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  • Will Kronsberg

No. 5 South Carolina finishes home schedule with a win

COLUMBIA, SC --- In their final home contest of the year, No. 5 South Carolina was hoping to send off their lone senior, LeLe Grissett, off with one last win inside Colonial Life Arena.

Despite trailing early, No. 5 South Carolina battled back to secure a 68-43 win over Ole Miss.

Zia Cooke was unstoppable in the first quarter for the Gamecocks, scoring 12 of South Carolina’s first 17 points of the game. After the strong start, Cooke’s hot shooting would quickly cool off as she finished with 17 points on just 7-23 shooting from the field and missed all of her three-point attempts.

“It was just coming to me,” Cooke said. “It all happened so quickly but I don’t know.”

Sophomore Aliyah Boston, who was recently named one of ten semifinalists for the Naismith Women’s Defensive Player of the Year award, totaled just seven points but contributed 11 rebounds and a pair of blocks defensively for the Gamecocks.

Grissett would finish her last home game as a Gamecock with 12 points, her second consecutive game in double figures and fifth overall on the season. Since her first year with USC in 2017-18 season, Grissett has been on teams that advanced to the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight, as well as last year’s team that finished as the consensus No. 1 overall team before COVID-19 ended the season prematurely.

For the Rebels, Maryland-transfer forward Shakira Austin would be the lone scorer in double figures with 22 points, while adding six rebounds and three blocks.

“This is when teams show their maturity and we don’t have that,” said Ole Miss head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin.

South Carolina (19-3, 14-1 SEC) will look to finish their regular season with a road victory on Sunday as they travel to No. 3 Texas A&M (20-1, 11-1 SEC) with the SEC regular season championship on the line at 2 p.m. on ESPN 2.

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