USC All-American forward Aliyah Boston scored 20 points and grabbed 18 rebounds to lead the Gamecocks past Mercer 79-53 in the first round of the NCAA Women’s Tournament in San Antonio. It’s the 24th win of the season for the Gamecocks and the 500th career victory for coach Dawn Staley, 328 of them at USC.
The Gamecocks closed the first half with a 16-5 run to lead 43-32 at the break. They stretched the lead to 17 points after three quarters, and held the Bears to just 6 fourth quarter points to pull away to the comfortable win.
Victaria Saxton matched her career high with 20 points as the Gamecocks held a 42-16 scoring advantage in the paint.
USC, the #1 seed in its region, will face Oregon State in the second round on Tuesday. The 8th seeded Beavers defeated Florida State Sunday 83-59.