First, they handed out the rings. Then they dropped the banner. After the pre-game ceremonies honoring the national championship won by the USC Women’s basketball team last season, Dawn Staley and her team got down to the business of winning a third title under her leadership.
Facing an overmatched ETSU team that was a late add to the schedule after the cancellation of the BYU game, the Gamecocks clicked from the opening tap and ran away to a 101-31 victory. Eleven of the 12 USC players in the game scored, and six scored in double figures.
Zia Cooke led the scoring parade for USC with 17 points. Aliyah Boston, last season’s National Player of the Year, picked up where she left off last season with a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds.
The Gamecocks shot 53% for the game, and their defense limited the Bucs to an 18% shooting night (10-57). The Gamecocks forced 22 turnovers and outscored ETSU on the fastbreak 37-0.
USC will now embark on a four-game winning streak starting Friday night at Maryland. Following will be games at Clemson, Stanford and Cal-Poly.