COLUMBIA, S.C. -- In front of a sold-out crowd of 18,000 with ESPN's College Gameday in town, the No. 1-ranked South Carolina women's basketball team clinched the top seed in the SEC tournament while Gamecocks junior forward Aliyah Boston made history.
South Carolina beat No. 12 Tennessee 67-53 at Colonial Life Arena on Sunday while Boston recorded her 19th consecutive double-double, tying a conference record.
The Gamecocks (25-1) haven't budged from the No. 1 spot in the rankings since the preseason. At 13-1 in the SEC, the team is guaranteed at least a share of the league regular-season championship and already has secured the No. 1 seed in the SEC tournament, which begins March 2 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.
South Carolina will be going for its seventh SEC tournament title; the Gamecocks have won six of the past seven. They are projected as the No. 1 seed in the Greensboro Regional by ESPN Bracketology analyst Charlie Creme.
"When you're the hunted and you're getting everyone's best shot, it's hard," South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said. "I told our team that: We sometimes make it look easy. But that wasn't really a 14-point game; it felt a lot more tight than that. But you find a way. You have to attribute it to we have a core group of players who have been together for a very long time. We also take advantage of having depth."
And the Gamecocks have Boston, the favorite for national player of the year. She had 16 points and 12 rebounds and now is tied with LSU great Sylvia Fowles for the league's double-double record. Boston will have a chance to break it Thursday as the Gamecocks travel to Texas A&M for their penultimate regular-season game.
"Sylvia Fowles is a dominant post player," Boston said of the 2017 WNBA MVP for the Minnesota Lynx, who will play her last season in the league this year. "For me to be right there with her is a great feeling because I've watched her play and see what she does and how strong she is. And I just want to do that."
Tennessee was without its leader in scoring, rebounding and assists as junior guard Jordan Horston is sidelined indefinitely after suffering a fractured dislocation of her left elbow in Thursday's loss at Alabama. The Lady Vols started the season 18-1 but have been impacted by injuries and have lost five of their past eight.
"The challenge for our team is maintaining an elite level of effort, and I think they can do that," Tennessee coach Kellie Harper said. "I think their competitiveness will push them through, and I was proud of that. Nothing's going to be easy for us the rest of the season."