Final: No. 2 UConn 63, No. 1 South Carolina 59
UConn's Paige Bueckers came up clutch once again when her team needed her the most.
Bueckers had all of UConn's nine points in overtime, including back-to-back shots to take the lead and the 3-point dagger. Bueckers struggled from the three all night with six attempts, but she knocked down the one her team needed the most. South Carolina's Zia Cooke and Henderson attempted deep threes in the final seconds to try to force the game into a second overtime, but they weren't able to get either to fall.
THE BOUNCE pic.twitter.com/emL0LtGbZF— UConn Women’s Basketball (@UConnWBB) February 9, 2021
Bueckers was the only Husky to score in double figures with 31 points, while also recording six steals, five assists, four rebounds and one block. This marks the Big East Player and Freshman of the Week's third consecutive 30-point game this season.
Twenty-one costly turnovers plagued South Carolina the entire game. Notably, when Destanni Henderson lost the ball out of bounds with .4 seconds left with South Carolina down by one point. UConn was able to score 19 points off of the Gamecocks' mistakes.
South Carolina is known for its fast-paced, transition offense, but UConn didn't allow any transition points, while the Huskies ran away with 10.
Aaliyah Boston led South Carolina with a double-double, scoring 17 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. Cooke and Henderson chipped in 11 points apiece for the Gamecocks.
OT🚨 No. 1 South Carolina 54, No. 2 UConn 54
Paige Bueckers had a quiet fourth quarter up until the last two minutes. Bueckers put up four crucial points that tied the game, 54-54 with .49 seconds left.
In the last possession, South Carolina's Destanni Henderson attempted for the last shot, but it wasn't able to fall. Victaria Saxton and Aaliyah Boston both attempted to put the ball back up with three offensive rebounds, but were not able to capitalize on the second chance opportunities. The top-2 matchup will now head into overtime.
Nika Muhl records the UConn's first three of the game!
Both teams have struggled beyond the arch, but it's been more surprising coming from UConn - who nearly makes eight three's per game, compared to South Carolina's 4.7.
Nika Muhl knocks down the Huskies' first three of the game to extend the lead, 48-41. UConn is now shooting 1-for-12 beyond the arch.
Nika Mühl for THREE! pic.twitter.com/YyHZgBUbza— UConn Women’s Basketball (@UConnWBB) February 9, 2021
End of 3Q: No. 1 South Carolina 41, No. 2 UConn 45
UConn's lead scorer Paige Bueckers has yet to score a three, but she's gotten it done in other fashions shooting 9-for-19 from the floor. So far, Bueckers leads with 18 points and five assists.
South Carolina's Aaliyah Boston has stepped up for the Gamecocks, leading with 10 points. It's been interesting to see UConn's freshman forward Aaliyah Edwards match up with Boston to contain her dominance in the paint. However, the Huskies' are outscoring the Gamecocks 34-28 inside.
| END 3Q |— UConn Women’s Basketball (@UConnWBB) February 9, 2021
Bueckers is up to 18 points, 5 assists and 4 steals! pic.twitter.com/ywRLru9IB7
UConn scoring rampage forces South Carolina to call a timeout in the third quarter
UConn's offense heats up creating a 36-34 lead, forcing South Carolina to call a time out. UConn's Christyn Williams comes alive in the third quarter with a beautiful spin move off of Zia Cooke to tie the score, 32-32.
Paige Bueckers then weaves through three Gamecocks to finish with a hook shot, and moments later Nika Müh keeps the momentum going by attacking the basket to finish with contact for the three-point play.
Paige.— UConn Women’s Basketball (@UConnWBB) February 9, 2021
Halftime: No. 1 South Carolina 24, No. 2 UConn 24
The out of conference matchup has been a thriller so far, with both teams settling down to find an offensive rhythm. But we haven't seen the norm from these teams.
UConn - who shoots 37 percent beyond the arch - is facing a three-point drought, shooting 0-for-6 from the three. As for South Carolina - who is known to be a fast-paced, transition team - has not been able to connect with any fast break opportunities, while UConn has ran off with six points, so far.
It's an even playing field in the paint (16-16), but South Carolina has been plagued by 13 turnovers. UConn has capitalized off of the Gamecocks' mistakes, with six points off of South Carolina's turnovers. UConn's Paige Bueckers stole the ball for an easy layup at the other end to take the lead, 21-22.
Bueckers later found Aaliyah Edwards cutting to the basket for the easy layup, but South Carolina's Zia Cooke responds with a half court buzzer beater to tie the game, 24-24.
UConn tries to chip away South Carolina's lead
End of 1Q: No. 1 South Carolina 14, No. 2 UConn 10
It's been a rough shooting night for both teams in the first quarter. The Gamecocks shot 7-for-18, while UConn went 5-for-22 from the floor. Neither team has made a three-pointer or has been to the free-throw line. South Carolina is a phenomenal at scoring in transition, but the Gamecocks didn't finish on any fast break opportunities.
So far, South Carolina's Brea Beal and UConn's Paige Bueckers lead with four points each.
South Carolina leads UConn 8-4 at the first media time out
The Gamecocks came out in a man-to-man to slow UConn's offense down, forcing the Huskies to shoot 0-for-5 from the floor in the first three minutes of the first quarter, while South Carolina went on a 4-0 run.
Brea Beal found two easy buckets in the paint, leading the Gamecocks with four points, so far.
It's almost time for tipoff!
At 7 p.m. ET, No. 1 South Carolina will take on No. 2 UConn in Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Connecticut.
When these two out of conference teams met last season, the Gamecocks defeated the Huskies by double figures in Columbia, South Carolina. Can UConn get it done with home court advantage tonight?
