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South Carolina women’s basketball earns decisive 76-34 win over Texas A&M in SEC opener


South Carolina women’s basketball opened SEC play with yet another dominant performance, beating Texas A&M 76-34 at Colonial Life Arena on Thursday.

The Gamecocks (13-0, 1-0 SEC) never faltered against the Aggies (5-6, 0-1), leading by 25 at halftime and finishing with their seventh victory of the season by 40 points or more. Texas A&M was the eighth opponent this season that South Carolina has held to fewer than 40 points.

Reigning National Player of the Year Aliyah Boston played just 19 minutes in the victory, finishing with six points and five rebounds. She remains six double-doubles away from breaking the program record set from 1979-82 by Sheila Foster. Of the Gamecocks’ 76 points, 42 came off of the bench.

Young players make a splash in SEC debuts

Four South Carolina players made their debut against an SEC opponent on Thursday, and three of them recorded points. Freshman Talaysia Cooper led the way as the team’s top scorer with a career-high 15 points, five rebounds, two assists and a steal. Ashlyn Watkins did not score but tied for the No. 2 rebounder with five, plus two blocks.

Coach Dawn Staley called Sania Feagin the most talented post player on the team a few weeks ago, and the sophomore lived up to the hype against the Aggies. She finished as the team’s No. 3 scorer with 11 points, six rebounds and two blocks. Redshirt freshman guard Raven Johnson, who suffered a season-ending injury before SEC play began in 2021-22, put up four rebounds, an assist, a steal and a block.

Defense locks down Aggies

South Carolina is one of the top rebounding teams in the nation, and they showed it off against Texas A&M, out-rebounding the Aggies 53-26. Feagin and junior Kamilla Cardoso led the way with six rebounds apiece, but 12 of the 13 Gamecocks who saw the floor recorded at least two rebounds.

The Gamecocks also continued their shot-blocking prowess with nine, led by Cardoso with three. They also logged 13 steals behind four from senior Laeticia Amihere. Nine different players recorded steals, and five put up blocks against the Aggies. South Carolina currently leads the nation in blocks per game at 10.2 and is No. 2 in rebounds per game with 51.75.

Three-point shooting keeps improving

The Gamecocks struggled badly from beyond the arc during nonconference play, but their long-range shooting percentage has risen significantly over the last several games. The team averages just under 30% from beyond the arc but finished 6-of-18 on 3-pointers against Texas A&M.

Brea Beal, traditionally a defensive weapon for South Carolina, scored all six of her points on two 3-pointers. Senior Zia Cooke was the team’s star beyond the arc and finished 3-of-7 with 14 total points. Opposing defenses often load the paint against the Gamecocks to combat the post pairing of Boston and Cardoso, but the improved long-range shooting paired with limited minutes for both bigs against the Aggies proved the versatility of this squad.

Source : Greenville Online