Cooke leads South Carolina No. 5 in 103-41 victory over Temple

COLOMBIA, SC – When Zia Cooke is confident in practice, it usually comes through the next time South Carolina enters the field.

Cooke felt good all week before facing Temple, so he showed that by leveling his career with five points out of 3 on the way to 23 points when the fifth-placed Gamecocks dismounted Temple 103-41 on Thursday night.

“When my confidence is there, I usually know it will be a very good night,” said Cooke.

Cooke started a 7-0 streak at the end of the first quarter to break a 14-14 draw and send the Gamecocks (5-1) to their second consecutive win since the 29-game winning streak was interrupted at home against No. 4 of North Carolina Declare two weeks ago.

For Cooke, the team’s plan since Wolfpack’s defeat was simple: “Not doing the things we did against NC State, ball movement, teammate involvement. And just doing everything to ensure that it never happens again. “

For Temple (0-3), it was the fourth straight loss against his former coach, Dawn Staley of South Carolina, who started as a college coach with the Owls in 2000.

Temple coach Tonya Cardoza, a teammate from Staley in Virginia who succeeded her as Owls coach, was annoyed that her players did not fight South Carolina.

“It was a waste of time,” she said. “We didn’t compete the way I thought we would.”

Aliyah Boston had 14 points, nine rebounds and three blocks for Gamecocks, who reached 100 points in two of their three home games this season.

South Carolina took control as Cooke advanced in the final 90 seconds of the first quarter. She drove to a basket before dropping a 3-point basket after a Brea Beal robbery.

The Gamecocks kept up the pressure after that, overcoming Temple 23-11 to lead 44-25 at the break.

It was a much more satisfying display than the last time the Gamecocks played at the Colonial Life Arena, when South Carolina fell to the State of North Carolina 54-46 on December 3.

Staley did not restrain himself after that, criticizing his team’s ability and the players’ desire to give the target any chance. Her best postgame zinger that night was to tell her team, who shot 10 percent in the second quarter of their first defeat in over a year, that they could be “blindfolded” and shoot better.

His players paid attention to a solid recovery in 23rd place in the state of Iowa a few days later, winning 83-65 in the Big 12 / SEC Challenge.

Against Temple, the Gamecocks took another solid step forward with stifling defense and solid shots. South Carolina forced 18 turns, 13 in the first half, and hit eight points out of three, five from Cooke, to take over.

Mia Davis, who averaged 28 points per game, had 17 to lead Temple.

Gamecocks had five players in double digits. Victaria Saxton scored 16 points and four blocks, while Laeticia Amihere and Eniya Russell scored 11 points each.


Temple: The Owls have been fighting in their history with South Carolina, dropping to O-6 all the time, including the last four with their former coach, Staley, on the opposite side. Temple hasn’t beaten a ranked opponent since 2017, when they defeated No. 22 USF 77-71.

South Carolina: Gamecocks had a streak of 26 consecutive wins in the postseason shortened by last year’s pandemic, after that year’s only defeat. They are trending in the right direction so far in 2020-21. She has been a more disciplined and patient South Carolina in the last two matches, both victories, since losing to the state of North Carolina.


South Carolina had 11 days between their last game against Iowa State and this one. Now it’s two weeks before it plays again. Staley said he is giving players the next seven days off, with the team returning on Christmas Day to return to the basketball stream before opening the SEC game on New Year’s Eve.

Cooke leads 5th in South Carolina in the 103-41 victory over Temple, originally published on