Why did UConn lose to South Carolina? Numbers tell the story

Photo of Paul Doyle

UConn and South Carolina went stride-for-stride for long stretches Monday afternoon, just as one would expect from the top two rosters in the country.

Somehow, though, a battle between No. 1 and No. 2 devolved into a blowout. South Carolina is leaving the Bahamas with the Battle 4 Atlantis title after a 73-57 win.

How did it happen? Follow the numbers.

3: UConn points in fourth quarter

South Carolina led 57-54 heading into the final 10 minutes. But the Gamecocks outscored the Huskies 16-3 in the fourth quarter as UConn unraveled.

UConn was outscored 6-0 before recording a basket — a 3-pointer by Evina Westbrook — and South Carolina ended the game with a 10-0 run.

The Huskies shot 1-for-10 with seven turnovers and were out-rebounded, 11-6, in the fourth quarter.

19: UConn turnovers

Yes, seven of those turnovers came in that ugly fourth quarter. But there were also nine in the first half, when UConn watched a 13-point lead shrink to three by halftime.

South Carolina scored 21 points off turnovers, while UConn converted just 13 of the Gamecocks’ 14 turnovers.

42-25: South Carolina’s rebounding edge

This was a pregame theme: South Carolina’s big, talented post players would pose a challenge for UConn. And guess what? They did.

Aliyah Boston, the skilled and aggressive 6-foot-5 forward, had 15 rebounds and 22 points on 10 of 19 shooting. Eight of her baskets came on layups.

South Carolina outscored UConn in the paint, 36-24.

10-2: South Carolina’s first-half run

UConn opened a 13-point lead when Westbrook converted a pair of free throws 2:03 into the second quarter.

But UConn couldn’t add to the lead. South Carolina cut their deficit to three points by half, riding a 10-2 run over the final four minutes.

UConn missed seven of eight shots during the Gamecocks’ run, setting the stage for South Carolina’s second-half surge.