COLUMBIA, S.C. — Ty Harris scored 19 points, Aliayah Boston dominated underneath and No. 1 South Carolina held UConn to a record-low two points in the opening quarter on the way to a 70-52 win Monday night — its first-ever win over the fifth-ranked Huskies.
The Gamecocks (23-1) came in 0-8 all-time against UConn, seven of those defeats with national championship coach Dawn Staley, a former star player at UVA, in charge.
But South Carolina took control immediately with its suffocating defense, limiting the Huskies to 1-of-16 shooting to lead 11-2 at the end of the first period.
Since women’s basketball changed to quarters in 2015-16, UConn’s fewest points in a first quarter was 8 against Tulane in February 2016. The Huskies fewest in any quarter was 6 in a loss to Baylor earlier this year.
Boston, the 6-foot-5 freshman, finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds, her 10th double-double this season. She also had three of South Carolina’s eight steals and made her first 3-pointer this season.
She had nine rebounds and two blocks the first 10 minutes as she continually altered shots whenever the Huskies tried to come inside.
That early blitz was enough to energize the sold-out crowd of 18,000-plus and push the Gamecocks to their 17th straight victory — and their ninth win in 10 games this season against ranked opponents.
South Carolina eventually grew the lead to 52-31 early in the second half. UConn cut things to 11 points on Crystal Dangerfield’s jumper to start the fourth quarter. But Boston hit a basket and Mikiah Herbert Harrigan made a three to build back South Carolina’s lead.
Harris had a double-double, too, with a game-high 11 assists. Zia Cooke, another freshman, had 15 points for the Gamecocks.
The Huskies (20-3) have been a thorn in Staley’s side as she’s built the Gamecocks into a championship program the past 12 years.
It was UConn who ended South Carolina’s last run at No. 1 with an 87-62 victory in 2015. And despite Staley’s success — she’s led the team to four Southeastern Conference crowns and the 2017 national championship — she acknowledged it “absolutely” bothered her not to beat the signature program in women’s hoops.
Dangerfield led the Huskies with a season-high 25 points. Monacan’s Megan Walker had 10 points and eight boards.
Virginia Union 69, Livingstone 56: Jasmine Carter led the way with 21 points for the Panthers in their victory over the Bears.
Shameka McNeill and Ifunanya Okoye each added 17 points for Virginia Union (19-3, 10-2 CIAA). Peyton Evans had 10 points.
The Panthers led by as many as 23 points in the win. The Bears (11-12, 6-8) never held a lead.
Longwood 57, Campbell 56: Leslie Nkereuwen scored on a layup with just under three minutes to play for Longwood’s final points, and the Lancers made it hold up for a win over the Fighting Camels in Farmville.
A jumper by Shabooty Phillips and Nkereuwen’s field goal gave Longwood a 57-51 lead with 2:46 to play. Cory Gensler halved the Campbell deficit with a 3 and Phillips missed three jumpers before Jordan Whitfield hit two free throws with :39 remaining to get the Camels within a point, but Nkereuwen made a clutch steal with a second left to seal the win.
Christian Wilson had 9 points off the bench and JaShaun Smith blocked three shots to carry Longwood (10-16, 5-8 Big South).
Gensler had 15 points for the Fighting Camels (12-13, 3-10).
Hampton 80, UNC Asheville 70: Ben Stanley tallied 25 points as the Pirates downed the Bulldogs in Hampton.
Jermaine Marrow had 18 points and seven assists for Hampton (11-13, 6-5 Big South ). Edward Oliver-Hampton added 13 points. Davion Warren had 11 points and 11 rebounds.
LJ Thorpe had a triple-double with 17 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists for the Bulldogs (10-13, 4-8). DeVon Baker added 15 points. Tajion Jones had 14 points.