Record-setting defense leads S Carolina women to 79-21 win

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Aliyah Boston scored 10 points and had 12 rebounds while top-seeded South Carolina’s stifling defense held Howard to the fewest points ever in a women’s NCAA Tournament game in a 79-21 victory Friday.

It was the All-American’s 25th straight double-double and one of the biggest cheers of the second half on her home floor came when she pulled down her 10th rebound with 7:10 to go in the third quarter.

The 21 points for the Bison broke the record held by Kansas State which scored 26 in a loss to UConn in 2012. The Gamecocks (30-2) held Howard (21-10) to a NCAA Tournament record low four points in the first half as they took a 44-4 lead.

The defense helped mask an off shooting night for the tournament’s overall top seed. The Gamecocks shot 35% from the field and just 8-fo-38 on 3-pointers.

It was a total mismatch, even for a No. 1 versus No. 16 seed. The Gamecocks had 30 offensive rebounds to just six for Howard. The Bison turned the ball over 20 times and were outscored 38 to 8 in the paint.

Thirteen of the fourteen South Carolina players who got in the game scored.

Iyanna Warren led Howard with eight points.

South Carolina didn’t hold Howard scoreless in any quarter. The Gamecocks did that in 2021, shutting out Texas in the fourth quarter of a 62-34 win in last year’s NCAA Tournament regional final.

The 21 points matched the fewest South Carolina has allowed in its history.

The Gamecocks play No. 8 seed Miami on Friday. The Hurricanes 78-66.

BIG PICTURE

Howard: The Bison do go home with their first NCAA Tournament win, a 55-51 victory over Incarnate Word in Wednesday’s opening round. It’s the first tournament win for the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference since South Carolina State won a play-in game in 1983.

South Carolina: There is nothing like an outmatched opponent to help shake off any rust from losing to Kentucky 64-62 in the Southeastern Conference final.

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More AP coverage of March Madness: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness and https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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