No. 1 South Carolina dominates No. 2 LSU in matchup of women’s basketball unbeatens
COLOMBIA, South Carolina. No. 1 South Carolina proved to be the highest-stakes game of the season, beating No. 2 LSU 88–64 to become the only undefeated Division I women’s basketball team.
The Gamecocks (24-0, 12-0 SEC) took the first six points with less than two minutes left in the first quarter and never lost the lead to the Tigers (23-1, 11-1). LSU was not more than three points behind the entire season, but trailed South Carolina by 10 points at halftime.
South Carolina’s nation-leading winning streak stretches to 31 and has won 39 consecutive games at the Colonial Life Arena. The Gamecocks defense was their strongest point, holding LSU to an all-time low of 64 points and keeping Angel Reese below a double-double for the first time this season. The Tigers star posted 16 points and four rebounds.
Starters carry the load for South Carolina
The Gamecocks relied heavily on their depth throughout the season, but the starting five thrived on Sunday. Aaliyah Boston and Ziya Cook combined for 31 points, Brea Beal added 11, and Kirra Fletcher and Victoria Saxton added six points each.
South Carolina had one of the best field performances of the entire season, hitting 57.4% and 33.3% from threes. The team also dominated the boards, beating LSU, the No. 2 team in the nation in rebounds, 43-25.
Camilla Cardoso takes the lead again
Against one of the best rebounding teams in the country, 6-foot center Camille Cardoso was the machine on board, knocking down nine in the first half alone. She finished with a team-best 18 points and 13 rebounds.
Cardoso, who only makes 65% of free throws, also made all four attempts, despite South Carolina only making 16 of 28 lines as a team.
Cardoso is on a hot streak, leading South Carolina with 17 points and 11 rebounds in 4th place in Connecticut last Sunday. The double-double was her sixth of the season and her second against a ranked opponent.
Alexis Morris keeps LSU afloat
Dawn Staley said on Friday she was “fearful” of Tigers defenseman Alexis Morris, and her fears turned out to be well founded. Morris scored 23 points, including 15 at halftime. Reese, who is averaging 23.5 points per game, was crushed by defensive pressure from Boston, and No. 3 scorer Flowjay Johnson struggled 11 minutes without points.
Redshirted Gamecocks freshman Raven Johnson struggled to defend Morris, but alumni transfer Fletcher dominated LSU standout with just four minutes of play at UConn. Fletcher left Morris scoreless after Johnson was eliminated five minutes before halftime, and coach Don Staley created a line-up in the second half that included both point guards to keep Fletcher on Morris.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: South Carolina thrashes LSU in a win-win women’s basketball game