COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Aliyah Boston missed the second half of No. 1 South Carolina’s game against Hampton on Sunday with her right foot in a walking boot, but reserves Bree Hall and Ashlyn Watkins scored 14 points each in an 85-38 win.
Kamilla Cardoso added 11 points and 14 rebounds for South Carolina. It was the 6-foot-7 forward’s eighth career double-double.
“You take out arguably the best player in the country (Boston) at 6-5 and you put in somebody 6-7,” Hampton coach David Six said. “You need to take a ladder out so you can combat their size.”
Staley said Boston was questionable going forward but the team doctor “wasn't too, too concerned.” The reigning Associated Press Player of the Year will be examined Monday before deciding if she'll play against No. 20 UCLA on Tuesday night.
Boston took a hard fall on a drive to the basket late in the second quarter and needed several moments to stand up. Soon after, she headed to the locker room before the period ended.
Boston did not come out for the start of the third quarter, returning to the bench midway through the period with a walking boot on her right foot. Boston spent the rest of the game cheering on her teammates, who improved to 6-0 this season and 5-0 all-time against the Pirates.
“It's always tough to see somebody go down,” said Laeticia Amihere, who came as part of the top-ranked recruiting class in 2020 with Boston. “We just have to send prayers up for her that she'll be fine the next game for us.”
Hall, a sophomore, has set career highs in two of her past three games. Staley said she and freshman Watkins injected life into the team after a sluggish start to the third quarter with Boston absent.
“I brought in the young guns,” Staley said. “I knew they'd bring energy.”
The Gamecocks hadn't played at home since the opener Nov. 7, when they unfurled their NCAA Tournament title banner and received their championship rings. A productive road trip followed, with victories at No. 14 Maryland and at No. 2 Stanford in overtime.
South Carolina easily dispensed of Hampton in front of an appreciative home crowd, scoring 20 straight points and dialing up its trademark defense to lead 22-4 after the first quarter.
Hampton, of the Colonial Athletic Association, led 2-0 on Camryn Hill's bucket 45 seconds in. The Pirates missed their next 14 attempts to fall way behind.
Hill led the Pirates with 16 points.
THE BIG PICTURE
Hampton: The Pirates were overmatched. They shot just 15% in the first half (4 of 25) and South Carolina scored 17 points off their nine turnovers in the first 20 minutes.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks are deep in the middle — they have six players 6-2 or taller — and had no trouble pulling away from Hampton without Boston. They'll likely need a healthy, active Boston to stay on top of the Southeastern Conference and repeat as NCAA champions, though.
Hampton travels to Norfolk State on Thursday night.
South Carolina continues its homestand with No. 20 UCLA on Tuesday night.
AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25