The women’s basketball team of South Carolina established himself as No. 1 in the rankings and earned his first win in a match between the # 1 team vs. # 2 on Monday, defeating UConn 73-57 in the Battle 4 Atlantis championship game in the Bahamas.
Monday’s noon ET game delayed voting for the Associated Press poll, so the Gamecocks they will remain at the top when the rankings are announced on Tuesday. Voting for the poll typically takes place on Sunday when the rankings are revealed on Monday, but the Gamecocks-Huskies duel made it all worthwhile.
“I’m super proud,” said the coach of the Gamecocks, Dawn Staley. “They work hard, they believe in each other. We have to improve mentally; that’s the separation between good and excellent teams.”
Maybe, but Gamecocks – especially in the second half – they already looked pretty excellent. They limited to Huskies to 0 points in the last five minutes of the game and scored more than UConn 40-21 in the second half, including 16-3 in the fourth quarter.
“We knew exactly what we had to do, especially on the defensive end of the ball,” Staley said. “We had to alter. UConn it is well-oiled machinery. If you let them run their stuff, they’ve made teams look stupid. “
The third-year pole player, Aliyah Boston, led South Carolina with 22 points and 15 rebounds. The escorts of the Gamecocks, Zia cooke and Destanni Henderson they combined for 32 points, seven assists and eight steals.
“It’s time for Aliyah Boston to be the dominant player that she is,” Staley said of the candidate for National Player of the Year.
Meanwhile, another candidate for that honor, the second-year escort Paige Bueckers they led UConn with 19 points, but only six of them came in the second half.
“I don’t think he played well today, to be honest,” said the coach of UConn, Geno Auriemma. “In the first half, she had a lot of great moments. But throughout the second half, I don’t think she was a factor at all. I don’t know if she got tired, she was exhausted. But she wasn’t the same Paige we used to see.
“Part of that comes from, we need another escort out there who can take outside shots. She didn’t get enough help.”
South Carolina, which started the season at No. 1, had been 0-4 in previous No. 1 vs. No. 2, with three of those losses to UConn. This was also the second victory of the Gamecocks about the Huskies, who lead the series, 9-2.
UConn has played in more 1-2 matchups than any other men’s or women’s program in college basketball history. The Huskies they are now 22-4 in those games. But in a two-team Final Four matchup last season, South Carolina showed more poise down the stretch.
The Gamecocks they trailed by as much as 13 points in the first half, but came out enthusiastically from the break and took control of the game in the third quarter, scoring more than the Huskies, 24-18.
South Carolina he was leading 57-54 after three quarters. That they score 13 points more than UConn in the fourth quarter they tied for the worst point spread of the Huskies in the latest period since women’s basketball switched to quarterfinals in 2015-16. Baylor scored more than them 19-6 in the fourth quarter of a January 2020 loss to the Bears.
On Monday, Huskies they shot 10-1 from the field in the fourth quarter.
“The combination of his defensive pressure in the fourth quarter and our inability to handle that pressure is basically the game,” Auriemma said. “For 30 minutes, I thought we were very good. The last 10 minutes, they were better than us … defensively, offensively, bouncing the ball. They are the better team than us right now. A little deeper “.
South Carolina won the battle on the boards 41-26, and had 14 turnovers compared to 19 for UConn.
“We don’t want lows; we don’t want lapses,” Staley said of what the Gamecocks can learn from the win. “We have a chance to face them again. So I’m sure there will be a lot of adjustments on both sides of the ball for them and for us.
“But I’m just happy for our players who had the determination to focus and win the basketball game.”
The rematch between the teams will be in South Carolina on January 27 (ESPN, 7 pm ET).
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SC defeats UConn, consolidates as No. 1 in ranking