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.
Jailin Cherry led LSU with 13 points.
THE BIG PICTURE
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.
GAMECHANGER The Gamecocks powered out of halftime with a 11-2 opening to the third quarter, capitalizing on LSU turnovers and quick missed shots and scoring eight of those 11 points in the paint. KEY STAT South Carolina shot 72.7 percent (8-of-11) in the third quarter with forwards Aliyah Boston and Mikiah Herbert Harrigan combining for 15 of the 20 points in the period. NOTABLES
- Carolina's 26-1 record matches the 2015-16 mark as the best start in program history.
- Aliyah Boston's five blocks moved her into sole possession of the Gamecocks' freshman season record for blocks with 75. She also tied for game-high honors with 13 points.
- Mikiah Herbert Harrigan dropped 12 points while pulling down five rebounds and swatting three shots, tying her season high for conference games.
- Zia Cooke went 7-of-9 from the free throw line, a new career best, on her way to 11 points.
- Tyasha Harris poured in six of her 10 points during the first quarter, and she finished with a game high six assists.