Rebounding Powers Gamecocks Past No. 21 Razorbacks

Rebounding Powers Gamecocks Past No. 21 Razorbacks
The Gamecocks improve to 15-1 on the season with a win over Arkansas on Thursday night. (Source: South Carolina Athletics)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) Zia Cooke had 21 points, Aliyah Boston added 19 points and a career-high 25 rebounds and fourth-ranked South Carolina cleared another significant hurdle in its quest for a Southeastern Conference championship by topping No. 21 Arkansas 91-82 on Thursday night.

Mikiah Herbert Harrison and Tyasha Harris added 13 points for South Carolina.

The Gamecocks (15-1, 3-0 SEC) used a stingy defense to slow down Razorbacks star guard Chelsea Dungee, one of the SECâs best scorers.

Dungee racked up 63 points in two games last season against South Carolina but was held in check for most of the game. She began the night 0 for 11 from the field with three airballs. She came in averaging nearly 20 points per game but didn't score her first field goal until the third quarter and finished with 14 points.

Just as they did in a 99-72 rout of then-No. 13 Kentucky, the Gamecocks came out strong, bolting to a 31-15 lead after the first quarter.

Alexis Tolefree had 22 points and Amber Ramirez added 20 for Arkansas (13-3, 1-2).

BIG PICTURE

Arkansas: The Razorbacks, who parlayed last yearâs strong postseason run into a 12-1 start this year, remain searching for a signature win. Theyâve lost to California, Texas A&M and South Carolina and donât have a real resume-booster, although if they finish in the SECâs top six, they should reach the NCAA tournament.

South Carolina: Coach Dawn Staley said she âœrefused to drink the Kool-Aid❠after the Kentucky win, but she may be at least sipping from the cup. Her team is young but tremendously talented and has beaten five of its six Top 25 opponents this year.

GAMECHANGER

The Gamecocks dominated the glass on Thursday with 63 rebounds, the highest total during the Staley era, and out-rebounded Arkansas 63-33, the fourth-largest rebounding margin for Carolina under Staley.

KEY STAT

Carolina's defense took Arkansas' high-powered offense out of the game early, limiting the Razorbacks to just 30 points on 29.7 percent shooting and - as critically - 4-of-15 (.267) from 3-point range. Arkansas entered the game ranked fifth in the country in scoring (86.2 ppg) and 16th in the nation in 3-point percentage (.386)

NOTABLES

• Boston earned her second-straight double-double with 19 points and a career-best 25 rebounds, the second highest single-game total in program history. The freshman also accounted for five blocks and a steal. Boston etched her name in the record book tonight by breaking the records for most rebounds by a freshman (25), most offensive rebounds by a freshman (10) and most defensive rebounds by a freshman (15).

• Herbert Harrigan scored 13 points and moved into a tie for third place on the career blocks list with 177.

• Cooke notched her second-consecutive 20-point game with 21, including four 3-pointers. The Toledo, Ohio, native has cracked double figures in the last six games.

• Harris poured in 13 points for her third game in a row in double figures. Her seven assists tonight tie her season high, and she pulled down five rebounds on the night.

• Beal finished with 12 rebounds for a new career high, making it the first time multiple Gamecocks pulled down 10 or more rebounds since A'ja Wilson and Herbert Harrigan accomplished the feat against Virginia in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2018.

• Carolina out-rebounded Arkansas 63-33, leading to a season high 29 second-chance points for the Gamecocks.

UP NEXT

The Gamecocks (15-1, 3-0 SEC) head to Music City to clash with Vanderbilt (12-4, 2-1 SEC) on Sunday. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. ET on the SEC Network.