Top-ranked South Carolina dominates Missouri

Top-ranked South Carolina dominates Missouri
South Carolina's Victaria Saxton, right, fights off Missouri's Jordan Chavis, center, and Aijha Blackwell, left, for a rebound during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Aliyah Boston and Victaria Saxon each had 10 points and 10 rebounds to lead No. 1 South Carolina to a 78-45 victory over Missouri on Thursday night.

Zia Cooke and Mikiah Herbert Harrigan scored 14 each for the Gamecocks (17-1, 5-0 Southeastern Conference), who played their first game since taking over the top spot in the AP Top 25. South Carolina exploited its size advantage, grabbing 37 offensive rebounds and holding a 62-31 edge in total rebounds.

Aijha Blackwell scored 13 points to lead the Tigers (4-14, 1-4). Missouri shot just 27.3%.

After a sluggish start, the Gamecocks started to pull away in the second quarter, outscoring the Tigers 18-3 in the last six minutes of the first half for a 35-17 lead.

Defensively, the Gamecocks blocked eight shots. They smothered Amber Smith, who leads Missouri in scoring by averaging 13 points. Smith didn’t score until the final minute of the third quarter and finished with four points on 1-of-8 shooting.

South Carolina’s Tyasha Harris finished with 11 points and five assists and became the second player in program history to surpass 1,000 points and 600 assists in a career. She joined Cristina Ciocan, who accomplished the feat from 2000-04.

BIG PICTURE

Missouri: After qualifying for the NCAA Tournament four years in a row, the Tigers have struggled adjusting to life without the program’s all-time leading scorer, Sophie Cunningham, who now plays in the WNBA and in Australia. They hope to build for the future around freshmen Blackwell and Hayley Frank, who average more than 12 points.

South Carolina: The Gamecocks have yet to be slowed down or seriously challenged in SEC play, winning each game by at least nine points. South Carolina is averaging 91 per game in conference play.

UP NEXT

Missouri: At Mississippi on Sunday.

South Carolina: Host No. 10 Mississippi State on Monday.

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