DURHAM — Aliyah Boston had 19 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks while top-ranked South Carolina dominated the boards to beat No. 15 Duke 55-46 on Wednesday night.
South Carolina finished with a 44-26 rebounding advantage that included 19-6 on the offensive glass, leading to a 17-4 edge in second-chance points. That helped offset 35% shooting to secure the team’s fifth win against an opponent ranked 15th or better in the AP Top 25 this season.
Duke trimmed a 16-point deficit to 42-35 early in the fourth period, but South Carolina (11-0) responded by scoring on five straight possessions to stretch the margin back out to 15. Three of those baskets came inside from the 6-foot-5 Boston, a preseason AP All-American who found herself facing frequent double teams.
Shayeann Day-Wilson scored 17 points to lead the Blue Devils (8-1), who relied on an active zone to collapse when the ball entered the paint. The defense made South Carolina work, but the offense struggled to get going.
Elizabeth Balogun hit a 3-pointer on the first possession, but Duke then missed 10 straight shots in an eight-minute scoreless streak that pushed South Carolina to a 17-3 lead.
Duke twice got as close as seven, the last at 53-46 on a four-point play from Day-Wilson with 19.1 seconds left.
Duke shot just 29% in the first half, including 2 for 12 from 3-point range, and finished the game at 34%. In addition, the teamwide rebounding effort that second-year coach Kara Lawson had hoped for didn’t materialize until after South Carolina went up big.
Duke fell to 3-11 against No. 1-ranked teams, losing for the sixth straight time since beating Maryland in January 2007.
The Blue Devils were enjoying their best start since opening 10-0 in 2013-14. The stretch included a win against then-No. 9 Iowa and preseason AP All-American Caitlin Clark two weeks ago here, earning Lawson her first win against a ranked opponent. This was a taller order — literally — that became even tougher as the smaller Blue Devils struggled to knock down early shots and found themselves in a game of catch-up the rest of the way.
Duke visits Miami on Sunday in their ACC opener.