COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) —Mikiah Herbert Harrigan scored 20 points to lead No. 1 South Carolina its program-record 23rd straight win and a perfect 16-0 Southeastern Conference season with a 60-52 victory over No. 12 Texas A&M on Sunday.
The Gamecocks (29-1, 16-0 SEC) were only ahead 34-28 early in the third quarter before going on a 14-3 surge to take control for good.
South Carolina finished off the fourth 16-0 SEC season in league history and became the first team to do it twice since the conference super-sized the schedule before the 2009-10 season. The victory also broke the school mark for consecutive wins when the 2014-15 Gamecocks started 22-0 to reach No. 1. Like that group that reached the Final Four, this South Carolina roster has aspirations far beyond regular-season honors.
Texas A&M (22-7, 10-6) lost its final two games of the regular season.
The Gamecocks head to the SEC tournament next week as the top seed and runaway favorite to win it for the fifth time in seven seasons.
Herbert Harrigan, a 6-foot-2 senior, is a big reason for those expectations. She had tears in her eyes during her Senior Day tribute, then channeled that emotion into her game.
Herbert Harrigan had her team’s first 13 points and reached 17 by the break. She also had eight rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
When Herbert Harrigan came out with 1:15 to go, she got a standing ovation from the crowd.
Aliyah Boston added 11 points and nine rebounds for South Carolina.
The Gamecocks appeared to take control earlier with an 18-5 run that spanned the first and second quarters to open a 25-12 lead.
But Carter, the SEC’s second-leading scorer who didn’t start for just the second time in 22 games this season, had four straight baskets to blunt South Carolina’s surge and trail 31-22 at the half.
The Gamecocks’ 31 points in the half tied a season low, matching what they scored the first two quarters in their only loss, a 71-57 defeat to then-No. 17 Indiana on Thanksgiving.
Herbert Harrigan, who had planned to transfer after last season before changing her mind, and the Gamecocks dug in after the break to keep their success going.
Kayla Wells led Texas A&M with 15 points. Carter, who did not start for the Aggies, finished with 12 points. However, both struggled against the Gamecocks, combining to shoot just 10 of 34 overall.
Trailing 5-7 midway through the first quarter, the Gamecocks powered away from the Aggies with a 20-5 run that lasted into the second quarter. The surge was built on defensive effort that forced four turnovers and did not allow a Texas A&M offensive rebound in the 7:25 stretch.
The Gamecock defense was typically stalwart again today, holding the Aggies to just 28.4 percent shooting (21-of-74).
- The Gamecocks tallied their 23rd-straight win, a new program record eclipsing the 22-game win streak the 2015-16 squad amassed,
- Carolina recorded its second 16-0 SEC record, matching the 2015-16 team’s mark. The Gamecocks own two of the four total 16-0 SEC seasons in league history.
- Mikiah Herbert Harrigan made her Senior Day one to remember with a game-high 20 points, her fourth straight game in double figures, including 15 of the Gamecocks’ 19 first-quarter points. It was the most points by a Gamecock in a single quarter this season. She went on to gr
- Aliyah Boston notched her 12th double-double of the season with 13 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, extending her South Carolina freshman double-doubles mark.
- Tyasha Harris dished out a game-high six assists and scored nine points to help secure the Senior Day win.
The Gamecocks (29-1, 16-0 SEC) head to Greenville, S.C., for the SEC Tournament. Carolina’s first game of the tournament gets underway at Noon on Friday. The full tournament bracket will be released later today.