#Gamecocks glide past Arkansas and into SEC Semifinal, 93-66 (AUDIO)

Aliyah Boston posted her 79th career double-double in the Gamecocks victory, Friday (SEC)

BON SECOURS ARENA, GREENVILLE, SC: Things you shouldn’t do in Greenville, South Carolina, include venturing between 385 and Woodruff Road at 5 o’clock, skipping the biscuits at Tupelo Honey, and getting trapped under the basket against Victaria Saxton and Aliyah Boston when they have another title in their sights. The duo feasted on the block as Saxton dropped 19 points and Boston registered her 79th career double-double in South Carolina’s 93-66 victory over Arkansas at the SEC Women’s Tournament, Friday.

Arkansas had a solid game plan for their quarterfinal matchup with the Gamecocks (30-0) that kept the Razorbacks within arms’ reach for the first three quarters. Following USC’s 92-46 win at the Colonial Life Arena on Jan. 22nd, Arkansas head coach Mike Neighbors knew his frontcourt couldn’t go toe-to-toe with the nation’s top-ranked team. Instead, the Razorbacks did their best to keep the game on the perimeter, passing and driving in the hopes of opening up long-distance shots to neutralize the Gamecocks’ physical strength. Defensively, Arkansas concentrated on keeping the ball out of Boston’s hands and packing the lane. The strategy yielded better results, but Arkansas couldn’t make enough of its jumpers or disrupt USC’s offense enough to truly pose a threat.

With the focus on Boston, Brea Beal knocked down a pair of 3-pointers in the opening minutes to stretch the Arkansas defense. When Boston was double-teamed, she cleverly passed out of it, often finding Saxton with a mismatch on the opposite post. Saxton racked up a dozen points before halftime as Boston added five assists to her stat line. Saxton and Boston (11 points, 10 rebounds) combined to shoot 13 of 17 from the field as South Carolina outscored Arkansas 60-18 in the paint.

In their first meeting, the Gamecocks enjoyed a record-setting 74-17 advantage in rebounds. Not much has changed in the last six weeks as USC again dominated the backboards (51-26). The deficit was only 15 entering the fourth quarter, but Arkansas couldn’t keep up the intensity as USC outscored the Razorbacks 31-19 in the fourth.

South Carolina, seeking its seventh SEC Tournament title under Dawn Staley, will meet the winner of Ole Miss-Texas A&M at 4:30 p.m., Saturday.

Final Stats

Brea Beal (left) helped the Gamecocks limit Arkansas to 33% shooting (SEC)

Gamecocks postgame press conference with Dawn Staley
and Victaria Saxton

Dawn Staley and USC exerted their dominance with 60 points in the paint (SEC)

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