They played a last possession game in last season’s Final Four, a game won by Stanford on their way to the national title. Tuesday night in front of over 13,000 fans at the Colonial Life Arena, top ranked USC got their revenge rallying from 18 points down in the second half for a 65-61 win over the second ranked Cardinal.
It’s the greatest comeback victory in the history of Gamecock women’s basketball, and it completed a 12-0 sweep of their non-conference games in November and December, including six wins over ranked teams. There’s one more non-conference game left, a January 27th rematch with UConn in Columbia.
The Gamecocks trailed 34-16 in the second quarter and were down by 17 early in the third. They outscored the Cardinal 22-4 the rest of the quarter for a 50-49 lead going into the fourth quarter. The fourth quarter was a one possession game the entire way until Destiny Littleton hit a pair of free throws for the final four-point margin with two seconds to play.
Second half defense sparked the comeback. The Gamecocks held the Cardinal to 29% shooting and forced 13 turnovers they converted into 20 points over the final 20 minutes. The Gamecocks turned it over just seven times and finished with 17 more shot attempts than Stanford.
Aliyah Boston led USC with 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Destanni Henderson, playing her first game since November 29th while recovering from an injury, added 17 points and 7 assists, with 13 of her points coming during that third quarter rally.
The Gamecocks will open SEC play at Missouri on December 30th.