Top seed South Carolina beats second-placed Yukon 73-57
Paradise Island Alia Boston earned 22 points and 15 rebounds to help the 1st seed South Carolina beat the second seed Yukon 73-57 on Monday to win the inaugural Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.
This was the 61st meeting between the top two teams in the AP Women’s Poll, and the sixth time in November. Team #1 has an advantage of 38-23. The last meeting between the two best teams before Monday was between the same two teams last February. UConn was the #2 team and won 63-59 in overtime.
The Gamecocks (6-0) didn’t let the Huskies (3-1) beat them in the Bahamas, outsmarting them 16-3 in the final quarter.
“Our players are determined. They are resilient,” South Carolina coach Don Staley said. “We knew exactly what we had to do especially on the defensive side of the ball. We had to disrupt.”
Lagging 52-50 late in the third quarter, South Carolina bolstered their defense, keeping UConn without a field goal for 7:38 over the last two periods. By the time Evina Westbrook hit a triple pointer from the wing 5 minutes from the left, the Huskies were down 63-57. They didn’t come close. Destiny Littleton quickly answered with a number 3 on the other end to regain a comfortable margin.
She had hit the 3-pointer late in the third period to give the Gamecocks an advantage of 57-54 heading into the fourth.
South Carolina, which edged out UConn 42-25, kept the Huskies by just three points in the fourth quarter.
UConn sophomore Paige Bueckers had 19 points to lead the Huskies, who had won nine of the previous 10 interscholastic meetings.
With the championship game taking place at the same time as the poll’s release every Monday, the Associated Press decided to postpone the poll by a day until it reflects the result — only the second time since the poll began in 1976 that it has been postponed.
The only other time that UConn also participated. Both huskies were playing No. 1 at Tennessee on January 16, 1995, in the first meeting of their outstanding rivalry. The Husky achieved the surprise victory and moved to number one for the first time in the school’s history.
UConn was unable to do so again on Monday.
The first half was fun at the Atlantis resort inside a converted ballroom and had a raucous crowd in support of both teams. South Carolina jumped to a 6-0 lead before Ocon went on a 20-2 round that was sparked by quarterback Olivia Nelson-Ododa. She had two blocks and made an offensive error within a minute during the blast. The Husky, who were previously B-13, only advanced 20-14 after one quarter.
Defensive intensity continued into the second quarter as the Gamecocks narrowed their deficit to 36-33 in the first half. They went on to lose in the third quarter before the big race that gave them control of the match.
This was the first two meetings of the season between these two teams. The Husky family will be visiting South Carolina on January 27. Both teams expect a significant improvement in the second match.
The Big Picture
South Carolina: This was the third win over the Gamecocks’ Top Ten Team. They have already beaten No. 5 North Carolina and 9th seed Oregon.
UConn: Husky dogs failed because they couldn’t get enough of the humiliation to help the Bakers.
UConn has competed in 26 of their 1v2 games and gone 22-4 in those contests, winning the previous nine before losing on Monday.
the champion is here
Staley brought more than her top-ranked team in South Carolina to the inaugural edition of the Women’s Battle of 4 Atlantis. she has best friend 4-year-old dog Champ – next to her as she walks through the resort, fans recognize him by name, in the locker room and even at press conferences.
South Carolina: Elon hosts Friday.
UConn: Visits Seton Hall on December 3.
More AP Women’s College Basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball, https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll, https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll : // twitter.com/AP_Top25
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