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No. 1 South Carolina WBB caps perfect regular season with win over Tennessee

Payton Titus, The State on

Published in Basketball

But Tennessee quieted Cardoso in the third quarter, preventing her from scoring any points during that time. She also had to sit out some of the fourth quarter after picking up her fourth foul at the 7:58 mark and fouling out with 2:45 remaining.

“She gave us what she gave us, and we don’t win the game without her contributions,” Staley said.

Paopao sank USC’s first two 3-pointers of the game Sunday, prompting her teammates on the bench to jump up and put three fingers to the sky. She had an up-and-under layup in the third quarter to extend the Gamecocks’ lead to 13 points — its largest of the contest.

The senior guard ended the day with 14 points.

South Carolina struggles to make shots

South Carolina had back-to-back hot shooting starts games on the road at Kentucky and Arkansas (making over 61% of attempts in each opening period) heading into Sunday’s game. That streak did not follow the Gamecocks home.

They shot 34.8% in the first quarter, 35.3% in the second quarter and made two shots (in 11 tries) in the first five minutes of the second half. USC ended the game having shot 33.3% from the field, including 25% from 3 and 41.6% on layups.

Gamecocks grind it out in the paint

Per usual, South Carolina outrebounded its opponent Sunday, but not by a huge margin.

 

The Gamecocks snagged 24 rebounds (10 offensive) to the Lady Vols’ 18 (four offensive) in the first half. USC converted its 10 offensive rebounds to nine points during that time. South Carolina ended the day with 57 rebounds (to Tennessee’s 41) and 14 second-chance points (to UT’s 15).

Three of USC’s post players — Kitts, Watkins and Sania Feagin — picked up two fouls each halfway through the second quarter leading to a four-guard lineup. Cardoso fouled out with just under three minutes left in the game. Tennessee’s Jackson found ways to exploit smaller South Carolina lineups. She ended the game with 29 points.

“We’ve been playing with it for a little bit, right before we knew that Kamilla was going to be away with her Brazilian team,” Staley said of the four-guard lineup. “Didn’t feel real good about it. But I thought there was some familiarity to it because we’ve been trying to do it. It helped us. They matched up the way we needed to match up. Because we needed Breezy on Rickea. Rickea pretty much had her way with with accumulating fouls on us.”

USC managed to outscore UT in the paint 38-28. Heading into Sunday’s contest, The Gamecocks outscored their opponents in that region of the court by an average of 22.5 points per SEC game.

Next South Carolina basketball game

Who: No. 1 South Carolina vs. No. 8 or No. 9 seed

When: Friday, noon

Where: Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina


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