Check off another box for Dawn Staley and her #1 ranked USC women’s basketball team. Sunday, they beat 5th ranked Connecticut for the first time in the Constitution State 81-77 in a game played in Hartford. The defending national champs have won three in a row over the program they supplanted as the nation’s best and ran their current overall winning streak to 29 games.
Both teams owned double digit leads at one point. The Huskies led by 11 at the end of the opening quarter. And with just over two minutes to play, the Gamecocks owned a 12 point lead 74-62.
UConn scored six straight points to close to within six at 74-68 with 1:11 to play. The Gamecocks were able to hold off the Huskie by making enough of their free throws, 7-out-of-12, the rest of the way. UConn did get to within three with ten seconds to play, but Raven Johnson hit a foul shot one second late for the four point cushion.
The Gamecocks shot just 39% from the floor but scored 26 points from the line. As usual, the Gamecocks won the boards and had 25 offensive rebounds they converted into 25 second chance points. Their depth also showed up as the USC bench outscored the Huskies’ bench 37-0.
Aliyah Boston led the Gamecocks with 26 points and 11 rebounds. Kamilla Cardoso also had a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
The Gamecocks are 23-0 and will play Thursday night at Auburn.