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South Carolina 83, Missouri 45

South Carolina 83, Missouri 45

PETE IACOBELLI
ASSOCIATED PRESS

COLUMBIA, S.C. - MiLaysia Fulwiley scored 19 points, Chloe Kitts had 12 points and five blocks and No. 1 South Carolina handily won its first game with leading scorer Kamilla Cardoso out for Olympic qualifying in an 83-45 victory over Missouri.

Cardoso, a contender for Southeastern Conference player of the year, is competing for her national team, Brazil, in attempting to reach the Paris Games.

Without their 6-foot-7 centerpiece, things got off to a rocky start for the Gamecocks (22-0, 10-0) as the team had two turnovers and missed three shots while Missouri (11-12, 2-8) opened a 6-0 lead.

But soon enough South Carolina was off and running with a 37-12 burst behind some of its youngest players in Kitts, Ashlyn Watkins and Fulwiley. Kitts and Watkins, sophomores, and Fulwiley, a freshman, combined for 31 points during the run.

The dynamic Fulwiley brought some missing energy to her team and the crowd, hitting a pair of threes and having a sweet inside pass to Kitts for another basket. Fulwiley finished with six of her team’s 15 steals.

The Tigers, who played without injured leading scorer and rebounder Hayley Frank, could not keep up and trailed 48-21 at the break on the way to their fifth straight loss and seventh defeat in the past eight games against South Carolina.

Ashton Judd, Abbey Schreacke and Grace Slaughter had 12 points each for Missouri.

Along with Cardoso, the Gamecocks were also without freshman reserve forward Sahnya Jah, who was suspended indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team.

THE BIG PICTURE

Missouri: The Tigers have lost eight of their past 10 games since conference play began and will likely keep struggling without Frank, who has averaged 17 points and six rebounds a game this season.

South Carolina: The Gamecocks showed they can overwhelm a struggling opponent who’s best player was out. Facing UConn on Sunday is a different matter. Slow starts might put them in a hole against the Huskies and star Paige Bueckers that they might not climb out of as easily.

South Carolina athletics press release

February 8, 2024





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