daniels led Arkansas (11-6, 1-3) with 17 points. Amber Ramirez added 14.
South Carolina dominated with size and length, forcing Arkansas into 28% shooting and outrebounding the Razorbacks 45-25, but also had 19 turnovers.
The game was South Carolina’s second straight in which it was dominant defensively, but had bouts of indecision on offense. The Gamecocks shot 35% in Thursday’s 20-point win over Texas A&M and 41% Sunday against Arkansas.
”We just get stagnant,” South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said. ”We’re hesitant shooting the ball, driving the ball. Obviously, we’re working on some things, they’re not going to just be perfect. Going to take us a little bit of time to find that healthy balance.”
The Gamecocks led by 20 points in the third quarter, going on a 15-2 run and taking advantage of an Arkansas scoring drought that lasted almost six minutes.
After the Razorbacks pulled within four with just over four minutes left, South Carolina scored four points in five seconds to build the lead back to eight.
- Senior guard Destanni Henderson hit back-to-back 3-pointers early in the first quarter to get her to 1,000 career points. She finished with a season-high 19 points, hitting four 3s in the game, and is averaging 15 points per game in her last four outings.
- While she wasn’t able to do it in just one half, Aliyah Boston did indeed move her double-double streak to 11 games with a total of 19 points and 13 rebounds in 33 minutes. Highlighting her scoring was a perfect 7-for-7 day at the free throw line, matching her career high for free throws made vs. a SEC opponent.
- Victaria Saxton was a menace to Arkansas’ interior offense Sunday. The senior blocked a career-high six shots – three in the first half and three in the second – with a big block late to stifle a Razorback rally. She also pulled down nine rebounds, her second-highest total for a game this season.
- Along with the blocks, South Carolina’s defense limited Arkansas to just 28 percent shooting for the game (17-60). It’s the third game in a row where a Gamecock opponent made less than 30 percent of their shots, continuing to drop the nation’s seventh-ranked field goal percentage defense.
- Destiny Littleton was a key to the team’s success Sunday; along with her six points she tied a career high for rebounds vs. a SEC opponent with five boards and the team finished +15 on the scoreboard in her 23 minutes on the floor.
- After missing the last four games, Laeticia Amihere returned to give the team important minutes. She scored four points and added a rebound and assist in 11 minutes.
- Success at the charity stripe was key for the Gamecocks, who finished 12-of-15 for the game. It is just the second time this season the team hit 10 or more free throws at a success rate of 80 percent or higher; the only other time was against N.C. A&T on Nov. 29.
The Gamecocks will enjoy a bit of a break coming up, with eight days before returning to the court. Next up is a home game against Vanderbilt on Jan. 24, it is a 7 p.m. tip time on the SEC Network. Then on Thursday of that same week, Jan. 27, the Gamecocks will rematch with UConn at 7 p.m. on ESPN. It will be a rematch of the Battle 4 Atlantis title game from Nov. 22, with South Carolina pulled away for a 73-57 win over the Huskies.