COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Aliyah Boston had 13 points, nine rebounds and five blocks as No. 1 South Carolina held off pesky LSU 63-48 on Thursday night for its 20th straight victory.
South Carolina (26-1, 13-0 Southeastern Conference) seemed well on the way to doing what it’s done so often this season — take a quick first-quarter lead and count on its defensive tenacity to stay in front.
This time, though, LSU came right back at the Gamecocks with pressure of its own to keep things tight the first two quarters.
But the 6-foot-2 Mikiah Herbert Harrigan and 6-5 Boston got going inside in the third quarter as the Gamecocks finally put the Tigers (18-7, 8-5) away.
Herbert Harrigan had 12 points and Zia Cooke 11 for South Carolina.
Boston had five points as South Carolina went on a 12-1 run in the third period to open up a 46-31 lead. The Tigers could not answer back and lost its 10th straight to South Carolina.
LSU made things sticky at first. The Tigers forced 13 turnovers in the first two quarters. South Carolina had come in averaging that many miscues a game this season.
The Gamecocks missed seven of their final eight shots before halftime and finished the second quarter with just nine points — their first single-digit period since scoring nine points in their only loss to Indiana back in November.
LSU was down 25-14 after South Carolina’s Victaria Saxton’s scored a basket early in the second quarter. The Tigers went on a 12-5 run the next seven minutes to cut into South Carolina’s lead, but the Gamecocks still led 32-26 at halftime.
South Carolina tightened things up after halftime with just three more turnovers the final two quarters to continue its winning run.
LSU: The Tigers showed plenty of grit in hanging with South Carolina as long as they did. But once the Gamecocks tightened things up after halftime, LSU struggled to maintain that edge. The Tigers struggled inside and had 11 shots blocked.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks moved a step closer to regaining their SEC regular-season crown they haven’t won since 2017 — their NCAA Tournament winning season. South Carolina’s next victory with three games remaining clinches at least a share of the SEC title. Second-place Mississippi State has two losses, including one to the Gamecocks.