GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Aliyah Boston made another double-double look routine. She may have set a new bar for interior defense, too.

Boston had 13 points and a season-high 19 rebounds for her 14th consecutive double-double, leading top-ranked South Carolina to a 62-50 victory at Florida on Sunday that extended its winning streak to eight.

Zia Cooke added 11 points for the Gamecocks (20-1, 8-1 Southeastern Conference), who won their 14th in a row against the Gators (15-6, 5-3).

Boston missed 11 of 15 shots on the day, far from her usual 51% clip from the field. But she turned it up on the other end, leading the way in holding Florida’s front-court players to a combined 3-of-21 shooting.

“Our defense always comes to play,” coach Dawn Staley said.

Defense and a dominant first quarter were the difference in this one, which ended a five-game winning streak for Florida.

South Carolina outscored Florida 19-3 in the opening 10 minutes. It was the Gamecocks’ best first quarter of the season and the third time they have allowed just three points in any period.

Advertising

“Some of it was us and some of it was they just missed easy shots,” Staley said.

The Gators, coming off a one-week layoff, looked timid from the opening tip. They rushed shots, missed open looks and provided little resistance on the defensive end. Florida missed 18 of 19 shots in the opening quarter, including all three from behind the arc. Making matters worse, the Gators were 1 of 4 from the free-throw line.

“It felt like there was a lid on the basket there,” Florida interim coach Kelly Rae Finley said. “A lot of those shots maybe we were a little bit more wide-open than we had anticipated. … We knew at some point they would start to fall, which is why I don’t think you saw panic.

“You simply have to start better shooting from the floor if you’re going to beat a team like that.”

The Gamecocks were significantly more efficient early, shooting 45.5% from the floor and making 7 of 8 from the charity stripe while building a double-digit lead.

Boston was key to the hot start. She had four points, seven boards and an assist in the first to get Staley’s team going on the road.

Advertising

The Gamecocks extended their lead to 33-13 at the half and were up 45-17 late in the third quarter before the Gators seemingly woke up.

Florida ended the quarter with a 13-3 run and added a three-point play to open the fourth, cutting the huge lead to 48-35. But South Carolina held on down the stretch.

Kiki Smith led the Gators with 22 points. Jordan Merritt had eight points and seven rebounds.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

South Carolina is sure to maintain its spot atop T he Associated Press’ Top 25 women’s college basketball poll.

BIG PICTURE

South Carolina: Staley has another team capable of winning it all. The Gamecocks can score inside and out, with Boston being the heart and soul of the program. A national player of the year candidate, Boston is now averaging 17.0 points and 11.9 rebounds.

Florida: The Gators had shown promise in recent weeks, so much so that some started to wonder if athletic director Scott Stricklin would remove the interim coaching tag from Finley and give her a long-term deal. Florida was coming off consecutive wins against top-25 teams, beating Kentucky and LSU last week. But it looked outmatched early against South Carolina.

Advertising

UP NEXT

South Carolina hosts Alabama on Thursday. The Gamecocks have won 19 straight in the series.

Florida hosts No. 4 Tennessee on Thursday. The Gators are 4-54 all-time against the Lady Vols.

___

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25