They played one last possession game in last season’s Final Four, a game won by Stanford en route to the national title. On Tuesday night, in front of more than 13,000 fans at Colonial Life Arena, the top-ranked USC took revenge 18 points behind in the second half for a 65-61 victory over second-placed Cardinal.
It was the biggest comeback win in Gamecock women’s basketball history, and it completed a 12-0 sweep of their non-conference games in November and December, including six wins against ranked teams. There is one more non-conference game left, a January 27 rematch against UConn in Colombia.
The Gamecocks trailed 34-16 in the second quarter and were down 17 early in the third. They outscored the Cardinal 22-4 the remainder of the quarter for a 50-49 lead going into the fourth quarter. The fourth quarter was a one-possession game until Destiny Littleton hit a pair of free throws for the final four-point margin with two seconds left.
The second-half defense sparked the comeback. The Gamecocks kept the Cardinal at 29 percent from shots and forced 13 turnovers which they converted to 20 points in the last 20 minutes. The Gamecocks only returned it seven times and finished with 17 more shooting attempts than Stanford.
Aliyah Boston led USC with 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Destanni Henderson, playing her first game since Nov. 29 while recovering from an injury, added 17 points and 7 assists, with 13 of her points in the game. during this third quarter rally.
The Gamecocks will open SEC gaming in Missouri on December 30.