By NOAH TRISTER
AP Sports Writer
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Aliyah Boston had 16 points and 13 rebounds and Zia Cooke added 18 points to lift No. 1 South Carolina to an 81-56 victory over No. 17 Maryland on Friday night.
Shortly after the Indiana Fever won the WNBA draft lottery — with Boston expected to be the No. 1 pick — the South Carolina star led her team to a fairly routine victory in its first real test of the season. The defending champions held off a gritty Maryland team that was playing without its own potential lottery pick. Diamond Miller was out with a right knee injury.
Abby Meyers scored 21 points to lead Maryland (1-1), but aside from her ability to score from the midrange and beyond the arc, the undersized Terrapins had a tough time offensively. Perhaps no stat summed up this game better than the Gamecocks’ 11-0 advantage in blocked shots.
South Carolina was playing its first of four consecutive road games, and this win makes it almost certain that a Nov. 20 clash at Stanford will be a 1 vs. 2 matchup.
Maryland packed its defense into the paint to deal with the 6-foot-4 Boston, and the Terps were down just six at halftime, 32-26. The margin was still in single digits in the third before South Carolina (2-0) went on an 11-1 run to lead 56-39.
Kamilla Cardoso, the Gamecocks’ 6-7 reserve, scored a pair of baskets during that run, sandwiched around a 3-pointer by Cooke. Cardoso finished with 13 points.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks showed good patience on the road — at times Maryland was practically daring them to shoot from the perimeter instead of working the ball inside. South Carolina did make enough 3-pointers (eight) to make the Terps pay for leaving shooters open.
Maryland: The Terps played a scrappy game, forcing 20 turnovers, and this was an encouraging performance without Miller in the first half. Meyers, a star at Princeton last season, is one of a handful of transfers Maryland brought in as part of a roster makeover. She scored 14 of the team’s first 17 points to help the Terps keep it close for a while.
Boston tied Tiffany Mitchell for the program record with her 103rd consecutive start.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks return closer to home when they play at Clemson on Thursday night.
Maryland: The Terps host Fordham on Sunday.
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