Cooke scores 22, No. 1 South Carolina women beat Florida
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Zia Cooke scored 22 points and No. 1 South Carolina won its 32nd straight game, 87-56 over Florida on Thursday night.
The Gamecocks (26-0, 13-0 Southeastern Conference) showed no hangover from their 88-64 win over then-third-ranked LSU this past Sunday and moved a step closer to their seventh regular-season league title under coach Dawn Staley.
South Carolina led 29-15 after the first quarter and 51-21 at the break. Reigning Associated Press player of the year Aliyah Boston played just 15 minutes due to the lopsided score, finishing with four points and six rebounds.
Nina Rickards scored 16 points for the Gators (14-12, 3-10), who continued their SEC struggles since losing leading scorer Zippy Broughton the in preseason.
Cooke was the Gamecocks’ catalyst, making 8 of her 11 shots while fellow senior Brea Beal had 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two blocks. Cooke and Beal combined for all of South Carolina’s season-high eight 3-pointers - Cooke with five and Beal with three.
Forward Victaria Saxton had 11 points while center Kamilla Cardoso pulled down 11 rebounds. Freshman Ashlyn Watkins had 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Florida: The Gators are right on the cutline of the top 10 in the SEC, which would mean the difference from playing in the SEC Tournament’s Wednesday play-in games or starting with a Thursday quarterfinal.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks continue to roll in their quest for a perfect season and a second consecutive national championship. They extended their program-record 32-game winning streak and lead the SEC standings by one game with three to play.
Florida hosts No. 5 LSU on Sunday.
South Carolina goes to Mississippi on Sunday.
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