COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina coach Dawn Staley doesn’t think she’ll be without reigning Associated Press Player of the Year Aliyah Boston for too long, if at all.
Boston will be examined Monday after leaving the top-ranked Gamecocks’ 85-38 win over Hampton on Sunday with her right foot in a walking boot.
Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley said Boston was “questionable” going forward but added that the “team doctor wasn’t too, too concerned.”
“We’re going to be on the safe side,” Staley said.
South Carolina’s next game is Tuesday at home against No. 20 UCLA.
Boston didn’t return to the court for the second half after a hard fall prior to the break for the defending national champions. The Most Outstanding Player of last spring’s NCAA Tournament was driving for the basket when she fell and took several moments to get up after getting fouled.
Boston, the 6-foot-5 senior, missed two foul shots and ran down the floor on defense. Staley then subbed out Boston, who walked into the tunnel toward the locker room.
Boston rejoined teammates for warmups before the third quarter but was not on the bench when play resumed. She later re-emerged in the boot and cheered on the Gamecocks down the stretch.
She had averaged 13 points and 10.6 rebounds in South Carolina’s first five games, all wins. She had six points and four boards before leaving Sunday.
If Boston’s injury keeps her out a few games, the top-ranked Gamecocks have plenty of other tall, talented players to pick up the slack.
Kamilla Cardoso, at 6-7, filled in for Boston and had 11 points and 14 rebounds.
The Gamecocks are deep in the middle — they have six players 6-2 or taller — and had no trouble pulling away from Hampton without Boston. They’ll likely need a healthy, active Boston to stay on top of the Southeastern Conference and repeat as NCAA champions, though.
“It’s always tough to see somebody go down,” said Laeticia Amihere, who arrived as part of the top-ranked recruiting class in 2020 with Boston. “We just have to send prayers up for her that she’ll be fine the next game for us.”
The Gamecocks hadn’t played at home since the opener Nov. 7, when they unfurled their NCAA Tournament title banner and received their championship rings. A productive road trip followed, with victories at No. 14 Maryland and at No. 2 Stanford in overtime.
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