How to watch No. 1 South Carolina vs. No. 2 UConn
WHEN: You can watch No. 1 South Carolina and Aaliyah Boston (above) take on No. 2 UConn at 7 p.m. ET on Monday, Feb. 8.
HOW TO WATCH ON TV: The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1
LOCATION: Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Conn.
South Carolina vs. UConn previews from both schools
No. 2 UConn will host the top-2 out of conference showdown when it faces No. 1 South Carolina on Monday, Feb. 8.
13-1 UConn has cruised through the Big East with an 11-0 record but faced their first blemish of the season when they took on the road to face SEC foe Arkansas on Jan. 28. South Carolina will be the Huskies' third SEC test his season, including their nail-biting win over Tennessee on Jan. 21.
As of now, the Gamecocks will be the Huskies' last out of conference matchup and will resume Big East play until the NCAA women's basketball tournament.
The Huskies are led by freshman guard Paige Bueckers — who averages 20.4 points per game. Bueckers is coming off of an incredible 30 point performance in UConn's win against Big East foe Marquette on Friday, 87-58.
Bueckers is one of four Huskies who puts up double figures in UConn's offense, along with Christyn Willams (16.8 ppg), Olivia Nelson-Ododa (13.5 ppg) and Evina Westbrook (11.3 ppg). UConn is No. 4 in the nation in scoring offense, averaging 87.1 points per game.
Here's a look at South Carolina and UConn, courtesy of gamecocksonline.com:
ABOUT THIS GAME
- The South Carolina-UConn series includes the nation's top-ranked team for the eighth time tonight with the Gamecocks carrying the title for the third time.
- This is the Gamecocks' third trip to Gampel Pavilion under head coach Dawn Staley. Their most recent visit was a 66-55 UConn victory on Feb. 13, 2017, meaning no current Gamecock has played in the building prior to tonight.
- This is South Carolina's fourth road game in its last five outings.
- South Carolina's command of the paint goes beyond its powerful frontcourt. The Gamecocks are out-scoring opponents in the paint 46.5 to 30.6 this season with their paint points accounting for 56.4 percent of their offense. South Carolina's guards account for 25.1 of those paint points per game.
- Rebounding has been a calling card for the Gamecocks this season, beating their opponent on the boards in every game to rank third in the nation in rebounding margin (+17.7). They have been especially potent on the offensive glass where their 17.6 offensive boards rank fifth in the nation and have led to 17.7 second-chance points per game. In seven games against ranked teams, their 17.0 offensive rebounding average has yielded 18.0 second-chance points per game.
- South Carolina's offensive output of 82.4 points per game (12th in NCAA) often steals the headlines, but its the Gamecock defense that has been the catalyst for this season's success. South Carolina has held 12 opponents under 70 points, including four of its seven ranked opponents, three of which were held under 60 points. The effort as the Gamecocks ranked seventh in the nation in scoring margin (+23.4).
- Unanimous AP Preseason All-American Aliyah Boston is just a sophomore but has powered her way onto every national player of the year watch list with her consistent dominance in and beyond the box score. She ranks 18th in the country in rebounding average (18th) and 13th in blocks per game (2.9). Boston averages a double-double overall (13.7 ppg / 11.3 rpg), in SEC play (15.0 ppg / 12.2 rpg) and against ranked opponents (14.3 ppg / 11.4 rpg). In her ever-expanding game, she also hands out 1.6 assists per game and averages 1.2 steals on the season.
- Sophomore Zia Cooke was named to the Ann Meyers Drysdale Top 10 last week as she continues to lead the team in scoring at 16.2 points per game to rank 11th in the SEC. Scoring in double figures in 13 of 16 games this season, Cooke appears to have fully emerged from a brief offensive slump with 19.0 points per game on 52.0 percent shooting over the last two games, including 50.0 percent accuracy from 3-point range (5-of-10).
- The Gamecocks' two newest starters — juniors Destanni Henderson and Victaria Saxton — entered the season as relative unknowns but have emerged as keys to South Carolina's success. Henderson is 14th in the nation with an SEC-best 5.9 assists per game — a number that rises to 6.5 in league play — while adding 11.7 points per game. She has handed out five or more assists 11 times this season. Saxton is the ideal partner for Boston in the frontcourt, described by her head coach as "low maintenance, high performance." The active, athletic forward doesn't mind working in the trenches with less spotlight to contribute 10.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, including two double-doubles.
BY THE NUMBERS
3 — Three Gamecocks rank among the SEC's top 10 offensive rebounders — Boston (3.8, 2nd), Grissett (2.8, 7th) and Saxton (2.7, 8th).
6 — South Carolina has made six 3-pointers in each of its last two games, shooting 54.5 percent from beyond the arc in that stretch.
7 — The Gamecocks' seven games against ranked opponents are tied for most in the country. Their six ranked wins are also tied for the nation's best number.
11 — Sophomore Aliyah Boston has recorded double-digit rebounds in 11 of her 16 games this season and in 26 of her career 49 games.
20.3 — South Carolina is scoring 20.3 fast-break points per game this season while holding opponents to just 7.7 per game.
South Carolina vs UConn: Stats breakdown, comparisons
Here's a look at how these teams compare:
|15-1 (10-0 SEC)||Record (conference games)||13-1 (11-0 Big East)|
|No. 1||AP Rank||No. 2|
|82.4||Points Per Game||87.1|
|.461||Field Goal %||.533|
|50.3||Rebounds Per Game||41.1|
|14.9||Assists Per Game||22.6|
|13.9||Turnovers Per Game||14.4|
|7.6||Steals Per Game||9.7|