With a chance of three-peat at the Southeastern Conference women’s tournament, the South Carolina Gamecocks are exactly where they want to be.
Aliyah Boston scored her 23rd consecutive doubledouble, scoring 15 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in beating Mississippi 61 to 51 on Saturday in the semifinals of the SEC.
Boston stated, “It’s really thrilling.” “This was one of our goals at the start of the year, and it’s now here.”
The Gamecocks (29-1), won their 17th consecutive game to reach their seventh tournament title game in eight seasons. They will face either No. They will play either No. 18 Tennessee or 7th-seeded Kentucky Sunday to try and win the seventh South Carolina title in eight years.
South Carolina’s 7-2 win over Ole Miss in the semis was a result of its size and length. This is the third consecutive season of showdowns between the top scoring defenses in the SEC. The Gamecocks led the SEC with 51.2 points and held the Rebels to just 30 points over three quarters.
Ole Miss (23-8), trying to rally, scored 20 of the 25 first quarter points to pull within 58-50 of Shakira Austin’s three point play with 1:40 remaining. This was the final bucket for the Rebels as South Carolina secured their latest title game berth despite missing five of the quarter’s shots.
Dawn Staley, South Carolina coach, said that “we just lost the momentum.” It’s difficult to play a high-caliber game such as we are. Once you have the momentum swing, it’s hard to get it back.
Boston, twice-time SEC Defensive Player Of The Year, had also three blocks and three steals.
Ole Miss (23-8), who had last played in the tournament championships in 1983, was making its semifinal appearance. Coach Yolett McPhee McCuin gave her Rebels a simple reminder that kept them going until the end.
McPhee McCuin stated that “No one believed we would beat South Carolina.” “We must look like an NCAA Tournament team so that we don’t give up,” McPhee-McCuin said.
Angel Baker was the Reels’ leading scorer with 20 points. Austin scored 11 of her 16 points in the fourth.
This match was a replay of the regular-season finale in which South Carolina won last weekend. For Ole Miss’ strong start, the Rebels scored the first four goals. Madison Scott blocked Zia Cooke’s shot.
Victaria Saxton scored a steal, and ended a slow-motion breakaway by scoring a layup to tie it at 4. The next four were scored by Boston, and South Carolina was leading 14-8 at the end of the first quarter. Baker scored 10 in second quarter to keep Ole Miss within striking distance, although the Gamecocks lead 33-22 at the half.
South Carolina scored 20-8 more than the Rebels to take a 53-30 lead into the fourth. Ole Miss kept it interesting for the final 90 seconds.
Ole Miss was outbeaten by the Gamecocks 44-28. This is only the second consecutive time they have not had a lead of 20 or more in any of their six previous games. Both were against the Rebels. South Carolina’s dominance on the inside led to a 19-4 advantage in second-chance points.
Austin, Ole Miss’ tallest player, stands at 6 feet 5 inches. Rebel is taller than 6-2. Compare this to South Carolina, where four Gamecocks were taller than Austin and Boston had Kamilla Cardoso (6-7). Austin was only able to shoot 2-of-9 in the first half because of the Gamecocks.
Ole Miss won with 27 points. 23 Florida in the quarterfinals. In this game, she finished 6 out 17
Boston stated, “We just wanted it to be difficult for her throughout the night, make sure that she felt us every single time she touched the ball,”
“It’s only the ones who haven’t been there before that don’t know how difficult it is because it’s like trusting babies. Staley stated that her younger Gamecocks were born into wealth.
Ole Miss will now have to wait to find out its NCAA Tournament seed.