COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Aliyah Boston scored 10 points and had 12 rebounds to lead the top-seeded Gamecocks to a 79-21 victory over Howard on Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The 21 points for the Bison broke the record held by Kansas State which scored 26 in a loss to UConn in 2012. The Gamecocks (30-2) held Howard (21-10) to a NCAA Tournament record low four points in the first half as they took a 44-4 lead.
''We defend. We were pretty locked in,'' South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said.
It was a total mismatch, even for a No. 1 versus No. 16 seed. The Gamecocks had 30 offensive rebounds to just six for Howard. The Bison turned the ball over 20 times and were outscored 38 to 8 in the paint.
Thirteen of the fourteen South Carolina players who got in the game scored
But there still are things for Staley to worry about. The defense helped mask an off shooting night for the tournament's overall top seed. The Gamecocks shot 35% from the field and just 8-fo-38 on 3-pointers.
''I know we can't have another game shooting-wise like we did and expect to win basketball games. We've got to find a way to get the ball to go in the hole for us,'' Staley said.
South Carolina has been struggling to finish games. They lost to Kentucky 64-62 in the Southeastern Conference final earlier this month after being outscored 21-7 in the fourth quarter..
Up 60-8 over Howard at the end of the third quarter, freshman Bree Hall said the team was reminded that champions finish games strong.
''We've got to keep building on this lead. We've got to go out there and play hard and keep doing what we're doing. The last, recent games, we haven't been finishing the fourth quarter,'' Hall said.
South Carolina won that final quarter 19-13.
The Gamecocks didn't hold Howard scoreless in any quarter. South Carolina did that in 2021, shutting out Texas in the fourth quarter of a 62-34 win in last year's NCAA Tournament regional final.
Iyanna Warren led Howard with eight points.
Howard coach Ty Grace told her team now that they have proven they can be conference champions, they can pay attention to how South Carolina handled them Friday and see how to take the next step.
''It's only up from here,'' Grace said.
- The four points allowed by South Carolina's defense is a new NCAA Tournament record for fewest points in a half of first- or second-round games. The previous low was eight in the first half by Prairie View vs. Baylor (3/20/11).
- The 21 points overall for Howard is also the fewest allowed in tournament history, the previous low was 26 by Kansas St. vs. UConn in a second-round game (3/19/12). Howard shot 1-of-26 from the field in the half and 8-of-54 for the game. The 21 points allowed is tied for the fewest allowed in program history. The total was first reached against S.C. State on Dec. 14, 2011. Howard's 14.8 percent on field goal attempts is the fourth-lowest allowed by the Gamecocks in program history and lowest since the S.C. State game previously mentioned.
- In the team's NCAA Tournament record book, seven single-game records were set: fewest points (21), margin of victory (43), field goal attempts (79), 3-point field goal attempts (38), total rebounds (69), offensive rebounds (30) and defensive rebounds (39).
- South Carolina rolled up 41 rebounds in the first half, 19 on the offensive end which led to 16 second-chance points. The 21 first-quarter rebounds are the third-highest single-quarter total in program history and the 20 second-quarter boards are right behind in fourth place. The team also had 20 rebounds in the third quarter.
- The 69 total rebounds by Carolina are a season high, surpassing the previous best of 62 against Auburn (Feb. 17). The final margin for second-chance points was 24-0 in favor of the Gamecocks.
- LeLe Grissett hit her first four shots in the second quarter and led the team in scoring with her eight points. She also added three rebounds (two offensive), two assists and a steal in her seven minutes of playing time.
- Along with a 20-0 run to open the game, South Carolina also had a 22-0 run that carried through the second quarter as well, building a commanding 44-4 halftime lead.
- The Gamecocks out-rebounded Howard 20-4 in the second quarter, the +16 margin is tied for the second-largest single-quarter margin in program history. Four different players shared the team lead with three apiece for Carolina.
- With a rebound with 6:29 to play in the third quarter, Aliyah Boston locked in her 25th-consecutive double-double. Only one woman in NCAA history has a longer streak, Oklahoma's Courtney Paris (28 in 2005-06, 33 in 2006-07, 31 in 2007-08).
- 13 of the 14 Gamecocks that played Friday were on the court for 10 minutes or more and only one player had more than 20 minutes logged. Those 13 players each made at least one field goal.
- Veterans Olivia Thompson (6), Elysa Wesolek (2) and Eniya Russell (2) each scored their first career tournament points in the win, as well as freshmen Bree Hall (8) and Sania Feagin (10). Feagin's point total tied for the team lead and is a new season high, the post also added a season-high seven rebounds in just 14 minutes of action.
- The offense assisted on 20 of the 28 field goals made in the game, its fourth game this season with 20 or more helpers. Russell and Grissett led the team with four each.
The Gamecocks turn their attention to round two of tournament play, taking on Miami (Fla.) in Colonial Life Arena on Sunday, March 20. Game time will be announced by the NCAA following the conclusion of all round one games.