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South Carolina 79, Louisiana State 72

South Carolina 79, Louisiana State 72

PETE IACOBELLI
ASSOCIATED PRESS

GREENVILLE, S.C. - MiLaysia Fulwiley scored a career-high 24 points including four 3-pointers as No. 1 South Carolina held off No. 8 LSU 79-72 to win the Southeastern Conference Tournament title, a victory marred by a fourth-quarter fight that led to Gamecocks leading scorer and rebounder Kamilla Cardoso being ejected.

South Carolina (32-0) was ahead 73-66 when Fulwiley stole the ball from Flau’jae Johnson, who wrapped her up and was called for a foul. Johnson then bumped South Carolina’s Ashlyn Watkins, and the 6-foot-7 Cardoso rushed and pushed the 5-10 Johnson the ground. Players from both benches rushed toward them.

Cardoso and three of her teammates were ejected. Two LSU players who came off the bench were also sent off.

Cardoso can be expected to miss time in the NCAA Tournament for her actions. The Gamecocks enter March Madness as the clear-cut No. 1 seed and the only undefeated team left in Division I, men or women. And they did it against the defending national champion Tigers and SEC player of the year Angel Reese.

It was South Carolina’s eighth tournament crown in the past 10 seasons and its 16th straight win over LSU (28-5), including all four meetings since Kim Mulkey became the Tigers’ coach three seasons ago.

Fulwiley, the speedy, flashy freshman, put on a show in her first SEC Tournament and was named its most valuable player. She hit two 3s as South Carolina used a 24-11 between the first and second quarters to move in front for good.

LSU cut a 13-point deficit to 67-66 on Johnson’s foul shots with 4:36 to play. But Raven Johnson followed with a basket and Bree Hall added two more buckets to extend the margin.

Aneesah Morrow led LSU with 19 points. Reese had 15 points and 13 rebounds, her third straight double-double in the tournament.

LSU’s Mikaylah Williams, the SEC freshman of the year, played for the first time since injuring her foot four games ago. She scored two points in eight minutes.

The Tigers were without Last-Tear Poa, the junior guard who had taken on Williams’ starting spot as the first-year player rested her foot. Poa suffered a concussion late in LSU’s semifinal win over Mississippi on Saturday night when her head hit the floor hard. She needed a stretcher to leave the court and was taken to a hospital and released Saturday night.

BIG PICTURE

LSU: The Tigers have to be tired of coming up second to South Carolina. They’ve finished behind them in the standings in each of Mulkey’s three seasons now have lost the SEC Tournament to the Gamecocks. Perhaps they’ll get another crack at them in March Madness.

South Carolina: The Gamecocks continue to excel despite that, as coach Dawn Staley says, they don’t know what they don’t know. They are filled with confidence and can be expected to show that in the NCAA Tournament.

South Carolina athletics press release

March 10, 2024





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