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Recap: No. 4 South Carolina blows past No. 13 Kentucky to open SEC play

The South Carolina Gamecocks easily won their conference opener against the Kentucky Wildcats. The Gamecocks were led by two freshmen in the big 99-72 win.

South Carolina v Maryland
Freshman Zia Cooke scored 15 points in the win. Cooke has scored in double figures in nine of 14 games.
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

The No. 4 South Carolina Gamecocks opened their conference schedule with a 99-72 thrashing of the No. 13 Kentucky Wildcats. Zia Cooke and Brea Beal, both true freshman, led the way with 15 points apiece. The performance was Beal’s highest total of her young career and Cooke’s fourth straight game in double figures.

It was a balanced attack, with six Gamecocks scoring in double digits. Aliyah Boston scored 14 points after contributing just seven against South Dakota in South Carolina’s last game of 2019; it was her lowest total of the season. Redshirt freshman Laeticia Amihere scored a career-high 14 points off the bench.

The Gamecocks shot an unreal 61 percent for the game — mostly due to their activity in the paint, where they scored 60 points. South Carolina’s aggressive play led to 33 shots from the free-throw line resulting in an additional 26 points.

On the other side, Kentucky shot 39.6 percent from the field. Rhyne Howard led all scorers with 28 points but the Wildcats were simply outmatched and out-hustled. The most telling stat of the night is in the 17-11 offensive rebounding advantage for South Carolina. Kentucky was able to muster just seven second-chance points while South Carolina scored 25.

Next up

South Carolina goes on the road to face Alabama while Kentucky looks to rebound at home against Tennessee, who will be playing in their conference opener. Both games are on Sunday, Jan. 5.