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No. 1 South Carolina basketball downs No. 5 NC State in opener


No. 1-ranked South Carolina passed an early test in the 2021-22 college basketball season opener on Tuesday night, defeating No. 5 NC State 66-57 on the road.

South Carolina guards Zia Cooke and Destanni Henderson finished with team-highs of 17 and 14 points, respectively, with each shooting 49 percent from the field. Junior forward Laeticia Amihere contributed nine points, five rebounds and two steals to lead the Gamecocks’ bench, which finished with 18 points. Preseason All-American and two-time Lisa Leslie award winner Aliyah Boston added eight points, six rebounds and five blocks for the Gamecocks.

On the other side, Jakia Brown-Turner and Raina Perez led NC State with 18 points apiece. No other player finished in double digits for the Wolfpack.

In all, it was a statement-making defensive performance by the Gamecocks, JWS’s top preseason squad, who allowed just 58.1 points per game last season.

Afterward, head coach Dawn Staley thanked South Carolina fans for coming out to the game at NC State’s home arena.

“We heard you. We felt you. We needed you!” she wrote on Twitter. “Tough hard fought road game against an NC State team that made big shot after big shot!”

Staley became one of the highest-paid women’s basketball coaches in October when she signed a seven-year, $22.4 million contract extension with the university.

The Gamecocks are back in action on Friday against South Dakota at 7 p.m. ET.