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Sport: South Carolina Pulls Away From UConn to Cement Its Status as the Nation’s Top Team

Sources: UConn targeting Jim Mora Jr. as next head football coach

  Sources: UConn targeting Jim Mora Jr. as next head football coach The University of Connecticut has targeted former NFL and UCLA coach Jim Mora Jr. as its next head coach, sources told Yahoo Sports. Mora also spent four seasons as an NFL head coach with the Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks. When Mora takes over at UConn, an FBS independent that has publicly declared its commitment to the sport despite uneven recent results. UConn is 1-8 this season and plays at Clemson on Saturday. The hire would be unconventional in many ways, as Mora played collegiately at Washington and didn’t spend any time in his coaching career in the Northeast.

  South Carolina Pulls Away From UConn to Cement Its Status as the Nation’s Top Team © Provided by Sports Illustrated

South Carolina star Aliyah Boston made sure that Monday’s matchup vs. UConn would end with a Gamecocks victory.

Last February, when then-top-ranked South Carolina met then-No. 2 UConn, Gamecocks star forward Aliyah Boston watched Huskies star guard Paige Bueckers take center-stage, to the tune of 31 points, five assists and six steals in a Huskies victory. It was performance too grand for the Gamecocks to overcome.

Boston made sure that Monday’s matchup between No. 1 South Carolina (6–0) and No. 2 UConn (3–1) would end in a different result. Despite trailing by as many as 12 points in the first half, South Carolina outscored UConn 16–3 in the fourth quarter to win, 73–57, and claim the first-ever women’s Battle 4 Atlantis championship.

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Boston, an All-America first-teamer last year, finished the victory with a game-high 22 points and game-high 15 rebounds. Her seven offensive boards eclipsed what UConn was able to gather on offense as a team (six).

“It’s time for Aliyah Boston to be the dominant player that she is,” coach Dawn Staley said on ESPN’s broadcast afterward. “I think she sells herself short a lot of the time, so we have to get in her. She’s to be dominating because she’s a dominating player.”

South Carolina jumped out to an early 6–0 lead on Monday but allowed UConn to rally. Still, in the first quarter and throughout, the Gamecocks closed quarters with an intense fervor.

They scored the final six points of the first, outscored UConn 10–2 over the final 4:13 of the second and finished the third with a 7–2 run. In the fourth, they allowed just one made field goal—a three-pointer by Evina Westbrook with 5:02 to go in the game—en route to taking home a commanding 13-point victory.

South Carolina Pulls Away From UConn to Cement Its Status as the Nation’s Top Team

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The Gamecocks returned all 11 players from last year’s Final Four team, creating what is, perhaps, women’s college basketball's most loaded roster. While still early, they flashed their talent throughout this week's three-game tournament, cruising past Buffalo and No. 9 Oregon before knocking off the Huskies. There is no doubt that at this point they are the nation's best team.

For UConn, Bueckers finished the loss with 19 points, seven assists and five rebounds. But only two other players, Westbrook and guard Christyn Williams finished with double-digit points. They also received just two bench points.

The two programs will meet again later in the season—this time in a previously scheduled game—when UConn travels to South Carolina. It’s expected to again be an eventful affair, and another possible preview to what would surely be an NCAA tournament thriller.

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How Paige Bueckers' injury will impact UConn; Syracuse transfers making waves .
The college basketball landscape doesn't revolve around Paige Bueckers, but it is certainly better with the Connecticut Huskies sophomore in it. UConn and head coach Geno Auriemma announced Tuesday that Bueckers will miss six-to-eight weeks with a tibial plateau fracture. Bueckers' absence is obviously concerning for No. 3 UConn's prospects, particularly after the news that freshman Azzi Fudd would miss at minimum two weeks with a foot injury and early enrollee Saylor Poffenbarger would transfer. (Poffenbarger, the No. 30 recruit in the class of 2021, has since announced she's going to Arkansas.

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