COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Aliyah Boston had her 66th career double-double and Kamilla Cardoso had a second straight game with double-figure points and rebounds as No. 1 South Carolina dominated underneath for a 79-54 victory over Memphis on Saturday.
Boston, the 6-foot-5 reigning AP Player of the Year, had 14 points and 10 boards. The 6-7 Cardoso finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds, making 9 of 12 shots all from a foot or two away from the basket against the overmatched Tigers (4-4).
South Carolina started the season 8-0 for a second straight year and the sixth time in coach Dawn Staley’s 15 seasons.
Staley, who is 5-6, was known as one of the toughest, most determined players of her generation in college, the pros and the Olympics. Yet, she’s built a powerhouse with tall, talented players like Boston and Cardoso.
Memphis had no answers: The Tigers were outscored 60-14 in the paint and outrebounded 52-30. They lost their third straight and second in a row to a Top-5 opponent after falling to No. 5 Indiana 79-64 on Nov. 26.
Laeticia Amihere, a 6-4 senior, had 10 points and three of South Carolina’s eight blocks.
Things started well for Memphis, which was up 5-0 just 68 seconds in on Madison Griggs’ 3-pointer and Lanetta Williams’ bucket. That’s when the Gamecocks got going, outscoring the Tigers 27-9 the rest of the period to take control of the game.
Cardoso’s first close-in basket tied things at 12 and her next one put South Carolina out front. Cardoso added five more baskets in the opening quarter.
Jamirah Shutes and Destyne Jackson had 10 points each to lead the Tigers.
THE BIG PICTURE
Memphis: It’s been an up-and-down season so far. The Tigers won four straight in early November before dropping the past three. Memphis is led by active guards like Shutes, Jackson and Emani Jefferson who will keep them in most games this season.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks showed once more the advantage of relying on really tall players. Cardoso is a catch-shoot-and-score machine down low who’s hitting 70% of her shots this season. Adding her to Boston, 6-4 Laeticia Amihere and 6-3 newcomer Ashlyn Watkins make a formidable front wall.
While the Gamecocks are deadly around the basket, they’re struggling so far behind the line. They’ve gone 2 of 18 on 3-pointers their past two games and are shooting less than 29% on threes.
Memphis: Returns home to play NC Central on Thursday night.
South Carolina: Ends its four-game homestand with Liberty on Dec. 11.
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