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NCAAW Preview: No. 5 South Carolina faces No. 10 Kentucky after COVID-19 layoff

Zia Cooke and the No. 5 South Carolina Gamecocks have not played since Jan. 4 because a positive COVID-19 test led to a pause in activities. They are set to restart against Rhyne Howard and the No. 10 Kentucky Wildcats.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 08 SEC Women’s Tournament - Mississippi State vs South Carolina
Zia Cooke (with ball) is one of the best players in the country as a sophomore.
Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The No. 5 South Carolina Gamecocks travel to Lexington, Ky. to face the No. 10 Kentucky Wildcats at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday. South Carolina’s last game, scheduled for Jan. 7 against the Georgia Bulldogs, was postponed after someone within the Gamecocks’ program tested positive for COVID-19. However, the individual received three consecutive negative tests and the program was cleared to play after being paused for the last three days.

The Wildcats lost on the road to the No. 10 Texas A&M Aggies 77-60 on Thursday and are 3-2 overall this season against Top 25 teams. They are led by junior Rhyne Howard, who is averaging 19.1 points and 7.1 rebounds. Howard has scored over 20 points in three-straight games. Meanwhile, redshirt sophomore Dre’una Edwards has picked up where she left off when she was the 2019 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year. Edwards is averaging 12.5 points and eight rebounds for Kentucky.

South Carolina dispatched the Alabama Crimson Tide 77-60 in their last game on Jan. 4. The Gamecocks are led by some of the best underclassmen in the country. Sophomore Zia Cooke has scored 15 points or more in South Carolina’s last four games and is currently shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc. Aliyah Boston is averaging 12.7 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks to start her sophomore campaign. Junior guard Destanni Henderson has proven to be a solid point guard with an assist/turnover ratio of three while scoring in double figures in five of the Gamecocks’ eight games this season.


Game Information

No. 5 South Carolina (7-1, 2-0 SEC) vs. No. 10 Kentucky Wildcats (9-2, 2-1 SEC)

When: Sunday, Jan. 10 at 5 p.m. ET

Where: Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, KY

How to watch/listen: ESPN/Radio: Gamecocks All Access or UK Sports Network

What to watch: Kentucky was outshot from the charity stripe 19 to 7 in its loss to Texas A&M and it was called for 20 fouls. It will need to clean that up against South Carolina. The Gamecocks have a +18 rebounding margin compared to just +6 for the Wildcats. Kentucky will need to box out on defense and prevent second chance opportunities. South Carolina will need to defend the 3-point area of the floor as Kentucky takes 22 threes on average.