COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP)South Carolina coach Dawn Staley wanted the milestone more than her senior point guard Tyasha Harris did.
”We’re trying to get the most out of her last year,” Staley said. ”She’s probably the person to be the example for our younger point guards.”
Harris scored her 1,000th career point in fifth-ranked South Carolina’s 112-32 rout of South Carolina Upstate on Thursday night, crossing the mark with a 3-pointer midway through the third quarter. The four-year starter, a freshman on the 2017 national champions, finished with 18 points.
”I did know about it, but I didn’t try to think about it, because whenever I’m pressed or think about scoring, I tend to not play well,” Harris said.
The result was never in doubt as South Carolina (5-0) spent the evening setting records. The Gamecocks posted their highest point total under Staley, who’s in her 12th season, and the second-highest margin of victory in school history.
Freshman Aliyah Boston matched Harris with 18 points. Destanni Henderson had 15 points, Victaria Saxton had 14, Mikiah Herbert Harrigan scored 13 and Laeticia Amihere had 10. Boston posted her third double-double in five career games.
”She’s a focal point for us, getting her the ball in the paint, but when we don’t get her the ball in the paint, she rebounds the basketball,” Staley said of her freshman star center, the prize of the Gamecocks’ top-ranked recruiting class. ”She’s just a player that understands she has to impose her will every single time we step on the floor.”
The Spartans (3-3) got seven points each from Maya Timberlake and Brianna Lewis. The Gamecocks raced to a 27-2 lead and never stopped pushing, playing all 11 on their roster with 10 scoring at least three points.
”I felt we played 40 minutes, especially from a defensive standpoint. I thought we locked into what we need,” Staley said. ”Offensively, we shared the ball. We had flow, we had rhythm and I like how we got some of our 3-pointers to fall.”
S.C. Upstate: The Spartans shot a dreadful 37.2% in a loss at Jacksonville and finished at 15.9% against South Carolina. Their record dipped to .500 with all three losses coming on the road.
South Carolina: Staley had been concerned about her team’s ability to finish games. The Gamecocks began the second half with a 64-18 lead and scored 48 more points, despite playing their substitutes the entire fourth quarter.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
The Gamecocks blocked nine shots. They came into the game leading the country with 51 swats.
Boston and Herbert Harrigan had two each.
South Carolina moved up a spot to No. 5 this week despite the previous No. 5, Texas A&M, not losing. The Gamecocks are favored Sunday at Clemson and are unlikely to lose their position, but could rise if No. 1 Oregon loses at No. 17 Syracuse on Sunday.
The Gamecocks will meet No. 2 Baylor and No. 18 Indiana at next week’s Paradise Jam.
The game began with a technical foul on S.C. Upstate. Harris sank two free throws before the opening tip.
The Spartans were judged to have numbers that didn’t contrast enough with their jerseys. The numbers were black, trimmed in white, on a dark green background.
”We haven’t worn green yet, so we didn’t know that,” coach Tammy George said. ”The ref told me the rule just got passed this week.”
S.C. Upstate is in the moneymaking portion of its schedule. The Spartans head to Georgia Tuesday for another game that earns a check no matter the result.
South Carolina is about to embark on a five-game stretch away from home. The Gamecocks are at archrival Clemson on Sunday, then play three games in the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands before ending the slate at Temple.
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