No. 1 South Carolina, Boston power past Coastal 102-39 | Sports

No. 1 South Carolina, Boston power past Coastal 102-39 | Sports

COLUMBIA — South Carolina coach Dawn Staley wants to make sure people remember how special Aliyah Boston is. The Gamecocks All-American has done a pretty good job of reminding them of themselves this season.

Boston, the reigning AP Player of the Year, had 11 points and 10 rebounds for her 68th career double-double to keep No. 1 South Carolina undefeated in a 102-39 win over Coastal Carolina on Wednesday.

Boston, playing just 13 minutes, was four games away from matching the program’s all-time mark for doubles-doubles set by Sheila Foster four decades ago.

“She’s the best player in the country, let’s not forget that,” Staley said. “There are so many stories circulating. She is undoubtedly the best player in the country.”

Boston is averaging almost a double-double this year, averaging 12.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game this year — as in their previous two seasons — and doing it in fewer minutes per contest than in their sophomore and junior seasons.

When Boston are on the pitch, it’s almost impossible not to notice their skill and dedication.

Boston proved this once again in their short game against the overwhelmed Chanticleers (5-6). Midway through the second quarter, Coastal’s Amaya Adams stole the ball and seemed to have a clear path to the basket before the 6-foot-5 Boston caught her and blocked the shot wide.

“I don’t know why this girl thought she would have a lane,” said freshman South Carolina Ashlyn Watkins, laughing.

Watkins had a career-high 16 points and Zia Cooke 14 as the defending champion improved to 12-0 for the second straight season and fourth in Staley’s 15 years as coach.

The efforts of Boston and the Gamecocks made it an even tougher challenge for the Chanticleers, who only have two players 6ft or taller while South Carolina had 10.

“I’ve never seen a team like this,” said Coastal Carolina coach Kevin Pederson, who previously faced Staley twice while coaching at Division II Lander. “This team is not only talented, they surpass you.”

South Carolina led 13-2 in less than five minutes and steadily increased the lead to 36 by halftime. The Gamecocks’ brand defenses didn’t fade no matter who Staley put on the court.

They passed Coastal Carolina 34-12 and had 12 blocks in the first 20 minutes. Boston had three of their team’s best 16 blocks in the season.

Arin Freeman scored 15 points and led Coastal Carolina, who shot just 20.3% (15 of 74) after scoring 43% on the season. Aja Blount, the Chants’ top scorer at 17.5 points per game, was held to six points in 2-of-14 shooting.

South Carolina finished their second straight game with five players in double figures.


Coastal Carolina: The Chanticleers took on Power Five programs under first-year coach Pederson, losing in Georgia, Kentucky and Wake Forest before falling to the Gamecocks. Pederson believes the robust schedule will prepare her for the Sun Belt Conference.

South Carolina: The fun time is over for the Gamecocks, who will play three of their first five SEC games away. Staley has said her team is still finding the form they need to repeat as conference regular season and national champions.


The South Carolina coaching staff took off their holiday sweaters on the sidelines a few days before Christmas. Staley wore a red oversized sweater and her assistants and staff wore festive outfits. The winner? Had to be assistant Lisa Boyer wearing a Christmas tree dress with gold leggings and green and red pixie style shoes.


Coastal Carolina: Opens Sun Belt Conference December 29 at James Madison.

South Carolina: Begins defense of his SEC regular-season title against Texas A&M on December 29.

AP Women’s College Basketball: and and

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