The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
SEC Tournament - Quarterfinal - Bridgestone Arena - Nashville, TN

1-seed South Carolina shuts down 8-seed Arkansas

267 days ago
SEC Network
Photo: AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

NASHVILLE, TENN. -- Aliyah Boston notched her 22nd consecutive double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds as top-ranked South Carolina beat Arkansas 76-54 Friday in the Southeastern Conference women's tournament quarterfinals.

The Gamecocks (28-1) received their SEC regular season championship before tipoff, then took their first step toward a seventh tournament title in eight years against the last team to beat them in this event. Arkansas beat South Carolina in 2019 with the Gamecocks undefeated since then, winning the 2020 and 2021 tourneys.

South Carolina will play either No. 23 Florida or fourth-seeded Mississippi in Saturday's semifinal, the Gamecocks' ninth in the last 10 seasons.

The Gamecocks now have won 16 straight.

Boston, the SEC Player of the Year and three-time SEC Defensive Player of the Year, did a bit of everything as usual. She had five assists, five steals and two blocks. Laeticia Amihere added 16 points, and Victaria Saxton had 11 rebounds. Ten Gamecocks scored at least three points.

Arkansas (18-13) snapped a two-game winning streak.

Samara Spencer led the Razorbacks with 10 points.

This game was tied only once at 2 with South Carolina never trailing.

The Gamecocks missed their first six shots before Boston got them going, and she scored five points and grabbed five rebounds as South Carolina led 24-12 at the end of the first quarter. Arkansas outscored South Carolina 17-16 in the second, pulling within nine twice before the Gamecocks took a 40-29 lead into halftime.

Arkansas pulled within 44-37 on a 3-pointer by Sasha Goforth with 6:49 left in the third. The Gamecocks made only three shots during the quarter, but they went 10 of 12 at the free throw line and finished the third on a 12-4 run for a 56-41 lead going into the fourth.

The Gamecocks padded the lead to as much as 23 in the final couple minutes. They finished with a big edge at the free throw line (23 of 28) compared to Arkansas (9 of 15) as three Razorbacks finished with four fouls apiece.

NOTABLE

  • The win was South Carolina's sixth in a row against Arkansas.
  • The team is now 24-7 un the conference tournament under head coach Dawn Staley.
  • South Carolina's team defense held the SEC's highest-scoring team to over 20 points under its season average.
  • Arkansas entered the game averaging 74.9 points per game.
  • The Razorbacks also led the league with just 11 turnovers per game but were forced into 17 by the Gamecocks.
  • The SEC's player of the year picked up right where she left off in the regular season; Aliyah Boston scored five points with five rebounds, three steals a block and an assist in seven minutes on the court in the first quarter.
  • Boston came a rebound shy of a first-half double-double (11 points, 9 rebounds) and the junior also finished with four steals - a career high - playing 15 minutes. She added another steal in the second half and finished with team highs of 17 points, 14 rebounds and five assists.
  • Destanni Henderson reached 400 career assists early in the second quarter. Along with the significant milestone, Henderson also moved into the program's top 10 for career assists.
  • Laeticia Amihere was an outstanding contributor off the bench to open the game. In the first half alone, the junior post collected nine points with three rebounds and two assists.
  • The one-two punch of Boston and Amihere shot 8-of-12 from the floor in the first half and accounted for half of the team's 40 first-half points.
  • Arkansas cut the Gamecock lead to seven points early in the third quarter, but Carolina countered the momentum with a solid effort from the free throw line. Though the offense shot just 20 percent from the field, the Gamecocks knocked down 10-of-12 shots from the charity stripe to outscore the Razorbacks in the period.
  • Brea Beal led the effort with five free throws made in six attempts in the third. Thanks to the strong third quarter at the line, South Carolina finished with 23 makes on 28 free throw attempts in the game. Three different Gamecocks made five or more at the line - Boston, Beal and Kamilla Cardoso. The trio made 15-of-17 shots.
  • Amihere packed a lot of action into her 19 minutes on the floor, scoring 16 points with six rebounds (four offensive) and four assists for the game. She came two points away from matching her career high and matched her best against a SEC opponent (previously scored 16 vs. Ole Miss on Jan. 30, 2020).
  • Cardoso returned after missing the regular season finale and four total games in February, playing 10 minutes and totaling five points, seven rebounds and two blocks.

UP NEXT

Entering the semifinal round, the Gamecocks will face the winner of the No. 4 vs. No. 5 matchup - Florida and Ole Miss - which tipped off immediately after South Carolina's win Friday afternoon. Game time is set for 5 p.m. ET and will air nationally on ESPNU.