Cooke leads No. 1 South Carolina women past SDSU
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Zia Cooke scored 13 of her 18 points in the second half, and top-ranked South Carolina overcame a sluggish offensive effort to beat South Dakota State 62-44 at the Sanford Pentagon on Thursday night.
The Gamecocks (9-0) shot a season-low 34.3% from the field, far below their season average of 48.2%, while also scoring a season low. South Carolina came in averaging 83 points per game and failed to reach 80 points for just the third time.
Cooke was 1 for 9 from the field in the first half but exploded for 11 points in the final quarter. Aliyah Boston added 12 points and nine rebounds for South Carolina.
Myah Selland scored 12 points for the Jackrabbits (7-5) and Brooklyn Meyer added 10.
Trailing by nine at halftime, South Dakota State got within six midway through the third period after Selland hit a 3-pointer followed by a pair of free throws from Dru Gylten.
The Gamecocks responded quickly. After a bucket from Kierra Fletcher, Brea Beal stole the inbounds pass and scored, giving South Carolina a 10-point advantage in a matter of seconds.
South Carolina: Despite the lethargic offensive output, the Gamecocks remained one of nine unbeaten schools in Division I.
South Dakota State: The Jackrabbits fell to 2-2 against ranked foes. They lost to No. 16 Creighton to open the season but beat Louisville on Nov. 21 and Kansas State on Dec. 10.
South Carolina: Hosts Charleston Southern on Sunday to begin three straight at home.
South Dakota State: Returns to its home arena in Brookings to host Oral Roberts on Monday.