NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Zia Cooke scored 17 points to lead five in double figures and fourth-ranked South Carolina routed Vanderbilt 93-57 on Sunday to position the Gamecocks for a possible move up to No. 1 for the first time this season.
Top-ranked UConn lost to Baylor on Thursday night. No. 2 Oregon lost to Arizona State on Friday night, and Arizona State upset No. 3 Oregon State 55-47 earlier Sunday.
The Gamecocks (16-1, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) came in and simply dominated from the start on their way to a 10th straight win. They improved to 12-2 against Vanderbilt under coach Dawn Staley, including all six at Memorial Gym in this stretch. They’ve also won their first four in league play for the sixth time in the past seven seasons.
Mikiah Herbert Harrigan added 15 points for South Carolina. Laeticia Amikhere had 11, and Tyasha Harris and Aliyah Boston added 10 each.
Chelsie Hall scored 15 points to lead Vanderbilt (12-5, 2-2). Mariella Fasoula added 12.
The Gamecocks opened the game scoring the first nine points, and they finished with a 12-3 run for a 21-9 lead after the first quarter.
But Vanderbilt had won seven of its last eight despite losing leading scorer Brinae Alexander to an Achilles injury on Nov. 28. That streak included the Commodores’ first win at Georgia since 2011 on Thursday night. The Commodores went on a 12- 2 spurt of their own and pulled within 27-24 on a layup by Mariella Fasoula with 3:06 to go in the second.
Vanderbilt didn’t score again the rest of the quarter, and South Carolina responded by scoring 11 straight for a 38-24 lead at halftime.
The Gamecocks picked up in the third where they left off, and Cooke’s 3 with 8:03 left capped a 21-point spurt that left South Carolina up 48-24. South Carolina outscored Vanderbilt 36-14 in the quarter and led 74-38 going into the fourth.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks made Vanderbilt pay for its mistakes with a 27-10 scoring edge off turnovers. They also used their speed for a 21-9 scoring difference on fast breaks. They also shot 50.7% (35-of-69) from the floor.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores now are 8-2 at Memorial Gym this season with both losses to teams ranked fourth in the nation. They lost to then-No. 4 UConn in November. They need only one more win this season to match the nine wins at home over the past two seasons combined. But forward Autumn Newby had to be carried off the court with 16.3 seconds left after a leg injury. Se finished with five points and eight rebounds.
The Gamecocks could be moving on up Monday in the new poll.
South Carolina: Gamecocks visit Missouri on Thursday night.
Vanderbilt: Host No. 21 Arkansas in a week on Sunday.
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