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No. 1 South Carolina rallies against No. 2 Stanford to stay undefeated

(Elsa/Getty Images)

South Carolina was down but never out against Stanford on Tuesday night, in a highly-anticipated matchup between the No. 1 and No. 2 women’s college basketball teams in the nation. After trailing by as many as 18 points in the first half, the Gamecocks rallied to defeat Stanford 65-61 at home and stay unbeaten this season.

The game served as a rematch of the 2021 NCAA Final Four, when the Cardinal squeaked by South Carolina on their way to winning the national championship. The Gamecocks’ 18-point comeback Tuesday night is the largest in program history.

“It’s hard to compete with us because we’re gonna come out and compete every single chance that we get all four quarters. We’re not gonna quit,” said Destanni Henderson, who returned to the lineup after missing the last three games with a leg injury and was a difference-maker for South Carolina in the second half.

Aliyah Boston led all scorers with 18 points and 11 rebounds, including the go-ahead bucket with 1:04 left in the fourth quarter to give the Gamecocks a one-point lead. Henderson contributed 17 points, seven assists and seven steals.

The win marked South Carolina’s fifth over a top-10 team and second over a No. 2-ranked team after the Gamecocks defeated UConn earlier this season. They are the first team since the 2011-12 Baylor Bears to win multiple No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchups in a season.

South Carolina improves to 12-0, while Stanford falls to 8-3.

The Gamecocks’ defense was a big reason for the comeback. South Carolina scored 26 points off of 20 Stanford turnovers and held Stanford to its lowest-scoring quarter all season in the third. Senior guard Lexie Hull led the way for the Cardinal with 17 points and seven rebounds. Junior Ashten Prechtel anchored the Cardinal defense with nine rebounds and five blocks.

Stanford head coach Tara Vanderveer said afterward that she believes this game will serve as a lesson for her team.

“We’ll get better,” she said. “It’s good this way now, instead of this being your NCAA (Tournament) game and you’re done. We can learn and get better.”