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Boston, No. 1 Gamecocks lead Arkansas in SEC women’s quarters

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Aliyah Boston notched her 22nd straight double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds as top-ranked South Carolina beat Arkansas 76-54 Friday in the quarterfinals of the women’s tournament of the Southeastern Conference.

The Gamecocks (28-1) received their regular season championship from the SEC before kickoff, then took their first step to a seventh tournament title in eight years against the last team to beat them in this event. Arkansas beat South Carolina in 2019 with the Gamecocks undefeated since then, winning the 2020 and 2021 tournaments.

South Carolina will face either No. 23 Florida or fourth-seeded Mississippi in Saturday’s semifinal, the Gamecocks’ ninth in the last 10 seasons.

The Gamecocks have now won 16 games in a row.

Boston, the SEC Player of the Year and three-time SEC Defensive Player of the Year, did a bit of everything as usual. She had five assists, five steals and two blocks. Laeticia Amihere added 16 points and Victaria Saxton grabbed 11 rebounds. Ten Gamecocks scored at least three runs.

Arkansas (18-13) snapped a two-game winning streak.

Samara Spencer led the Razorbacks with 10 points.

This game has only been tied once at 2, with South Carolina never trailing.

The Gamecocks missed their first six shots before Boston fired them, and she scored five points and grabbed five rebounds as South Carolina led 24-12 late in the first quarter. Arkansas outscored South Carolina 17-16 in the second, shooting twice from under nine before the Gamecocks took a 40-29 halftime lead.

Arkansas shot within 44-37 on a Sasha Goforth 3-pointer with 6:49 left in the third. The Gamecocks managed just three shots in the quarter, but they went 10 of 12 from the free throw line and finished third on a 12-4 run for a 56-41 lead going into fourth.

The Gamecocks increased the lead to 23 in the final two minutes. They finished with a big advantage at the free throw line (23 of 28) over Arkansas (9 of 15) as three Razorbacks finished with four fouls apiece.

COLD START

It may have been the early start, but both teams started very slowly. The Gamecocks missed nine of their first 11 shots and didn’t make a basket until Boston scored on a backhand with 7:56 left in the first quarter. The Razorbacks started 1 of 10 and missed their first seven 3-pointers.

Perhaps the worst play was when Victaria Saxton tried to pass the ball downfield after a defensive rebound without Beal watching. The ball bounced out of bounds.

WRAPPED UP AND PLAYING

South Carolina center Kamilla Cardoso missed the Gamecocks’ final regular season game with what was described as an ‘upper body’ injury that limited her to six minutes in a win over Texas A&M on February 24. Cardoso came off the bench in that game with a black brace wrapped around his left shoulder.

Cardoso finished with five points and seven rebounds.

FOLLOWING

Arkansas begins to prepare for the NCAA tournament bracket announcement.

Saturday’s semi-final for the Gamecocks.

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More AP Women’s College Basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https https://twitter.com/AP_Top25




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