Boston leads No. 1 South Carolina to 69-40 win over Ole Miss
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Aliyah Boston had 22 points and 12 rebounds for her 13th straight double-double, and No. 1 South Carolina improved to 9-0 against ranked opponents this season with a 69-40 victory over No. 24 Mississippi on Thursday night.
The Gamecocks (19-1, 7-1 Southeastern Conference) were scheduled for their yearly contest with No. 10 UConn. But with South Carolina a game behind SEC leader Tennessee, coach Dawn Staley called off the non-conference game to face the Rebels (17-3, 5-2) in a contest postponed due to COVID-19 earlier this month.
Staley got just what she needed from her team, especially her 6-foot-5 All-American. Boston reached 20 points for the first time in 11 games and came out on top in the showdown with Rebels star Shakira Austin.
Boston had 15 points and four boards by the half. She was sitting on nine rebounds entering the final quarter when she grabbed Lashonda Monk’s missed layup for No. 10 to continue a streak that began Nov. 29 in a win over North Carolina A&T.
Boston was in the thick of things, as usual, with a couple of early baskets including a strong drive from the left side as the Gamecocks went up 12-4. They pushed the edge to 33-17 three minutes before the half as Boston set up down low, caught a slick feed from Victaria Saxton and powered through a double-team for a basket and a three-point play.
In the Austin-Boston showdown, it was Boston in a runaway. Austin, also 6-5, struggled to find space to shoot much of the game as the Rebels lost their 14th straight to South Carolina.
The Ole Miss senior led her team with 15 points on 5-of-18 shooting.
THE BIG PICTURE
Mississippi: The Rebels, who got ranked this week for the first time since 2007, have shown they can play with just about everyone in the SEC — except for the top two teams in South Carolina and Tennessee, which are their only two league losses so far. Stay the course the next month and Ole Miss can still achieve a top-four seed in the SEC Tournament come March.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks have locked down their past two opponents, holding Vanderbilt and Ole Miss to season lows in points. Their speed, size and relentless play on defense will likely keep them winning in the league heading up to a Feb. 20 home showdown with No. 4 Tennessee.
Mississippi returns home to play No. 15 Georgia on Sunday.
South Carolina heads to Florida on Sunday.