Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Freshman Aliyah Boston had a triple-double in her South Carolina debut, leading the eighth-ranked Gamecocks to a 103-43 win over Alabama State on Tuesday night.
Boston finished with 12 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocks. After her final blocked shot sent the ball out of bounds in the fourth quarter, several teammates bounced off her and South Carolina coach Dawn Staley pulled her out to huge cheers.
Boston's triple-double was the seventh in South Carolina history and the first by a freshman. Not even Gamecock great and WNBA all-star A'ja Wilson had one in her four years.
Boston is one of four freshmen in the Gamecocks' top-rated class. They played sloppily at times. The Gamecocks had eight first-half turnovers.
But South Carolina blistered the Hornets with a 36-9 third quarter.
The other highly touted freshmen contributed, too. Zia Cooke scored 13 points in 24 minutes, Brea Beal had four points in 17 minutes and Laeticia Amihere scored six in 14 minutes as she recovers from a knee injury suffered in January.
Even the least heralded of the freshman, Oliva Thompson from nearby Lexington, got into the action, scoring 10 points in 7 minutes — all in the fourth quarter.
Senior Mikiah Herbert Harrigan had 13 points for the Gamecocks.
Ayana Emmanuel led Alabama State with nine points.
It was the sixth time in Staley's 12 seasons at South Carolina that her team has scored at least 100 points.
Alabama State: The Hornets held their own for a while, trailing by 19 at the half. They were beaten by 56 points in last season's opener against South Carolina. Seven Hornets scored, and that depth could be important for a team picked to finish fourth in the 10-team Southwestern Athletic Conference.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks have a schedule designed to let a young team ease into the season. Yes, there is a game at No. 4 Maryland, but after that, the only other ranked team South Carolina faces before January is second-ranked and defending national champion Baylor.
South Carolina has made the last 132 AP Top 25 polls. It should run the nation's fifth-best active poll streak to 133 weeks regardless of what happens Sunday at Maryland.
Alabama State hosts Mobile in the Hornets' home opener Saturday before a road game against Clemson on Nov. 18.
South Carolina has a two-game road swing, heading to No. 4 Maryland on Sunday, then to Dayton on Nov. 13.