NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)Aliyah Boston could be scoring and grabbing even more rebounds for top-ranked South Carolina.
Surrounded by a talented group of Gamecocks, the reigning AP national player of the year gets to watch the end of some blowouts. So she is showing off her efficiency, and putting in the work elsewhere.
Boston collected 16 points and 10 rebounds in just 22 minutes as South Carolina dominated Vanderbilt 96-48 on Thursday night for the Gamecocks’ 25th straight victory. With her fourth straight double-double and 12th this season, Boston matched the program record of 72 set by Sheila Foster between 1979 and 1982.
Coach Dawn Staley said she knows people wonder what will happen when South Carolina needs the 6-foot-5 forward to play 30 or 35 minutes.
”She’s built to go the long haul,” Staley said of Boston, who knocked down all of her eight shots. ”She’s very efficient in what she does. And we’ve got a great strength coach that is on top of all of that. So if she’s not getting a 30-plus minute night, they’re doing other stuff to balance that out.”
South Carolina (19-0, 7-0 Southeastern Conference) evened up the all-time series at 21 with the Gamecocks’ 15th straight victory, including seven straight at Memorial Gymnasium. The Gamecocks hadn’t been tied with Vanderbilt since splitting the first games in 1991-92.
Zia Cooke led South Carolina with 17 points, and Kamilla Cardoso had 10 points and 15 rebounds.
Vanderbilt (9-11, 0-6) remains winless in league play. Coach Shea Ralph has only eight Commodores available because of season-ending injuries to three players before her second season opener. That has her focusing on improvement like playing through fatigue, communication and controlling what they can.
”Today to me is not indicative of the growth of our team,” Ralph said. ”Are there things we need to get better at? Yes, clearly there are. There’s things that we must get better at if we want to continue to be competitive in every game that we play. But I’m proud of the growth that we’ve had.”
Marnelle Garraud led Vanderbilt with 15 points. She was held to just 1 of 7 outside the arc after making 7 of 10 3-pointers in Monday night’s 84-81 loss at Arkansas. Garraud made four of those in the final 75 seconds to tie it at 81 before the Commodores lost on a buzzer-beating 3.
Ciaja Harbison, Vanderbilt’s leading scorer at 19 points per game, was held to nine. Demi Washington finished with 10.
The Commodores played tough early with six lead changes. Vanderbilt last led 9-8 with 4:22 left in the first quarter on a driving layup by Garraud off a bad pass by Gamecocks forward Victaria Saxton.
Cooke knocked down a jumper with 3:56 left to put the Gamecocks ahead to stay, and they led 18-9 at the end of the first quarter. South Carolina put together 18 straight in outscoring Vanderbilt 27-8 in the second quarter.
South Carolina led as much as 46 late in the third before taking a 74-30 lead into the fourth.
South Carolina took advantage of its size difference, building a 49-23 rebounding advantage. The Gamecocks have 10 players at least 6-foot or taller, compared to just three for Vanderbilt. They also had a 41-12 scoring difference in bench points, with 12 Gamecocks playing at least three minutes.
Vanderbilt simply couldn’t keep pace, especially once the shots stopped falling. The Commodores came in averaging 41.3% shooting but was held to 30%. That’s just the third time this season they haven’t shot at least 34% in a game.
”When Shea gets her team in here, they’re going to be a team to be reckoned with,” Staley said.
The defending national champs ‘ latest performance is only going to reinforce voters’ opinions after the Gamecocks earned every first-place vote in Monday’s Top 25. That puts them on pace to break their current tie for the fourth-longest streak of 30 straight weeks as the AP’s top-ranked team.
South Carolina hosts Arkansas on Sunday.
Vanderbilt visits Florida on Sunday.
AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25