LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Destanni Henderson scored 22 points and Aliyah Boston added 20, including 10 in the third quarter to put No. 5 South Carolina ahead to stay as the Gamecocks rallied for a 75-70 victory over No. 10 Kentucky on Sunday night.
The Gamecocks trailed 41-32 at halftime and 54-46 late in the third before closing the quarter with an 11-2 run, including five by Boston, for their first lead since the opening minutes.
Boston and Henderson then added four points each during an 12-2 spurt to open the fourth that helped withstand Kentucky’s late rally.
Chasity Patterson scored eight consecutive points to get Kentucky within 69-68. LeLe Grissett answered with a baseline drive and Boston made a layup before Zia Cooke sealed it with two free throws with 10.3 seconds remaining.
First-place South Carolina (8-1, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) won its fifth in a row just days after postponing a game against Georgia because of a positive coronavirus test in the program.
Rhyne Howard had 32 points and Patterson and Dre’Una Edwards 12 each for the Wildcats (9-3, 2-2 SEC), who lost their second consecutive game in a four-game stretch against top 15 opponents.
South Carolina will reinforce its top five status with a hard-fought victory. Kentucky may drop out of the top 10 with a second consecutive loss.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks controlled many statistical categories, including rebounding (46-31) and paint points (56-34), which helped them stay close. Boston then took charge on both ends, driving for a layup just after blocking a shot near midcourt. Henderson was just as active, allowing Carolina to seize the tempo after playing Kentucky’s pace for much of the night.
Kentucky: The Wildcats’ active defense was an important first step against the SEC’s top offense. They also shot decently for much of the game before going cold during a late third-quarter stretch that allowed South Carolina to go ahead. Stopping Boston and Henderson also proved problematic in the fourth.
South Carolina visits Vanderbilt on Thursday night.
Kentucky visits Auburn on Thursday night.