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South Carolina 79, Texas A&M 68

South Carolina 79, Texas A&M 68

PETE IACOBELLI
ASSOCIATED PRESS

GREENVILLE, S.C. - Kamilla Cardoso scored 17 points and Tessa Johnson 13 as No. 1 South Carolina overcame a slow start to the postseason to beat ninth-seeded Texas A&M 79-68 at the SEC Tournament and reach 30 wins for a third straight season.

The Gamecocks (30-0) will play either fourth-seed Alabama or fifth-seed Tennessee in Saturday’s semifinals.

Aicha Coulibaly had a career-high 32 points, 26 in the second half, to lead Texas A&M (19-12), which lost its fifth straight to South Carolina.

It was no walkover for usually sharp South Carolina. The team had 10 turnovers in the first quarter and finished with a season-worst 24. The offense took a bit to warm up after nearly a week off since its last game, and coach Dawn Staley grew visibly frustrated as the period wore on.

But soon, Cardoso was dominating the Aggies down low. The Gamecocks relied on their defense to open up a 14-point lead in the third quarter.

South Carolina leads the SEC in defense and held the Aggies to 30% on 3-pointers (6 of 20) and forced 14 turnovers.

The Aggies briefly pulled ahead 17-16 on Lauren Ware’s jumper. But behind Johnson’s seven points, South Carolina went on a 17-5 run for a 33-22 lead at the break.

The Aggies came within 62-53 early in the fourth quarter, but Cardoso hit two free throws and Te-Hina Paopao made a 3-pointer to restore the large lead.

THE BIG PICTURE

Texas A&M: The Aggies had a strong game plan to disrupt South Carolina’s flow on offense that worked during the first 20 minutes. But the Gamecocks had too much speed, strength and length and pulled away for the victory.

South Carolina: Staley can’t be happy with the early miscues. But the Gamecocks have managed to win throughout the season, despite slow starts. The job will certainly get tougher in the SEC Tournament.

South Carolina athletics press release

March 8, 2024





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