SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Destanni Henderson and Zia Cooke each scored 19 points, and top-ranked South Carolina pulled away from South Dakota for an 81-71 win in the Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic on Saturday.
Henderson finished two points shy of a career high. She was 8-of-13 from the floor and also had nine rebounds.
Chloe Lamb led South Dakota (0-1) with 18 points, and Hannah Sjerven added 15 points and 12 rebounds.
South Carolina (2-0) trailed by five during the second quarter and the game was tied 37-37 at halftime before the Gamecocks pulled away. They outscored the Coyotes 31-11 in the third quarter, and Cooke's basket with 19 seconds left gave the Gamecocks a 20-point lead entering the final frame.
They stretched the advantage to 21 in the fourth quarter before South Dakota cut it to seven with just under a minute to play.
Coming into the second half tied 37-37, the Gamecocks used a 10-2 run to open the third quarter behind solid rebounding and an aggressive offense that delivered 3-of-4 shooting and forced the Coyotes into four fouls in the opening three minutes.
After being out-rebounded in the first quarter, the Gamecocks won the battle of the boards 15-10 in the second and dominated the glass 12-3 in the pivotal third quarter to finish with a 45.37 edge.
- Today's win further extends South Carolina's program-record 28-game win streak and makes it a calendar year since the last loss (Nov. 28, 2019 against Indiana in the Paradise Jam).
- Carolina struggled to find a rhythm in the first half and leaned on sophomore Zia Cooke's steady shot as the Toledo, Ohio, native poured in 13 of her game-high 19 in the first half, including back-to-back 3s to open the game.
- Junior Destanni Henderson caught fire after the break, scoring 10 of her 19 points in the third to tie for game-high scoring honors and kick start the Carolina rally. Henderson finished with a career-high nine rebounds, tying the team high for the day.
- Sophomore Aliyah Boston showed how she can impact a game beyond points and rebounds as the Coyotes swarmed her with every tough of the ball. The reigning National Freshman of the Year shook off a two-point, two-foul first half that saw her play only seven minutes to finish in double figures (12 points) for the 30th time in her career (in just 35 games) to go with her eight rebounds, four assists and four steals.
- Sophomore Laeticia Amihere continues to show that spark the team needs off the bench, coming in to score 11 points and pull down nine rebounds, narrowly missing out on her second consecutive double-double.
The Gamecocks (2-0) wrap up the Women's Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic against Gonzaga. Tipoff for that game is set for 3 p.m. ET on Sunday.