No. 1 South Carolina handles Hampton, but star Aliyah Boston injured

South Carolina women’s basketball played its first home game in 20 days on Sunday and picked up a win.

The Gamecocks (6-0) defeated Hampton 85-38 in Colonial Life Arena, playing there for the first time since the season opener on Nov. 7.

South Carolina jumped out to a 22-4 lead in the first quarter, looking inside often and earning eight free throw attempts.

Reigning National Player of the Year Aliyah Boston left the game in the second quarter after a spill that followed a foul. She was fouled hard after cutting to the rim and going up for a layup, and was slow to get up. She took both of her free throws before being subbed out of the game.

Without Boston, the team remained in control.

The Gamecocks played all of its players against the Pirates and got strong production from its bench unit.

South Carolina will play at home again on Tuesday, when it takes on No. 20 UCLA.

ALIYAH BOSTON’S INJURY

Boston went down in the second quarter after getting fouled, but took both of her free throw attempts before heading to the locker room. She was slow to get up after falling directly to her knees, but got to the line on her own strength and walked off the court on her own power.

She came back to the sidelines during the third quarter wearing a boot on her right foot. She did not re-enter the game.

Boston has not missed a game in her South Carolina career.

SECOND UNIT SHINES

USC got a lot of production from its bench unit once again against Hampton.

South Carolina wound up with 65 bench points against the Pirates. Ashlyn Watkins and Bree Hall led the unit with 14 points each.

Dawn Staley tends to extend the rotation in early-season games, particularly when the team has a big lead like it did on Sunday. Each player on the team scored.

PAINT PRESENCE

South Carolina went inside on the Pirates all game.

It used its height advantage to go inside to its biggest players all afternoon. The team rarely took 3-point shots for most of the game. USC finished with 62 points in the paint.

The aggressive play took form early on as the Gamecocks attempted 14 free throws in the first half.

South Carolina’s used this strategy in each of its first six games. The team has outmatched the majority of opponents with its size this year on both ends of the court. The team wound up with eight blocks on the afternoon as well.