No. 1 South Carolina holds off Arkansas rally, secures SEC win. What we learned

·4 min read

No. 1 South Carolina women’s basketball escaped Fayetteville, Arkansas with its fifth consecutive SEC win as it fended off a late rally from the Arkansas Razorbacks to win 61-52 Sunday.

The Gamecocks (17-1, 5-1 SEC) didn’t leave Arkansas unscathed, as veteran starter Zia Cooke hopped off the floor with an apparent ankle injury with 5:13 to go in the third quarter. Cooke scored four points on 1 of 7 shooting and grabbed four rebounds before leaving the game. USC did not provide an immediate update on Cooke’s status.

Destanni Henderson, who eclipsed 1,000 career points at Arkansas (11-6, 1-3 SEC), scored 19 on Sunday, including four key points in the fourth quarter.

Aliyah Boston extended her program record in consecutive double-doubles to 11, finishing the game with 19 points and 13 rebounds. She was quieted by Arkansas in the second half, scoring four points with four rebounds in the final two quarters.

The Gamecocks returned junior Laeticia Amihere, who hadn’t seen the floor since Dec. 30 at Missouri due to health and safety protocols, though she played just six minutes. South Carolina was without freshman reserve Bree Hall, who stayed back due to health and safety protocols.

Arkansas veterans Makayla Daniels and Amber Ramirez played key roles in helping the Razorbacks keep the matchup close. Daniels finished the game with 17 points, and Ramirez finished with 14.

Here’s what we learned about the Gamecocks.

South Carolina hits the gas in third quarter, turnovers allow a late Arkansas run

Leading by nine points at halftime, the Gamecocks went on a 15-0 run midway through the third quarter to extend their lead to 20 points with 3:17 to go in the third period.

As soon as the Gamecocks were off to a 20-point lead, eight USC turnovers helped the Razorbacks go on a 15-0 run of their own. Daniels contributed seven points to the run in the fourth quarter, while the Gamecocks put up just three shots during the Razorbacks’ run

Arkansas brought the game within four points with 4:20 to go in the fourth quarter, but USC veterans helped spearhead the Gamecocks’ late effort to secure the win. Henderson, Boston and Brea Beal scored six points off Razorback turnovers late in the fourth.

South Carolina committed 19 turnovers, 14 in the second half. Arkansas capitalized for 16 points off Gamecocks’ mistakes.

Gamecocks off to faster start in first half

After shooting cold in the opening half of its last game against Texas A&M, South Carolina saw more of its shots fall as it took a 36-27 lead to the locker room.

Staley said before Sunday’s game the Gamecocks had been creating good shots, but they needed more of their shots to fall. The Gamecocks shot 40% from the field in Fayetteville, including a 42.9% effort in the first quarter, against the Razorbacks’ 30% first-half clip.

The Gamecocks had prepared for Arkansas’ proficiency from behind the arc, and the Razorbacks worked to create a problem from 3-point range early. Arkansas’ four-point lead midway through the first quarter was largely due to its opening three 3-pointers, but South Carolina was able to tame the Razorbacks before halftime.

Arkansas finished the first half 5 of 15 from 3-point range, while the Gamecocks made 4 of their 13 attempts from behind the arc in the first half.

South Carolina defense quiets Razorbacks from 3-point range

Arkansas came into the USC game hitting 146 3-point shots, good for ninth in the NCAA. The Gamecocks quelled Arkansas’ efficiency from behind the arc on Sunday.

The Razorbacks finished the game going 7 of 29 from 3-point range. They made just one shot from 3-point range in the third quarter, despite their nine attempts in that period, and went 1 of 5 from behind the arc in the fourth.

Arkansas came into the game averaging 33.6% from behind the arc and made just 24.1% against South Carolina.

Next South Carolina women’s basketball game

Who: No. 1 South Carolina (17-1, 5-1 SEC) vs. Vanderbilt Commodores (10-8, 1-3 SEC)

When: Monday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m.

Where: Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, S.C.

Watch: SEC Network

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